Need Advice --Should I Do This Or Go With My Gut??

Decorating By nhbaker Updated 23 Dec 2010 , 10:52pm by -K8memphis

nhbaker Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:23pm
post #1 of 15

Ok so I got a call over the weekend from a man who wants a cake for his New Year's Day Vow Renewal Celebration. He gave me the particulars, two tier, maybe Hawaiian theme, pink & white colors, etc., etc., and sounded like he really wanted the wow factor. I busted my butt to come up with an nice design, did up a computerized sketch and emailed it to him. Two days later his partner emails me back and mentions NOTHING about the sketch, just attaches a pic of their original cake with a description of what it looked like and that he wants to use the topper from it. Shortly after the first man emailed me and apologized for his partner's email and that they would talk it over and get back to me. Today I get an email with a picture of a 3 tier square stacked cake, and a note that says they would like it similar to that but the sizes would be 9", 6" and 3" (YES, 3"!!!) with pillars separating the top tier. SERIOUSLY?? The picture is of a simple iced white cake with real flowers. And he adds, "you can add flowers, either real or sugar". -- (Ugh, do you see the name florist anywhere in my business name?? -- Plus, time is getting a little tight to be making sugar flowers for a cake that's a weeks away). On top of all that, they want to pick it up on the 30th, 2 days prior to their event!!

My gut is telling me politely walk away from this. No money has changed hands and I feel like I've already put enough time into this (not like I've got a whole lot extra right now, given the date!) They can't seem to agree amongst themselves, never mind with me. Problem is I live in a small area and would hate to chance negative fallout from it.

14 replies
cupadeecakes Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:29pm
post #2 of 15

Always go with your gut! When my "Spidey Senses" start tingling, I walk away.

visionsofprisms Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:43pm
post #3 of 15

Did you previously agree to it? You said no money has switched hands, but if you gave a verbal agreement already, I think you should stand up to it, being in a small area.

Inform them that you do not have enough notice to make the flowers, and if they would like real flowers then they will need to go to the florist and purchase them their-selves. I do not for-see real flowers living that long (3 days). Maybe if you tell them this they will decide to go with another baker, and you will have satisfied your gut.

If they don't decide to go to another baker then you would basically have a simple iced white cake to do, with some real flowers that they have to provide.

I am afraid if you had agreed to it, and then told them you couldn't do it, in a small area the word will get around that you do not hold up to your word. I know I am from a small area, and if I sneeze too loud the neighbors here it and eventually it turns into a complete rumor traveling around that I am raising screaming monkeys.

Hope I was of some help

nhbaker Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:54pm
post #4 of 15

Techinically I did not agree do it. I told them during my first conversation that I would send them some ideas and we would go from there. So far all that's been done is exchanging emails about a design, I haven't even been able to talk price (other than base per serving) as they can't
settle on one!

Whether they interpret my design idea emails as "implying" to do it, well, I guess that a whole other issue.

indydebi Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 3:55pm
post #5 of 15

sometimes it is our job to educate the customer. I'm not aware that there is a 3" plate-n-pillar set (if there is, anyone please correct me) but it is no big deal to go back and tell them, "here's what I CAN do ......" Explain why making the flowers are not possible in this short time period, but give them an option of what IS possible.

here's one I did that is 4/6/10: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1269683 I was afraid it would look too "squatty" but I ended up just luv'in this one, it was so cute!

As I was reading the post, it seemed to me that both of them were working on the cake but hadn't touched base with each other. However, it seems they are in sync now. I get the feeling that this cake would generate some good referral biz for you since its kinda last minute, over the holiday, and then you come thru for them! thumbs_up.gif

I'd do it, if it were me.

nhbaker Posted 22 Dec 2010 , 4:05pm
post #6 of 15

Oh Indy, thanks so much for chiming in, I was so hoping you would!! You always give the best advice.

I had actually started to write a reply email along that lines and then started second guessing myself and turned to CC. That little cake is actually really cute.

Still on the fence but leaning towards doing like you said . . . telling them "XX is all I can do for you given the time constraints" and see where it leads.

