Need Help Maintaining My Backbone..

Decorating By MJoycake Updated 15 Sep 2010 , 10:44pm by BlakesCakes

MJoycake Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 4:40am
post #1 of 22

Had a customer contact me in August for an Oct. wedding....had them for a tasting, it's been back and forth emails ever since (seriously - 30 some emails back and forth)...some bizarre moments and she keeps delaying my requests for information even when I firmly set boundaries and deadlines. I sent the contract and didn't hear back for days, when she says they'll be mailing it the next day...then I get an email that they want less servings. I'm working with another baker on a project that just got confirmed today for the same weekend in october - contract in hand and deposit made. I need to tell the first client that I'm not available anymore and that I clearly stated at the tasting (and on my contract) that the date is NOT booked until a signed contract is in hand and a deposit has cleared the bank. I have the email drafted and will send tomorrow - I'm just stressing now about what their response will be. Ugh - I hate this part. I need a dose of BackBone from IndyDebi lol!

21 replies
angelwings1 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 5:14am
post #2 of 22

Gee, I wish I could help you there. I finally found my backbone last night (well, a little piece of it) and quoted a cake price that was significantly higher than what I've been charging, but still lower than what everyone on here says to charge. I got an e-mail this morning, saying "thank you for your time but I can't afford that price at this time". Now, my spine has retreated, and I can't feel it anymore. I can't back down now, though. Good Luck with this. I feel your pain. icon_sad.gif

mcaulir Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 8:17am
post #3 of 22

Just do it - think about how painful the next month will be if you try to accommodate her. Be free!

pixiefuncakes Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 8:34am
post #4 of 22

Go with your gut, you have made it clear to her what your guidelines are, she has not met them and you have accepted another booking. It is her problem, not yours!
She may go off the deep end, but you are in the right and hopefully you will never see her again.
Good luck with it

Jillfcs Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 9:04am
post #5 of 22

Im standing right next to you propping you up! Seriously, now is the time to put the business hat on and take the emotion out of it. You clearly stated your policy and gave them multiple chances to firm up the contract thats all you can do the rest is out of your hands. Dont let this shake you just roll up your sleeves and create an unbelievably gorgeous cake for the customer that signed the contract and made the deposit for that date. YOU GO, GIRL!

tesso Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 9:13am
post #6 of 22

honestly.. it doesnt matter what they say or think. You stated in your contract.. date is not set in stone until deposit and contract is in my hands.. they snooze they loose.

So..deep breath.. send that email and wave goodbye and know that you are in the right.

Occther Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 11:10am
post #7 of 22

I had to cancel a cake 3 1/2 weeks before a wedding because I extended the deposit deadline several times up until 4 weeks before wedding. Finally, sent back the contract with "cancelled" on it. Explained to the MIL (who was paying for the cake) several times that I had to have the deposit by that date because I needed to order special supplies and pans. Received a very nasty email from bride calling me a "bitch." Glad I cancelled it - because I doubt this marriage lasts!!! Keep your backbone and send it. Every wedding vendor has to set deadlines and receive deposits. The bride will just have to get her cake elsewhere. Besides, people like that are never satisfied. Who knows, after the wedding they may want a refund because something was perfect.

Malakin Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 11:58am
post #8 of 22

Just being me I would say to her (at this point and time after all those emails and time spent worrying about getting this confirmed and booked without last minute changes and waiting for her to get her sh##t together and make up what little mind she seems to have)I would say "Goodbye, see you later.....I actually have a paying client now booked for the date you left available.....The work (numerous emails/frustration/aggravation you've caused me) has exceeded the price I quoted you originally on this cake so if you still want it it's a good thing you cut down the serving size because the price is still the same after all that work........

Apti Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 12:12pm
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillfcs

Im standing right next to you propping you up! Seriously, now is the time to put the business hat on and take the emotion out of it. You clearly stated your policy and gave them multiple chances to firm up the contract thats all you can do the rest is out of your hands. Dont let this shake you just roll up your sleeves and create an unbelievably gorgeous cake for the customer that signed the contract and made the deposit for that date. YOU GO, GIRL!




Hi all you wonderful cake people that are good enough to get paid for what you love to do. I'm a newbie and curious about the business aspects of cakes. I'm very surprised at the "emotion vs. business hat" comments that are on this site all the time. Are there a lot of brides, MIL's, etc. that are just nuts? Do they do this same kind of delay, no contract, no deposit, zillion changes to the photographer, florist, location venue? Or are there a lot of reasonable, nice brides and just a few that make you crazy?

matthewkyrankelly Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 12:20pm
post #10 of 22

Remember to expect people to treat you the way you would treat them.

