What's Last Minute For You?

Decorating By lecrn Updated 24 Mar 2010 , 9:31pm by tracycakes

lecrn Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 9:53pm
post #1 of 29

I'm so frustrated! Monday(yesterday) I had a person ask for a cake this Wednesday. It was supposed to be for next Wed, but the person sending the invitations got the weeks messed up icon_confused.gif . Today I've had two more people ask for cakes this Thursday. I turned all three down, because I think that it's too last minute. I have a family and a part time job, so making a cake takes a little planning (going to the store; making the cake, BC, & decor). I just make cakes for family & friends so I don't have bulk ingredients just laying around. Why are people so surprised when you can't just whip out a "simple" cake for them? The sad part is that I could have made @ least 2 of these cakes.
What do you consider last minute? Do you charge a "last minute" charge (aka PITA charge)?

28 replies
malene541 Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 10:03pm
post #2 of 29

Let's be real! Do they expect NOT to pay a "last minute" fee. Heck yeah, charge them!!!

marknelliesmum Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 10:10pm
post #3 of 29

For me last minute is anything that has me running about like a headless chicken not to mention totally stressed out and with no sense of enjoyment all for the benefit of someone else. If you have nothing on and have time then 2 days before may be ok for you but if you have a hectic schedule, kids, job, or ther commitments then 3 weeks notice can be last minute. Your time is just as important as someone else's, if they couldn't spare the time to contact you sooner can you spare the time (time not spent with your kids, family, ill relative, whatever) to save their butt by doing a cake?
Rant over icon_redface.gif

CindiM Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 10:23pm
post #4 of 29

The customer knew last week, about thier son's birthday this Friday. So they should have called me last week. I expect at least one week notice, if I am available. You have to teach people/customers how to treat you.

lecrn Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 10:24pm
post #5 of 29

I told one of the people that maybe they should go get a grocery store cake. I think the shortest notice that I've agreed to make a decorated cake was 1 week, and that was when I had absolutely nothing going on.

lecrn Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 10:34pm
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CindiM

The customer knew last week, about thier son's birthday this Friday. So they should have called me last week. I expect at least one week notice, if I am available. You have to teach people/customers how to treat you.




That's unfortunate that you have to "teach" people how to treat you.
One of the three that tried to order last minute, has tried to order last minute @ least twice before. I always explain that I need more notice, but she doesn't seem to get it. She seems to be a very considerate person otherwise. I would think that if you're planning a party/event the cake would be one of the most important elements.

carmijok Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 11:01pm
post #7 of 29

The problem lies in the belief that cakes are something quick and easy. If that were true, then there wouldn't be people asking to have them done! You were right to turn down the business unless you charged a rather large late fee...and even that is questionable because you can get in the very bad situation of being known as someone who can always come through at the last minute...fee or not. Then you're stuck. Set your boundaries now and eventually people will learn to call in advance. And you might put your time requirements on anything you have printed...like a business card. Even if it's just for friends and family, a card with your name and policies would be a good thing. Every time they pick it up to use it, they'll be reminded of your timetable.

linstead Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 11:28pm
post #8 of 29

I think the easiest and probably most tactful way to let someone know they cut the order too close is say: "I am sorry but unfortunately I am busy and will be unable to make that for you. If you had called me _____ days/weeks ago I probably could have done it but now I am booked" or some to that effect. That way they would hopefully get the hint that you need more time to accept an order.

jammjenks Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 11:38pm
post #9 of 29

You asked why people think they can wait until the last minute. All their lives they have probably gone to the grocery and picked out a cake from the case. THAT can be done at the last minute. Custom cannot. Unfortunately, they are still in the grocery mindset and it is hard to change one's mind.

People also procrastinate. For example, I am fully aware that I need to be working on gp roses, but alas I surf CC.

TucsonGina Posted 23 Mar 2010 , 11:48pm
post #10 of 29

icon_lol.gif Wow, your cakes are beautiful and elaborate -- no wonder they want you to make their cakes, but your time is valuable and you need to not feel frustrated for acknowledging that fact!

tesso Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:06am
post #11 of 29

i rarely bake b-day cakes. but for weddings i require minimum 6 weeks.

The_Lil_Cakehouse Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:20am
post #12 of 29

2 weeks, but I've done cookies with less time, although It was cause it was for my Dad. But as posted before, it makes me a crazy woman my family rather not live with!!

