Client Wants To Make A Change After Contract Date - What To

Business By cakesbycathy Updated 4 Oct 2010 , 6:57pm by jason_kraft

cakesbycathy Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 11:14pm
post #1 of 17

I have a cake order that is being picked up on Friday. The client contacted me today and wanted to know if she could change the flavor from lemon to vanilla. I informed her that as per our contract all changes are final 10 days before the cake is due.

I also let her know that I had already purchased the ingredients but I told her that if she really wanted to change she could but it would be an additional charge.

She just replied asking how much would the additional charge be. Here's where I am at a loss. Obviously I charge her for the ingredients to make the white cake, but what should I charge for my time to go back to the store and gas, etc. An extra $15? $20?

Thoughts? This has never happened before for me.

16 replies
bisbqueenb Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 11:28pm
post #2 of 17

Sorry, but maybe you should refund her the amount for NOT using the lemon flavoring.....come on....it's not like you will never use the lemon again. And just what is lemon cake but basically a white cake with lemon? I know I always have enough supplies on hand to whip up just about any flavor I might need, and would never make a habit of shopping for a single cake! If I was the customer, I think this kind of attitude would make me find another baker.....
Guess this thread struck a nerve with me about 'customer service' I just can't see that a quick trip to the market would 'cost' you $20!

bisbqueenb Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 11:34pm
post #3 of 17

Sorry, but maybe you should refund her the amount for NOT using the lemon flavoring.....come on....it's not like you will never use the lemon again. And just what is lemon cake but basically a white cake with lemon? I know I always have enough supplies on hand to whip up just about any flavor I might need, and would never make a habit of shopping for a single cake! If I was the customer, I think this kind of attitude would make me find another baker.....

motherofgrace Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 11:52pm
post #4 of 17

The contract is there for a reason. Yes we could do it for free, btu then how many people can change it that close? 2 more , 4 more? when does it stop?

I would say maybe $10.... not too much because you do haev the ingrediants for vanilla right?

BUTn o matter what you charge, get it in written form, so she doesnt try to swindle you at the end saying it was the wrong flavor!

psmith Posted 3 Oct 2010 , 11:55pm
post #5 of 17

I don't agree with refunding for removing the lemon flavor. The issue is not about what the actual material costs are but a fee in consideration for altering a contract. If a baker starts violating and altering their contract (especially giving refunds) word will get around fast and that sets up a bad precedent. icon_smile.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:03am
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bisbqueenb

Sorry, but maybe you should refund her the amount for NOT using the lemon flavoring.....come on....it's not like you will never use the lemon again. And just what is lemon cake but basically a white cake with lemon? I know I always have enough supplies on hand to whip up just about any flavor I might need, and would never make a habit of shopping for a single cake! If I was the customer, I think this kind of attitude would make me find another baker.....




I will say that lemon is one of my least offered flavors so there is a chance that it will be quite a while before someone orders a lemon cake and I don't like lemon so yes, the fresh lemons are going to go to waste.

And the point is not whether or not I have the ingredients on hand. I don't shop for a single cake. I have four orders for next weekend and I have purchased what I need for all those orders so I will have to make an additional trip to the store.

I doubt very much she's going to go find another baker considering her payment is non-refundable. The point is I feel I should be compensated for the extra time I now have to carve into my schedule to go back to the store. I'm trying to stick to the contract but also still be somewhat flexible for good customer service. Does that make sense?

cakesbycathy Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:03am
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by psmith

I don't agree with refunding for removing the lemon flavor. The issue is not about what the actual material costs are but a fee in consideration for altering a contract. If a baker starts violating and altering their contract (especially giving refunds) word will get around fast and that sets up a bad precedent. icon_smile.gif




Completely agree!
Now what should the fee be???

psmith Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:17am
post #8 of 17

I'm curious to hear what others say on this too. Charging based on what the actual cost to change may be ok but what if in the future a more costly change comes along and word is out you will alter last minute for a minimal fee? It is probably best to price this based on what will potentially discourage last minute changes in future orders.

LisaPeps Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:19am
post #9 of 17

How many miles to the store there and back? You could work it out that way with a mileage charge.

Or you could say, it's going to take me an hour there and an hour back, plus half hour looking around. And then charge 2 1/2 hours labour.

Or you could just say.. you've annoyed me to the tune of $20 so I would like that back lol ^_^

Either way, you should definitely charge something as you are making amendments to your contract after the date you stated, it's practically like a rush order fee. You should be compensated for the fresh lemons as they won't stay fresh for long.