I'm not sure they're in sync on this, but maybe agreeing to disagree!

tiggy2 Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 3:07am
post #7 of 15

If they are ordering fresh flowers make sure they know which ones are safe to put on a cake. Most flowers are poisonous and almost all of them have been sprayed with pesticides.

Ruth0209 Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 3:36am
post #8 of 15

I don't understand why you think this is a problem cake. Lots of customers don't know exactly what they want when they get started, and lots of customers have spouses veto their idea and then come up with a completely different one that makes them both happy.

Just tell them what you can do in the timeframe. Not every customer is going to know exactly what they want on the first call. If you're worried about reputation, I'd be more worried about being the cake decorator who told a customer you couldn't execute a simple cake design.

denetteb Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 4:53am
post #9 of 15

How about just calling them, seems the emails going back and forth is time consuming without really getting anything decided.

Lizzard1 Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 5:41am
post #10 of 15

I would have to say if you promised a cake (verbal affirmation) then stick with it...But, if you didn't make any definite plans than i would reconsider.. If I get a bad vibe from someone it makes my stress-levels higher and its already the holidays icon_smile.gif that would be too much for me!! You're smart, and will make the right decision for your circumstances icon_smile.gif HTH

dchockeyguy Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 2:35pm
post #11 of 15

I would have to agree with Debi here. I don't think the two guys are on the same page for the cake. They may not even be talking to each other about it.

Here's the problem in a way: If they are under the impression you're doing the cake, it's almost too late for them to find someone else now, as most people are either a) booked or b) burned out. They'll have a hard time finding someone else.

I would call them and tell them what you CAN do for them. Explaining things like "I'm sorry, but there is no equipment made for a 3" cake" is a good start. We, as cake people, know and think about these things, but non-cake people just don't. A little education is probably all you need to do.

nhbaker Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 4:18pm
post #12 of 15

Thanks all for your help/advice.

As much as it sounds like they're not communicating with each other, they are (they've told me so) and they seem to be trying to narrow it down to a more simplistic design that appeals to them both. Problem is what they want is a bit offbase of what's realistic.

I know the email exchange is not professional but it's really hard to send pictures back and forth over the phone! And in addition (and I KNOW this is my problem, not theirs so don't hammer me on this) I have two sick kids and the moment, one very sick with croup and I'm exhausted which I'm sure has a lot to do with my state of mind. Having a "barking" child in the background while I'm on the phone doesn't sound very appealing.

I did email them back and nicely explained that the 3" cake was quite small and to my knowledge there wasn't a pillar/plate setup for that, etc., etc. I futher explained that given the short time frame that I could do "X" for them and sent them a couple more design ideas along with cost figures.

They let me know that they appreciated the ideas and all my help and would get back to me with a final decision today. I will try to give them a call later this afternoon when I can find a quite moment.

-K8memphis Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 4:23pm
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchockeyguy

I would have to agree with Debi here. I don't think the two guys are on the same page for the cake. They may not even be talking to each other about it.

Here's the problem in a way: If they are under the impression you're doing the cake, it's almost too late for them to find someone else now, as most people are either a) booked or b) burned out. They'll have a hard time finding someone else.

I would call them and tell them what you CAN do for them. Explaining things like "I'm sorry, but there is no equipment made for a 3" cake" is a good start. We, as cake people, know and think about these things, but non-cake people just don't. A little education is probably all you need to do.




Yes and no.

What equipment? Like pans & stuff--sure there is plus it's real easy to cut a 3"cake out of a 6--you'd have some leftover but it's done.

Some of us are allergic to teeny tiny cakes but you can sure pop 'em out.

Brilliant on the tell then what you can do for them.

indydebi Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 4:29pm
post #14 of 15

K8, they initially wanted the 3" cake on a pillar and I wasn't sure if there was a pillar-n-plate set that was small enough for that.

-K8memphis Posted 23 Dec 2010 , 10:52pm
post #15 of 15

You wouldn't want to make a set?

Y'know--CHARGE!!!! them big bucks icon_biggrin.gif

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