Arrrghhhh!

Business By LoveMeSomeCake615 Updated 13 Jan 2011 , 1:32am by LoveMeSomeCake615

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:48pm
post #1 of 34

Ok, so I just talked to a customer that had ordered a cake from us before and was really happy with it. Last time it was a really last minute thing, so we just had her pay us when we brought her the cake. I know that's not a good idea, but it worked out fine that time. So this time she calls and wants a cake again, this time the date is about a month out, so plenty of time to get the payment ahead of time, which is how we usually do it.

I talked to her last night to give her the quote and tell her that we would like the payment ahead of time because we are a custom cake company and we prefer that so that we have what we need to buy the materials for her cake. Well, she seemed kind of surprised at that, but seemed ok with it. So then I call this morning to finalize details, and she said she talked to her fiance about it last night and he said "Never mind, I'll find someone else" all because we want payment ahead of time. He apparently found someone else to do it who didn't require payment until they deliver the cake. So she tells me "it's a shame" that we were requiring that because she's got all of these events coming up where she is going to need cake, and what she liked about us before was that she could call us last minute and pay when she got the cake because she doesn't have a lot of time in her personal life, or something like that.

She said she knows we have to run our business how we think we should, but the whole undertone of the conversation is that she thinks it's the wrong way to do it. She said she thought it should more about customer service than to be all about the money. Which of course it's not "all about the money", but we do have a set way of doing things based on the fact that we are a CUSTOM cake company, not Publix or Walmart. She also said she thought we had established trust with her before, and seemed to think it unreasonable for us to require payment ahead of time because we should trust her now. Sure we had a good experience last time and it worked out fine, but other than that one experience, we don't know her at all! And not to say that she is not trustworthy, but I thought this was a fairly common policy for a custom cake place to have.

Sorry this is so long, I just needed to vent. It's hard to not get discouraged when you keep dealing with people that just don't seem to get what we do.

33 replies
visionsofprisms Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:55pm
post #2 of 34

Good riddance to her than. If she is going to act like a five year old over you asking for the money up front then tell her to out her big girl panties on and deal with it.

I do not think it's wrong to ask for money first. Does she expect you to pay for the cake out of pocket. People.

But good for you stand your ground.

catlharper Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:56pm
post #3 of 34

You need to let her know, if you speak to her again, that it's common practice in the cake world, and in fact, for most vendors, to charge 50% up front and then require the balance at least a week before the event if the product is edible. This is so that you don't have to pay for your supplies out of your own money and YOU get paid from the final payment for all of the actual physical work on the cake. Don't feel badly about this policy and don't feel badly about "losing" this client. You dodged a bullet here.

Cat

Gerle Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:02pm
post #4 of 34

I love the part about how she "could call you last minute". Does she think you have nothing better to do than wait for her to call you and expect you to do her work last minute? She gave you time this time, but what about the next time? Sounds like she's expecting you to be able to accommodate her whenever she calls, no matter how much time she gives you. And what is so wrong with paying ahead of time? Just because you ask to be paid in advance doesn't mean it's "all about the money" and has nothing to do with "customer service". They shouldn't be ordering a custom cake if they don't have the money to pay for it when placing the order. Maybe it's a good thing they're going elsewhere. Sorry you had to deal with this, though.

KSMill Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:31pm
post #5 of 34

You could also explain to her that when customers pay upfront - since it's a custom cake shop - it gives them some reassurance that their cake is on the books since last minute orders sometimes have to be turned down because of the schedule and bookings.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 6:01pm
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSMill

You could also explain to her that when customers pay upfront - since it's a custom cake shop - it gives them some reassurance that their cake is on the books since last minute orders sometimes have to be turned down because of the schedule and bookings.



That's a good way to express it, and that really is how we view paying upfront. It's not just about a guarantee for us, but a guarantee for them as well. Thanks everyone for the input. I guess with every situation like this, I try to figure out what I can take away from it, how I can improve for next time.

jenmat Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:04pm
post #7 of 34

Some people are just looking for their next "cake grunt", who will drop everything to do a fabulous cake for them and never require anything from the client. I've had people do that kind of thing to me in other ways- call with 3 days' notice for a 3D cake, etc, and man, if you give in once, then you are stuck with it for life, or you REALLY tick them off when policies change.