I would make sure you get her to sign something to say she is aware of the alterations and the extra charge so that you cover yourself.

Hope I could help...

cakelady31 Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:34am
post #10 of 17

I would charge at the very least a $50.00 fee! And here is why. You have already shopped and planned for a specific flavor at this point. Never underestimate what your time is worth!
I get that amount just to deliver any cake! Why shouldn't you get compensated for any additional trips to get ingredients needed .

coldtropics Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 12:54am
post #11 of 17

I would certainly charge her...esp if this was a contract bound cake order.... whether or not you have lemons/lemon oil etc is not the issue business is business. Adhere to your contract and charge her $20.00

indydebi Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 1:39am
post #12 of 17

too many times, when a thread is talking about "what is the cost", the focus is on just the cost of the ingredient(s). There are other things to consider and here's an example of my experience......

A bride was to provide flowers for her cake, a standard requirement in my shop. She didnt' get enough flowers, so i thought "oh no big deal, i'll run over to Michaels' and get some more." Micheals is a 15 min drive from my shop.

I spent 2 freakin' hours out of the shop getting these stupid flowers! by the time I was on my way back to the shop, it was going thru my head, "THIS is why I am not a personal shopper for brides!"

It was not the cost of the flowers. It was the cost of my lost time. Not the cost of my TIME, but the cost of my LOST time that i wasn't in the shop, working on her cake. this now caused me to have to stay late, miss evening time with my family, work with less rest, etc.

Mileage cost is not the only factor. mileage costs only cover a fraction of the expense of running your copany vehicle. There's also the cost of the employee (which can be you) who is in that vehicle doing that errand.

If supplies are ordered in bulk, then there is a significant difference in cost when one has to run to the local grocery to pick up a small item. For example, those 1/2-size aluminum disposable food pans that go in chafers .... if I ordered a case on my truck order, those cost me 15 cents each. If I had to run to GFS and buy 1 or 2, they cost me 99 cents each. I am paying SIX TIMES the cost to accommodate a change in how I set up the buffet.

And yes, all of this translates into a PITA factor. It's not a negative cost to "remove" the lemon from the cake. The OP indicates she uses fresh lemons. The client no longer needs those lemons. Ok, well, the OP doesnt' need them either so there is no reason that the OP has to eat the cost.

I am a mix baker. If I bought a case of lemon cake mixes and then had to go buy a white cake mix because of this change, then yes it DID cost me money to delete the lemon from the cake.

You do not want to train your clients to tell all of their friends "Oh she SAYS you can't make any changes, but it's ok if you do. She really doesn't mind."

And at what point do you draw the line wiht the contract? It's ok to violate the changes deadline, but give them an inch and they take a mile ..... soon they wnt to reduce the total servings/price, then it's missing a payment deadline, then it's a cancellation and they want the deposit back.

It's all a slippery slope.

cakesbycathy Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 2:26am
post #13 of 17

Thanks for all your input (especially you Indydebi. I truly value your opinion).

The cake is not very big, it's really just the PITA factor.
I quoted her an extra $15 and she agreed so it all worked out icon_smile.gif

bakingpw Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 6:07pm
post #14 of 17

I'm sorry...but what other ingredients would you need? If it were the other way around and you had to run out to get lemons, fine, additional cost applies, but really? I'm assuming since this is a wedding cake, it is a large expense for the bride. So, you wouldn't take on the cost of the lemons for a customer who was committed to paying you a considerable amount? Whatever happened to customer service? Sorry, I don't agree with the "slippery slope" argument. Just MHO.

mayo2222 Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 6:38pm
post #15 of 17

I agree with Debi and the slippery slope, especially for future customers. Once you do something for nothing for one person they are bound to tell other people who will then expect the same level of service for the same price.

Glad you charged her something for the last minute change!

Sucrea Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 6:50pm
post #16 of 17

I think that you did the right thing. You provided great customer service by agreeing to change the flavor even though it was after the 10 days in your contract. The customer is happy that she is getting the lemon and you got a little something for your time. I can't think of any business where you can change something last minute and not have to pay for it.

jason_kraft Posted 4 Oct 2010 , 6:57pm
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakingpw

So, you wouldn't take on the cost of the lemons for a customer who was committed to paying you a considerable amount? Whatever happened to customer service?



It sounds like OP provided excellent customer service. According to the contract OP could have refused to change the order, but instead she allowed the change with a reasonable fee to cover the cost of her time.

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