cms2 Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 8:56pm

Once again, I'm sitting around waiting for someone to pick up a cake. I'm curious how other folks handle this. Some customers are specific with their pick up times and others want to give me a 2 hour window. I get the feeling some people just think I'm home all day and anytime they want to pick up the cake is fine. It's frustrating because I have a family and a life outside of this and hate waiting around all the time.

How do you work this?


26 replies
jason_kraft Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:02pm

I would recommend giving customers a one hour pickup window, and explaining that you may not be available outside that window. If they can't commit to a one hour window, don't take the order.

KTB4 Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:10pm

For me it depends on MY schedule. Usually for weekend pickups I set a 10-10:30 window and tell people that if they're going to be late they MUST contact me or there's no guarantee I'll be around. So far I've been pretty lucky that most people are conscious of being on time. However I know the day will come when I'm waiting for someone to come get a cake and have to leave - that will suck icon_razz.gif

theonlynameleft Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:12pm

I can relate, I work, have two littlies & lots of volunteering obligations as well. I have a cake order form and on it they customer needs to state what time pick up will be. If they say 4pm on the form I say "oh that suits great because I'll be heading away to xxxx at 5pm". That way they know I have other obligations & I let them know if its not before that point then I won't be there. And they sure as heck wouldn't be getting a refund either if they didn't show and missed out on their cake at the time they wanted it!

Generally its a big fat lie and I could be hanging around all day but I am not going to let other's dictate my day. My Mum and Dad own a business that is run from home as well and have the exact same problem. I think people presume that because you work from home you just sit around with your feet up all day and they can just come whenever they can be bothered getting around to it. grrr!!!

jo3d33 Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:12pm

If I am not delivering the cake I always meet them somewhere. Never at my home. I will pick a public place and say I will be here at x time. It seems to work out really well for me.

jenmat Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:15pm

I always get their number. Then, I ask if they want am or pm pickup. Then *I* give *THEM* an hour window.

You want afternoon pickup? That will work fine. I have a (insert wedding delivery or appt) at 3pm, so I can either do 1-2pm or 3-4pm. Which will work?

Only had a problem once, and when I contacted them, they apologized profusely, ran right over and gave me a huge tip! Train your customers!!!

momvarden Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:18pm

I don't i just always deliver, than i have the control. they feel like they are getting great customer service. if i deliver very far than they either meet me or i charge a larger delivery fee.

what_a_cake Posted 11 Oct 2010 , 9:30pm

DELIVER may be the word here... you'll have full control of the time and condition the cake arrives icon_smile.gif

You can either set an additional fee for delivery (let clear how many miles are inlcuded and how much will cost the extra mile) or include in your costs, when you estimate add the corresponding considering the distance.

dreamcakesmom Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 2:19am

Immediately at the ordering i let them know they can pick up between 10 and 11 on the particular day. I have phone # to reach them, I've never had a problem. To be honest I think to be fair although we are dealing out of your home you are still providing a retail service so you should be a little flexible with your pick ups in other words give them a window of time but make it clear that that window is firm. If there is a little give and take with your client relationship they will appreicate it and continue using your service.

indydebi Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 2:52am

Like wiht any other appt, it is rude to be late. icon_mad.gif 2 hour window? oh brother! My would-love-to-say response would be, "I'm sorry .... do you honestly think I have NOTHING to do all day but wait for you to show up whenever you feel like it?" how utterly rude and inconsiderate. You're NOT walmart ... you're NOT open 24/7 with staffers behind the counter any time of day or night.

When I did consultations at my home and later in my shop, my confirming email flat out said, "If you are running late, give me a call. 15 minutes past the appt time, I consider you a no-show and I pack up and go home."

can you make a dr. appt and will he give you a 2 hour window to get there just whenever the hell you feel like it? I know mine won't! And he'll bill be for a missed office call and MAKE me reschedule!

"My pick up times are between 2 and 3. I have obligations after that and will be leaving at 3;15 and will be gone for the rest of the day. Just so you know, I do NOT give refunds for missed pickups."