Would you ever string someone along like this? would you ever assume the person was just hanging around waiting to do your cake? If you had waited, and you got the email you are sending, would you be mad at the person or think "what kind of jerk am I for waiting so long?"

You wouldn't treat someone like that. Don't be treated that way. Just wait for the craziness, though. Self-centered people really do think you have nothing else going on in life besides waiting on them. She will be truly shocked that there are other people with signed contracts waiting for your cake.

Don't look back.

greengyrl26 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 12:35pm
post #11 of 22

Stick with your backbone, you will not regret it!

angelwings....stick with your backbone too! I recently raised my prices (to be on par with other bakeries in my area), and now I get turned down (which never happened before). But, the ones who turn me down are the same ones who are okay with a Wal-Mart cake. They just happened to see my work and thought they would try. As for those in my area who charge less....their cakes reflect that. In my opinion, you get what you pay for. Besides, I would rather make one $500 cake than ten $50 cakes! Right? LOL!

Be strong ladies! While we do this because we love it...it IS a business!

MJoycake Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 12:55pm
post #12 of 22

Thanks all - I hit send this morning. Waiting to see what ends up in the inbox today.

tracycakes Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 1:18pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti

[ I'm very surprised at the "emotion vs. business hat" comments that are on this site all the time. Are there a lot of brides, MIL's, etc. that are just nuts? Do they do this same kind of delay, no contract, no deposit, zillion changes to the photographer, florist, location venue? Or are there a lot of reasonable, nice brides and just a few that make you crazy?




I've had my business open for just over a year and I will say that 99% of my brides have been great. I really haven't had any bridezilla's, just 1 auntzilla that was handling the cake - that experience helped me develop a backbone (that and I channel indydebi occasionally icon_wink.gif )

I think most of the brides are great. But anytime you deal with the public, you are going to get those people that survive on drama and I think some of the shows with made up drama make it worse.

I have some that are slow in paying their deposit but I don't hassle them. I let them know at our consult that a date isn't booked until I have their deposit. A month or so later, I just send them a reminder that I haven't received anything from them and let it go. If they come back, great, if not, I book someone else and so far, no drama.

One of those ways I've tried to take the personal out is when I'm talking about the business, I say 'we', not 'I'. Granted, I am the only baker and decorator right now but it's not about me, it's about the business. I am very personable and have a great time with my clients but it's still about the business. I have had more than one client say after a consultation "that was so easy" or "this was fun". But when you have a call at 3:00 on Friday wanting a small bachelorette cake on Saturday, just 5 people and you are already booked - gotta say 'no' and stand by it.

1234me Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 1:30pm
post #14 of 22

I am glad to read you sent the email. I, like you, find it very hard to stand up for myself from time to time, but when I do, I am very proud of myself and it makes it easier to do next time! icon_smile.gif Enjoy the decorating of the cake you DID get that weekend knowing you are doing it for someone who values your time!

KristyDi Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 1:48pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apti

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillfcs

Im standing right next to you propping you up! Seriously, now is the time to put the business hat on and take the emotion out of it. You clearly stated your policy and gave them multiple chances to firm up the contract thats all you can do the rest is out of your hands. Dont let this shake you just roll up your sleeves and create an unbelievably gorgeous cake for the customer that signed the contract and made the deposit for that date. YOU GO, GIRL!



Hi all you wonderful cake people that are good enough to get paid for what you love to do. I'm a newbie and curious about the business aspects of cakes. I'm very surprised at the "emotion vs. business hat" comments that are on this site all the time. Are there a lot of brides, MIL's, etc. that are just nuts? Do they do this same kind of delay, no contract, no deposit, zillion changes to the photographer, florist, location venue? Or are there a lot of reasonable, nice brides and just a few that make you crazy?





I think dealing with some people like this is the price of dealing with the general public. I've come to the conclusion that some people are just nuts and that weddings probably just make it worse.

I don't own a cake business, I just like to read here and dream. My DH however owns a web design and development business. I am constantly amazed by the similarities I see between situations we've dealt with when designing and building websites and the issues you all deal with designing and making cakes. Clients who balk at paying a fair price, client who don't pay on time or who ask for insane things. In fact, just like I've read IndyDebi does, my DH dosen't allow clients to use the word "simple" when describing their project.