Jenn2179 Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:33am
post #13 of 29

For me last minute could be 48 hours notice. If I have time then I will take a cake order. If I don't have time then I tell them no. Or if I feel like I can handle it but might be stressful then I make the price worth the amount of stress it will cause.

linstead Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 5:37am
post #14 of 29

I love your bumblebee smash cake - it is....Smashing!!!!!!

jayne1873 Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 8:55am
post #15 of 29

I got an order Fri evening for Sun morning. It was a handbag cake she wanted 3D but told her I didnt have time and could do 2D for £70 thinking she would say no but she said yes and hey at that money for that easy a cake I couldnt say no lol

bbmom Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 10:13am
post #16 of 29

Funny this topic came up. I ask for 1 week minimum for cookies. Last night after I went to bed 3 requests came in for cookies...1 for thurs morning a couple towns over I had to turn that down. How am I going to bake and decorate and deliver or arrange pick up all in one day? They wouldnt be dry and I have other stuff to do today. Then I got 2 for friday, I'm waiting for confirm on price on one of them before I start baking, but its a small order so I dont mind. the 3rd one she's flaked on me before and she didnt tell me how many she needs so I may say no as well.Buy that means my whole day will be baking cookies and icing, decorating throughout the day and tomorrow and getting them pkged for Friday mid day pick up, while still getting my kids to karate, ballet, after school program, babysitting a toddler all day and getting the dog to the vet.

marknelliesmum Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 11:08am
post #17 of 29

bbmom can I suggest you get yourself some magazines and put the kettle on, that should help the time pass when you're hanging around with nothing to do lol icon_lol.gif

bbmom Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 11:14am
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by marknelliesmum

bbmom can I suggest you get yourself some magazines and put the kettle on, that should help the time pass when you're hanging around with nothing to do lol icon_lol.gif



lol,some weeks are crazier than others...did I mention its been raining like forever here and the sump pump is working overtime and my driveway is flooded? I may have to canoe across it this morning to get the kids to school. Need more coffee icon_eek.gif

ttehan4 Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 11:48am
post #19 of 29

I would say 48 hours would be a last minute order for me too. Its all about the moolaa! If I have time I will do it and charge a little extra if need be. I'm saving for a bakery so very little orders get turned away!

I had a bride and her mom come on the Monday before her Saturday wedding. They ordered 3 cakes, a 4 tier wedding cake, a beer bottle grooms cake, and a huge landscape hunting cake. (white feather square cake & beer bottle cake are in my photos) I was very well paid for these.

The mom has ordered from me numerous times, in fact a week after the wedding she ordered two more cakes, then cancelled one for 175.00 and told me to keep the money.

Do you think if she asked me to make her another last minute cake that I would do it.... heck yeah!!!

Bethkay Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 12:33pm
post #20 of 29

I share kitchen space with another baker who generously allows me to use the licensed kitchen in her home for my business. I use the kitchen in the mornings, leaving it to her to use for the remainder of the day. Obviously, with only a few hours a day available to me, I have to really plan ahead. That being said, it is rare that I accept an order with less than a week's notice. I do not do weddings, so most of my cakes are on the smaller side, which helps.

After a couple of years of doing this, it is still shocking to me how many calls I receive from people wanting the cake the same day or the next. As I have told my husband, if the caller's event isn't important enough to them to order a cake in a reasonable amount of time (I do not consider the same day "reasonable") then it is not important enough to me to bust my rear making something "special" for them! icon_lol.gif Seriously, they knew their kid's birthday was coming up, didn't they?

Sandysdream Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 12:44pm
post #21 of 29

I have only been baking cakes for a year now, so I take what I can get. I just delivered a cake that was ordered yesterday by lunchtime (and I was sick in bed yesterday). The fastest I had to bake was about 2 weeks ago a lady phoned me at 07h00 in the morning and asked for 40 cupcakes. I said sure, for when and she said before breaktime at school, which was at 11h00. I did it, but I was so stressed that by the time I had to start baking my other orders I was a wreck. I also have a client that always waits for the day before she needs cookies (she has a daycare and give the cookies to the children) and then phone me - one of these days I am going to say no!

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 12:57pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammjenks

You asked why people think they can wait until the last minute. All their lives they have probably gone to the grocery and picked out a cake from the case. THAT can be done at the last minute. Custom cannot. Unfortunately, they are still in the grocery mindset and it is hard to change one's mind.

People also procrastinate. For example, I am fully aware that I need to be working on gp roses, but alas I surf CC.




I used to work for a grocery store bakery. Our rule for order was 24 hours notice. Not to shabby at all. Then a couple years ago, the head honcho guy of our area comes in to give us all a pep talk about to plan for grad season. He introduces the idea of throwing out the 24 hour rule and just having no policy of that nature in place at all. He wanted the customers to be able to call in a cake order and pick it up 20 minutes later if they wanted to. Now, for a grocery store, that is actually doable since all our stuff is premade and frozen. But if everyone does that??? Big mess.