Train your customers. thumbs_up.gif

leily Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 12:57pm

agree with everyone else. I do this out of my home and i always give them two options. An AM and a PM window. They can choose. I tell them in my email that I can not gaurentee that I will be available for pick up out side of this window. I don't tell them why, for all I know maybe i'll be taking a nap with my kids, or outside playing. But i'm NOT available for a pick-up.

I do always tell them if these two times don't work to let me know and we can work something out the day before as i'm available between such and such a time on that day.

They don't tell me, i tell them.

luvscakes Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:09pm

My customers always come to my home as well. (I used to meet them at a Starbucks a few years ago, but I would end up waiting, with all 4 kids in the car forever... that was a dumb idea!)
Now, I tell my customers a time frame, and allow them to choose the time that best suites them. (I have pickups at 3-4 or 10-11, what time within that will work best for you?)
I've only had a couple of clients be really late. The last one was almost 45 minutes and that was BAD because I had to get to a Parent conference. I like Indydebi's idea of making it clear that more than 15 minutes late and you won't get your cake icon_smile.gif
They are your customer, but you don't have to live your whole life for them!

hilly Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:22pm

I rent space out of a restaurant kitchen so I almost always deliver which I would prefer either way because I hate the idea of someone picking up a cake and not knowing how to transport it. Takes skills IMO icon_wink.gif Seems that no one has a problem paying a $10 delivery fee.

Kiddiekakes Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:23pm

I agree with Indydebi and Leily....I allow pickups Friday after 1pm until 6pm and Saturday Mornings before 12 noon only...No sundays etc...I send out an email wednesday saying your cake will be ready fro friday after 1 or saturday before noon.Let me know what works for you.If they email back and state another time I simple say no and these are my times.90% set a specific time and are there within 10 minutes of the time they tell me..Ocassionally I will get a dipstick who thinks I have nothing better to do than wait around and believe me...I let them know...Just this weekend I had a pickup and she changed the time on me 3 times but it was fine as I was home..The last time she was an hour and half late and when I called to ask where her person was to pickup the cake ...she blasted me..."I'm sick she said" ...well TOO BAD...I was so pissed..and she was the business owner and started to bitch and complain about how she should have done it herself Yadda Yadda Yadda....People's ingnorance just really peeves me off....So that will be the last time I even email her to get her GD cake..she can get ahold of me!! Most people are very respectful of my time!!

leah_s Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 1:56pm

A window of time? You people are too easy.

I make an appointment and if they're not here on time, then neither am I.

Dr. Phil always says, "You teach people how to treat you."
And I do not suffer fools easily.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 12 Oct 2010 , 10:29pm
Originally Posted by leah_s

A window of time? You people are too easy.

I make an appointment and if they're not here on time, then neither am I.

Dr. Phil always says, "You teach people how to treat you."
And I do not suffer fools easily.

I agree. I do the same. I work the with client and come up with a time that will work with my schedule. If they are not there, then oh well. They'll have to come back when I am available.

I have that only happen 1 time. They were suppose to pick the cake up in the morning before I went to my full time job. She didn't show, she said she was running late for work so she didn't stop by and thought she could come later that day. I was at work and had my son's football game that evening. She wanted to meet me after the game, but that would be pretty late in the evening and wouldn't work for me as I'm trying to get my family settled for the night. She wasn't happy, but oh well. I also told her if she didn't show up then, then I was going to donate the cake to church's potluck that weekend. She came the next morning.

Sometimes being too nice allows people to walk all over you. Yes they are customers, but I do not have a shop with regular open hours. I can only be available at certain times with my schedule. If a client isn't happy with that, they are more than free to go with another baker IMHO.

SophiaS Posted 13 Oct 2010 , 11:52am

I always meet with my clients at a Starbucks when I first meet them so it seems a little more professional and they aren't left thinking I am stuck to the house. I also have them set a pick-up time at the time of contract to be back at the Starbucks for the drop off of the cake. I always send an e-mail or call them the day before to make sure nothing has come up that would throw the timing of our meeting off. Hope it helps.

granniehelen Posted 16 Oct 2010 , 12:59am

I've never, ever had this problem. People generally keep scheduled appointments. And I can't even imagine getting angry with a customer who may have been delayed by circumstances beyond their control. Especially if I was just hanging around the house anyway. I always figure the customer is more important than I am.

