Curious what your order deadline is? I keep getting calls for 5-7 days out, when I tell them there is an additional fee for it being under 2 weeks I get the...Oh, well so and so does not charge a late fee!....
***these are all party cakes..not weddings***
I don't have an order deadline but as a one woman shop, I only take x amount of orders per week. Thus I may be booked if they call at the last minute but there have been times when I have been able to accomodate a late order and I don't charge extra for it. I do require full payment upfront on late orders.
It depends on how involved (ugh) they want to be with the design. If it has to be "like this" or "like that" or "with this and this and that" on it...it's no less than 10 days. If they just want me to "do something nice", I have no problem up to the day before (even done it the morning of the evening they wanted it.). I just tell them that I can get them something but I can't/won't discuss what it'll look like. What flavor? Theme, if any? Budget?
I don't do it often, but i do take last minute orders. and it also depends on what is already on the board.
I buy my supplies at the beginning of each week so I I have to have at least a 7 day notice. I too am a one woman show so I book up quickly and usually am booked up 2-3 weeks in advance. I only take orders online and have a place on my website that shows my availability so I don't get too many "last minute requests" Most of my customers know I book up several weeks in advance so they reserve a spot early. I had an email today from a new customer wanting to reserve a spot for November for her daughter's birthday. I have several birthday orders already booked for October too and even one for May 2011 and these are just party cakes - not wedding cakes
Once people know how you operate, they will place their orders far enough in advance to not throw something last minute at you!
you have to train your customers. I never charge a late fee, but I also have no problem limiting their choices. If you call me a few days ahead, you are going to get a round party cake with limited design options. Most people calling that close to the date seem to want good cake, not necessarily crazy decor.
For summer, they need to let me know Monday morning for a weekend cake. Like wendyintx, I buy my supplies once. I'm not going out to get you blueberries for an extra trip.
If you begin to turn down customers when they call too close to the date, they will learn VERY fast that if they want your cake, they need to play by YOUR rules.
I agree. Know your limits and stick to them. However, that said, make every effort to accommodate people. Sometimes a little explanation about how you do business makes things clear.
If I walk into a one man show and they say "I get everything once a week" - I get it. If I walk into a busy bakery and they say "We can't make a cake for you in four days!" - I will think they are nuts.
For a regular party cake it's one week, paid in full. For a 3D cake I need 1 month notice (chances are I have to make stuff to dry and paint) and for a wedding cake 1 month notice paid in full. I am usually booked at least a month in advance so chances are the answer is no if they wait till the last minute...and one week IS last minute. I don't charge a rush charge because I don't allow anyone to rush me. I'm an artist, not Costco. Art takes time and effort and effor takes time so no rushing. Set your boundries and train your clients....and if "so and so" can do it when you can't then let "so and so" have the rush and the panic and the no time to do stuff the right way problems.
Just my 2 cents
sandagift, stop soliciting!
My order deadline is 48 hours notice. I just got a call for a wedding cake for less than 2 weeks away. I only had one wedding cakes and a couple of other cakes so I took it. Didn't charge extra. However I will turn cakes away if I am booked or don't have the time.
I'm just like Jenn2179, I get orders all the time on Wednesdays for Saturday orders.....but generally they're sheet cake orders. This past week I got an order for an iphone cake made from an 11x15 sheet cake w/ an edible image (you know how hard it is to get someone to print an iphone on edible image?), in any case, it was pushing it that it was only a week's notice....not enough time to order the image online so kinda had to race around to find someone finally that agreed to print it, it was a rush to get apple to get back to me with the permission also.......those things I generally like to have a few weeks notice (not necessarily because the cake was THAT complicated, but because there was red tape to get through to begin with).
I do charge a late fee of $.50/serv. tagged onto the cost (minimum$20 charge) if they order less than 48 hrs. before the cake is due. That tends to deter people a little bit! lol