His reasoning was this: "Some people have the inability to plan ahead. They just can not do it. So who are we to deny their child a graduation cake?" It's not like they had no clue for the past 18 years that their child is gonna graduate. When they learned when the date of the graduation would be and started mailing out invitations to the ceremony and reception, they didn't think they would have the time to take 10 minutes to call the grocery store and say, "Full sheet, marble, blue and gold, Congrats Suzy!" I don't believe it for a second.

I wanted to reply with "And who are we to enforce bad lifestyle habits?" But of course I didn't, which is I'm sure one of the reasons I still work for the company.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 12:59pm
post #23 of 29

Oh, forgot to mention. I don't do cakes full time, but when someone wants a cake from me, I would consider two weeks to be last minute. I have to be sure I have enough time in my schedule to do a cake by the time they want it.

Generally, I would say 2-3 weeks notice is preferred.

KHalstead Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:04pm
post #24 of 29

I consider less than 48 hrs. last minute (for a simple sheet cake) anything less than 1 week is last minute (for a simple tiered cake) anything less than 2 weeks notice is last minute (for a simple carved cake) any LAST MINUTE order, based on this timeline incurs an additional charge of $20 per day closer to the date. So if someone wants to order a sheet cake the day before they need it, they pay an xtra $20 plus the regular cost of the sheet cake. Tiered cake 5 days before they need it (2 days late) $40 more, and so on!!

My experience is the people who are REALLY desperate will pay and the ones who are desperate but CAN'T afford the extra charge will remember to call you early next time!!!

lecrn Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:24pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TucsonGina

icon_lol.gif Wow, your cakes are beautiful and elaborate -- no wonder they want you to make their cakes, but your time is valuable and you need to not feel frustrated for acknowledging that fact!




Thanks for your compliment!!
I'm a perfectionist and a planner, so I just won't feel right just "throwing" something together last minute. I know that I wouldn't feel that I did my best if I did so. If I owned my own business, that may be a different story.
If I haven't made a particular cake design before, I have to draw out the cake, figure out how to do it, and make everything possible ahead of time.

suzylynn58 Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:33pm
post #26 of 29

I am a licensed baker, but also work a full time job. I bake all my cakes and freeze the weekend before they are due because of time issues. So for me last minute is a little over a week, if I'm not already booked, which is unusual. I don't charge a late fee, I just don't do it. Unfortunately extra money can't buy extra time! icon_biggrin.gif

Susan

alvarezmom Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 1:43pm
post #27 of 29

I try to accomodate every one, but some times I am just to tired. Normally ppl will ask on a Monday or Tuesday for a cake on Saturday. That's not so last minute for me but they think it so. So when they "tip" me I take it. I dont charge last minute rush fee's.

The only last minute cake I have ever done was for a lady who decided at the last minute (day off) to do a little something for her daughter. Turns out I even knew the girl from HS.

catlharper Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 9:19pm
post #28 of 29

I had to put my foot down when I started getting busy. One week is the absolute for me and the cake must be paid in full. 6 weeks for wedding cakes also paid in full. I had to laugh when last Sunday my husband comes home from the cubscout outing and he said the scout master asked if I could do a 3 tier, feeds 75, cake for the Blue and Gold dinner...4 days away! LOL! I literally laughed and asked him what he said. He said he laughed and said, "dude, you have to book her a month ahead these days...she's got three cakes this week, no way she can fit in another one...well, not and stay married" LOL! So don't feel badly if you can't do another cake or if you feel like you'd be too rushed. Not worth it to your sanity OR to your business to turn out a rushed cake. I'm kicking myself this week because I took the third cake due this week last Friday (cake is due this Friday) because I wanted to make some more cash for our D'land trip coming up. Now I'm so busy that I wish I'd said no. Live and learn eh? So from now on, one wedding cake or no more than 2 other type cakes per week.

tracycakes Posted 24 Mar 2010 , 9:31pm
post #29 of 29

My minimum regardless of the most simple cake is 48 hours. Depending on my schedule, I will do last minute, even small tiered cakes if it is ordered early in the week for a Saturday. I've gotten 3 calls this week, 2 of them today, for cakes the very next day. I don't charge extra, I just turn them down. I've turned down almost 10 cakes over the last 2 weeks because I'm booked. Two more weeks and I go part-time at the dayjob. Yippee!!!

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