1234me Posted 16 Oct 2010 , 11:43pm
Originally Posted by granniehelen

I always figure the customer is more important than I am.

have you been in the cake decorating business long? I am not trying to be rude but I used to have that mentality too but people take advantage and are just plain flat rude and think their time is more valuable than yours! Nothin makes me more made than a late customer. I am not late to appointments I make with people because I respect their time. Yes, I do believe there are times when things come up - especially those with young children etc. But I find it extremely rude when people are late and don't apologize!

sweetooth0510 Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 12:03am

If you give em an inch, they'll take a mile in my opinion. I always ask my clients what their 'preferred' pick up time is, then I go back to them with how that fits into my schedule. Mostly my clients are birthday/occasion cakes so they have children and understand that with sporting/social appointments I am certainly not sitting around the house. So far I have only had one person be extremely late for pick up and I ended up getting so frustrated that I texted her to say we were leaving the house and that her cake was in an enclosed cake box (cellotaped edges to stop ants) inside another big box sitting on the bonnet of the car in our carport and she could pick it up whenever it suited (yes I had full payment already!).

raquel1 Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 12:15am
Originally Posted by granniehelen

I always figure the customer is more important than I am.

OMG Seriously? Give yourself your place, and ask yourself why would you think that.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 17 Oct 2010 , 12:37am
Originally Posted by granniehelen

I've never, ever had this problem. People generally keep scheduled appointments. And I can't even imagine getting angry with a customer who may have been delayed by circumstances beyond their control. Especially if I was just hanging around the house anyway. I always figure the customer is more important than I am.

Getting delayed beyond their control is a whole different issue, and I can understand that completely. In my case, my client didn't even call. I had to call to see where she was. She just thought she could come by any time she wanted. That is just disrespectful and rude IMHO. My schedule is pretty much filled, and rarely are there days I just hang around the house.

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Oct 2010 , 4:52am

I like to have people get their cakes by noon because chances are i have been up the whole night and I need to take a nap after they leave! I had someone very late one day and I fell asleep on the couch, turned sideways to look out the window behind me. I was not intending to sleep and was startled when they rang the bell (UNDER the sign that saysicon_razz.giflease do not ring bell) and I jumped up like my butt was on fire and made nice while they oohed and awed and left. Then I went to the bathroom before my nap. I saw that my hair was standing up, my ponytail was half undone, my head looked all fuzzy, red rimmed bloodshot eyes, I had red creases all over one half of my face, and some crusties on the corner of my mouth, and one flap on my nursing bra was undone so one boob was around my waist! I was HORRIFIED!!! So now I stress to them that I am headed right out the door as soon as they leave, so please be on time! Nobody has been (too) late since!

steffiessweet_sin_sations Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 6:28am

OMG anna i laughed so hard at your post!!! because that happened to me recently (not the nursing bra of course, but definately the boob thing!!) i had made 5 dozen cupcakes for a friend to take to work with her and was up almost all night decorating them, (we had some baking issues! ) and i had fallen asleep right before she got there, i went to the door in pj pants and a dirty tank and my hair was standing up and i had proactive on my face, which leaves a big white blob until u wash it off, she looked at me like i was frankenstiens bride!!! LOL! thank god she is my friend, and she understood!

CookieMeister Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 4:15pm

Add me to the list of those changing their policy to exact pick up times. I've always had the rule of all Saturday pick-ups before noon, but I'm sick of the 12:15s, the 12:30s, the 12:45s . . . It's NEVER before noon.

When I say I'll be somewhere at a specific time, I'm there at a specific time. I hate, hate, hate when people are late!!!!!

Sherrycakes_Tacoma Posted 15 Nov 2010 , 2:19am

WOW, this is a huge help for us. We are just now getting started with all this and I am certain i would be the guy sitting around all day waiting because I never considered this. Gonna write a pickup time into the contracts so I and the customer know what is expected from the get go.

Been spending the past two days just reading everything here, so much great information. Im so glad I came across Cake Central. Im certain this board has already saved us several heartaches

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