How Do You Handle Last Minute Orders?

Business By CakeInfatuation Updated 12 Jan 2010 , 8:01pm by kiwigal81

CakeInfatuation Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 12:43am
post #1 of 11

Do you charge extra when you do a client a favor and take an order at the last minute?

I recommend all cakes be ordered AT LEAST 2 weeks in advance. This one came a week prior to the date and it is for 2 cakes and I've already got a full calendar. I can do it. But was kind of happy with my schedule prior to this order.

I'm leaning toward adding a surcharge for the last minute order as I have to make an extra trip for supplies and such.

If you do this... do you have the "policy" written somewhere so I could read through it? I hadn't really thought too much about this before but seem to be getting enough last minute inquiries that it's time to define a policy if I opt to have one.

Most of the time I turn them away and let them know I'm booked. I could take 1 more cake and be happy... but this order comes with 2 cakes... Twins... each one wants their own thing...

I'd really like to know how you guys handle these orders... I have to get back to her tonight with a price so I'll be checking back. icon_smile.gif

Thanks in advance!

Edited to Add...

Okay... maybe this is TMI but... it might help you figure out why I'm so torn over this order...

I got a call from a woman. She had ordered a pirate ship cake and a treasure chest cake for her 3 year old twins from somewhere else.

The woman doing the cakes got sick and canceled on her.

So she called me over the weekend to see if I could fit her in.

She only needs cake for 40 people but wants 2 carved cakes.

I'm really torn over pricing for this one...

Who can make a carved pirate ship to feed 20 and have it be worthwhile without it seeming like it's a ridiculous price to pay for a measly 20 servings of cake?

Of course there is also a treasure chest... I'm just not used to pricing cakes sooo small. I know I need more cake than 20 servings to carve a pirate ship. But... ugh!

Typically I start a $4.00/serving for standard tiered cakes and at least $5.00/serving for carved... BUT I also don't carve for 20.... I suggest a small tiered cake with a theme... I'm lost...

10 replies
CakeForte Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:04am
post #2 of 11

Paid in full, with a late/ rush fee. $25 or whatever you want to add. It sucks she's in a bind...but not your prob. This is business.

If she really wants/needs it..she will pay.

Deb_ Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:06am
post #3 of 11

I'm simply too small to take last minute orders like the one you described. I'm a one woman show. icon_biggrin.gif

If I were you I'd tell this woman that you don't offer carved cakes for 20 people and that you have a minimum.

Maybe you could do a pirate themed cake that would be closer to the servings she needs.

If she insists on the 3D cake then explain to her that the smallest you could do would feed 30 (or whatever amount it is) and that you'll need to charge her for the servings that she purchases not just the servings she needs.

Deb_ Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:11am
post #4 of 11

I just reread your post and see that she needs cake for 40. I'd try to talk her into 1 carved cake to feed as close to 40 as possible.

If she's desperate for a baker then she should be a bit flexible.

I just had a thought....maybe her original decorator didn't get sick at all, maybe she just canceled because it was too much of a headache.

Ruth0209 Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:36am
post #5 of 11

And since when do three year olds get to dictate that they want their own cakes? Come on. MOM wants two cakes. Either that or she's raising a couple of very young brats.

I think part of my job as a decorator is to say to a client, "I understand the concept you have in your head, but it can't be done in cake" or "It can't be done that small, so here is what I can do." I just told a lady the other day that I will not do a buttercream cake that I have to drive 2 1/2 hours up curvy mountain roads to deliver. It's fondant or nothing. She ordered fondant.

I don't charge extra for late orders. I either do them or I don't.

CakeMommyTX Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 1:55am
post #6 of 11

I have a 50 serving minimum on all 3-D cakes, so if she needs two 3-D cakes she's going to be paying for at least 100 servings of cake, my 50 serving minimum is per cake not per order.
No late fee, like Ruth said I either do them or I don't, but I usually do them.
I have a minimum after doing one to many 3-D sculpted cakes for 20 servings, just not worth it.

Kitagrl Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 2:08am
post #7 of 11

I have found that carved cakes can look pretty large... especially a ship or something...20 servings is a decent sized cake once you add the sails and such like. So I raise my prices to at least attempt to pay myself a decent hourly wage for the detail work. I wouldn't make a minimum serving amount but I would make a minimum price.

Also when I'm working on a cake I sort of judge the detail work by how much I'm getting paid. Sometimes in a 3D cake there are more details I *could* add but if I feel like I've reached the amount of time I wanted to spend on the cake for the money, I wrap things up, if you know what I mean. (If I can....) So what I'm saying is... you can cut a few corners if you have to, to save don't have to make figures and fifteen sails and all can simplify it and still have it look great.

For the treasure chest, totally go buy candy...I"ve made several and I buy ring pops, candy necklaces that I roll in luster dust....wrapped chocolate coins, some fondant pearls, and then quite a bit of gold disco dust. It really saves time and the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE the candy!!!!

snarkybaker Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 2:57am
post #8 of 11

My 3D minimum is $250, so I'd take the order, cause $500 in January is always a good thing.

Mensch Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 6:03am
post #9 of 11

I'd tell her I could do one carved cake for 40 peeps, not two. She's obviously desperate, so you can dictate your terms.

As far as last minute cakes, yes I do them... IF I have the time. My bakery is my business and my only source of income, so if I have the time, I will definitely do it. I do dictate my terms as far as decorations.... if I can't do sculpted I will tell the customer what I can do. If figures won't dry enough, i tell them what we can do instead.

When I started work last week Tuesday I only had one wedding cake on the books (Ugh for January!) for $950, I ended up with four cakes total and doubled my income.

kiwigal81 Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 7:49pm
post #10 of 11

I can't help with the pricing at all, but somewhere (can't blimmin find it), there was a thread about a woman who was getting grief from the bakery she worked at for taking too long. She put up a pic of a pirate ship and everyone chimed in with ways she could have done it quicker/more streamlined. So maybe some of those ideas would help offset the problems, meaning take you less time for your money.

I'll keep looking for the thread...

kiwigal81 Posted 12 Jan 2010 , 8:01pm
post #11 of 11

Here it is. Maybe some of the ideas would make it more 'do-able' for your money.

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