They Didn't Pay

Decorating By Sylkladie Updated 26 May 2010 , 1:25am by sberryp

Sylkladie Posted 24 May 2010 , 11:45am
post #1 of 15

I made a wedding cake for a family member, was only charging her for the cost of making the cake, actually due to not calculating the cost of everything I under charged her, but I left like that since I had already given her a quote on how much it would be. She dropped by the day of the wedding to see how the cake looked she was pleased with it, but she did not mention when she would be paying me I assumed upon delivery, well that didn't happen, saturday came and gone not even a phone call to say that they liked the cake, sunday rolled around still no call, finally went to her house no one there left note she finally called and said she would stop by on Monday. I felt horrible this is a family member and I have to chase her down for payment. I know there is a lesson here somewhere. Should I have asked for payment upfront this is my first wedding cake so I know I probably handled this all wrong. If you could help figure this out so It won't happen again. How I feel right know, not sure I want to continue baking cakes.

14 replies
artscallion Posted 24 May 2010 , 11:59am
post #2 of 15

It's up to you to tell the customer up front exactly when payment is due and expected. If you don't do this, you can't be surprised, upset or blame them for not meeting the deadline you have in your mind, but never shared with them.

Don't worry. This is a good lesson, learned early.

indydebi Posted 24 May 2010 , 12:08pm
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

..... you can't be surprised, upset or blame them for not meeting the deadline you have in your mind, but never shared with them.


Wow, that is perfect advice! thumbs_up.gif It's somewhat natural that many of us expect folks to "do what's right". Unfortunately, not everyone shares our values ..... many have an entitlement mentality, many have an attitude of "Oh she can afford it .... she doesn't need the money"; many think "Oh I'm FAMILY! She isn't going to charge FAMILY, is she!?"; and then there's the ever popular, "Oh she's family. I can pay her anytime", if they think the baker should even get paid at all.

Tell them up front. "Here's my regular price for a wedding cake. Here's how much I am deducting since you're family, so you only have to pay $xx.xx. I'll need the money by such-n-such date." And if the date comes and goes with no sign of the money, there's nothing wrong with a message of "Just checking .... Since I don't have your payment yet, I need to know if you still want me to make your cake or did you make other plans?"

Always let them know the REAL value. They can whine about how you gouged them by charging $200 for a wedding cake ...... OR they can brag about how they got a $700 wedding cake for only $200.

Karen421 Posted 24 May 2010 , 12:09pm
post #4 of 15

I think it is harder with a family member! When it is a "normal" customer, getting a deposit is much easier. In the future, tell your family members, that you need the cost of the cake up front to buy the supplies, that might help.

KHalstead Posted 24 May 2010 , 12:16pm
post #5 of 15

I tell every customer........I'm a small business and don't have enough extra cash laying around to buy ingredients for cakes consisting of 200+ servings of cake (especially if I'm running the risk of them not paying and I have to eat that cost).........if I don't have payment in full with enough notice, I CAN'T make your cake!

Also, I tell them there is a $25/per day additional charge for everyday past the "due date" that they are late (that puts a fire under them!)

Texas_Rose Posted 24 May 2010 , 12:21pm
post #6 of 15

I tell my family that I need the money for ingredients two weeks before they need the cake. No money, no cake. I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

emrldsky Posted 24 May 2010 , 1:00pm
post #7 of 15

Maybe I'm rude, but when it comes to my family, if they owe me money (either borrowed it or for a service), they know I'll come knocking. In fact, I think I'd have an easier time confronting family than customers (I don't have paying customers, but I IMAGINE it'd be easier for me to confront family).

This bulldog approach has saved me countless of hours of worrying about when my brother is going to pay me back, because he doesn't ask to borrow money anymore. icon_wink.gif

TexasSugar Posted 24 May 2010 , 1:28pm
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylkladie

.... She dropped by the day of the wedding to see how the cake looked she was pleased with it, but she did not mention when she would be paying me I assumed upon delivery, well that didn't happen,....




Why didn't you ask her while she was there looking at the cake?

mamawrobin Posted 24 May 2010 , 1:36pm
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasSugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylkladie

.... She dropped by the day of the wedding to see how the cake looked she was pleased with it, but she did not mention when she would be paying me I assumed upon delivery, well that didn't happen,....



Why didn't you ask her while she was there looking at the cake?





Ditto.

carmijok Posted 24 May 2010 , 1:57pm
post #10 of 15

Write up an invoice and take it to her. Tell her you are so sorry but you forgot to give this to her earlier and knew she'd want to take care of it immediately.
In the future you need to tell anyone who is buying a big special event cake be it wedding or whatever, that you need a deposit up front to secure the reservation and payment in full a week before the event. The deposit will apply to the total cost of the cake. Have it written on a contract (does not have to be a big formal contract--just something that states your policies.) Have them (and you) sign it and give them a copy that shows she paid her deposit.
Mention in your contract that the deposit is non-refundable. We charged a $100 deposit on wedding cakes...or any cake that had as much work as a wedding cake. It's just good business.

Dolledupcakes Posted 24 May 2010 , 9:05pm
post #11 of 15

Please give us an update.

Sylkladie Posted 25 May 2010 , 7:53pm
post #12 of 15

I want to thank all of you for your advice, I know that I need to be more aggressive, I guess I assumed because it was a family member they would pay upon delivery, lesson learned. They finally stopped by on Monday to bring back the fountain, and colums and they did pay $25.00 over the price quoted and apologized for not calling sooner, and that they and everyone loved the cake. I felt quite relieved, but will definitely take your advice on handling similiar situation, already looking on templates for contracts. Thank you so much for all of your advice.

Karen421 Posted 25 May 2010 , 8:30pm
post #13 of 15

Glad it worked out for you!

sweettreat101 Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:43pm
post #14 of 15

I had this happen when I made a cake for a co worker. She told my daughter when she picked it up that she would pay me on Monday. Well it took me three months to get my money. If you tell them how much you shouldn't have to keep repeating yourself or even ask for the money. The only time I would see her was at work and I didn't want to cause any problems so I left a note on her car window telling her that I needed to be paid for the Scooby cake. She paid me the next day. Once burned twice shy. The last time she asked me to make her a cake I told her I was to busy.

sberryp Posted 26 May 2010 , 1:25am
post #15 of 15

I agree with a lot of the users, but at least she gave you a little something extra for your troubles.

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