The one that made me crazy lately was a Christian ministry. My DH charges by the hour. He gives the client an estimate of the hours needed to complete their project in a contract and takes a deposit of %50 up front. This place kept on making changes, even up to e-mailing with a list of changes the morning of the launch date. They went 4 hours over the estimate. When DH sent them the invoice, they called him and said they hadn't budgeted for the overage. DH explained that all the changes they made caused the overage blah blah etc. The guy closed the conversation by asking DH to "prayerfully consider" before sending the final invoice. icon_mad.gif

The final invoice was already in his hands and there was nothing to pray about. DH worked x number of hours. You owe us hours x per hour rate as agreed on in our contract. We're Christians and happy to do work for a ministry, but this business is the sole support of our family. Just because you can't make up your mind and you're a ministry dosen't mean DH should work for free.

TexasSugar Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 1:56pm
post #16 of 22

MJoycake said: ....and she keeps delaying my requests for information even when I firmly set boundaries and deadlines....

Remember, actions speak louder than words. You can keep setting deadlines, but if they pass them up and you just set a new one that is showing them they can keep pushing it.

Next time this situation comes up, send out a clear, "The date for your cake has not be saved. I must have these details confirmed, contract signed and deposit in my hand (or bank) by this date and this time, to confirm this order and put it on my schedule. If I do not recieve the above things by such and such date, your order will be cancelled."

And then stick to it.

Angelwings1, you have to keep in mind that not everyone can afford (or want to pay for) a custom designed cake. That's okay, that's why they also sell cakes at Walmart. Set your prices that are fair to you. You can not keep offering cakes at a low price and not fall into cake burn out. Just remember, now you have that date opened up for someone that is willing to pay for your time and talent. And if you don't get another cake for that date, well that's okay too. Then you have your time to work on something that you want to work on, and not do a cake for someone the wants you to just do a cheap cake.

Apti, in life there are people that are hard to please and just believe the world owes them. You see that no matter what type of business you are it. When we are frustarted or annoyed then cakers know they can come here to complain or gripe. Often times it is just to vent, other times it is get advice.

You will see more complaints about negative customers than the postive ones, because it is the negative ones that seem to stick out in or minds. Kinda goes the same with posts about having problems with a cake and posts about a cake being a breeze. People rarely make a post that says: "I did a cake this weekend and it worked out perfectly, no problems, looked great, just a perfect cake." Nope instead you see posts about problems, issues and fixes.

MJoycake Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 2:33pm
post #17 of 22

Good advice, TexasSugar. I need to get better with the firmness of business. Lesson learned.

Still no response from them.

MJoycake Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:19pm
post #18 of 22

Got the response I expected. I wrote a response back, but I'm mulling over it before sending.

KimmyKakes4Me Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:34pm
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracycakes

One of those ways I've tried to take the personal out is when I'm talking about the business, I say 'we', not 'I'.




First time I've ever seen someone suggest this. I too follow this, and it takes the personal right the hell out of it. Hopefully others will follow yuor suggestion!

Ruth0209 Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 6:54pm
post #20 of 22

I think your decision is fine if she's passed the deadline.

One thing that I always do if I have a pending booking and then get another request for that date is to call the pending one and tell them that I must have a completed contract with CASH deposit by the end of the day or I'm giving their date away to the other person. I think when you've been working with someone to finalize the details of the contract, that's the decent thing to do.

Especially when you've been less than firm with your deadlines with this bride, you did create the impression with her that those were suggestions more than actual deadlines. Then suddenly, WHAM BAM, your date is gone little bridey. Don't get me wrong - if she can't get her act together, too bad for her, but it's an option you might want to keep in mind for the future.

Apti Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 9:22pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJoycake

Got the response I expected. I wrote a response back, but I'm mulling over it before sending.




Well? What was it? Inquiring minds want to know...

BlakesCakes Posted 15 Sep 2010 , 10:44pm
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJoycake

Got the response I expected. I wrote a response back, but I'm mulling over it before sending.




Don't mull too long! And most certainly, don't back down. People MUST experience the FULL consequences of their actions. Every time someone gives in, or backs down, to someone like this, it reinforces the idea that rules somehow don't apply to them.

Make sure that your response is short, to the point, devoid of emotion or suggestion, factual, and FINAL.
Leave no door open for her to think that she can wiggle back into your good graces.

You'll be very sorry if you don't rid yourself of someone who is so disrespectful of you and your business policies.

JMHO
Rae

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