Just another fine example of why you need to follow your own policies 100% of the time- you teach people how to treat you.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:15pm
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

Some people are just looking for their next "cake grunt", who will drop everything to do a fabulous cake for them and never require anything from the client. I've had people do that kind of thing to me in other ways- call with 3 days' notice for a 3D cake, etc, and man, if you give in once, then you are stuck with it for life, or you REALLY tick them off when policies change.

Just another fine example of why you need to follow your own policies 100% of the time- you teach people how to treat you.



So true, I need to be better about sticking to our policies no matter what! Neither of these were a big or complicated cake, but I don't know that we should change our policy of up front payment just because it's a smaller cake. Either way, we are setting aside our time and schedule for the cake, and having to buy the materials to make it.

neelycharmed Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:28pm
post #9 of 34

I totally understand... Same thing happened to me last year... they couldn't understand why I needed the money upfront icon_confused.gif
Glad you stood your ground icon_smile.gif Sure, the extra cake orders would be great but it doesn't sound like it would be worth it in the long run ( especially last minute orders)
Jodi
icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:07pm
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMasterSRC


So she tells me "it's a shame" that we were requiring that because she's got all of these events coming up where she is going to need cake,



Here we go! The same 'ole tired line of how much business they can send you if you just let them order at the last minute and not pay you until they feel like it.

yeah ..... right. we're ALL looking for THOSE kind of customers! icon_eek.gif

costumeczar Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:47pm
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMasterSRC


So she tells me "it's a shame" that we were requiring that because she's got all of these events coming up where she is going to need cake,


Here we go! The same 'ole tired line of how much business they can send you if you just let them order at the last minute and not pay you until they feel like it.

yeah ..... right. we're ALL looking for THOSE kind of customers! icon_eek.gif




Yeah,that's a common line for someone to use when they're trying to "punish" you if they don't like your policies.

I wonder if they go into any other store where you have to pay in full in advance for custom items and argue about it. I had to pay in full then wait for a month for a couch to be delivered and I didn't moan about it, for pete's sake.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:49pm
post #12 of 34

Yeah, I really didn't expect for someone to have that much of a problem with paying up front, especially when I explained why. Oh well.

GeminiRJ Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:18am
post #13 of 34

Do these people not understand the concept of "business"? The goal of any business is to make money. No money= no business. Geesh. You are definitely better off without her as a client!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 12:18am
post #14 of 34

Exactly! While on the one hand it\\'s not \\"all about the money\\

artscallion Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 5:12pm
post #15 of 34

[quote=\\"CakeMasterSRC\\"]... He apparently found someone else to do it who didn\\'t require payment until they deliver the cake....[/quote]

My feeling is that if this were true, she wouldn\\'t have felt the need to spend so much time telling you why you were wrong. If she had another baker lined up who was happy to take last minute orders with no pre-pay, why would she care what you did anymore.

My suspicion is she wasn\\'t able to find anyone else who would accommodate her way and is trying to bully you into changing your policy. Pre-pay for a custom cake is industry standard. Nothing wrong with your policy. Hang tight!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 5:35pm
post #16 of 34

Thanks artscallion! It helps to know we are on the right track!

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 6:58pm
post #17 of 34

People don\\'t understand how much work is involved and that you can never get that time back if their cake never gets picked up. The place I used to work at had a policy of small cakes paid for at pick up. I didn\\'t work Saturdays, so when I came in on Monday, I would have to throw away 1 or 2 cakes. One time I think i threw away 5 cakes, and 4 of them were naughty cakes. We threw away naughty cakes almost every week, so now they have to be paid for in advance. (I\\'m guessing someone ordered it then someone else told them how tasteless it was, and they got something less tacky, somewhere cheaper.)

artscallion Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:44pm
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

People don\\'t understand how much work is involved and that you can never get that time back if their cake never gets picked up. The place I used to work at had a policy of small cakes paid for at pick up. I didn\\'t work Saturdays, so when I came in on Monday, I would have to throw away 1 or 2 cakes. One time I think i threw away 5 cakes, and 4 of them were naughty cakes. We threw away naughty cakes almost every week, so now they have to be paid for in advance. (I\\'m guessing someone ordered it then someone else told them how tasteless it was, and they got something less tacky, somewhere cheaper.)




That's exactly it, Anna. In a bakery, if you make 20 basic decorated cakes, anyone can come in and buy one. If you call and order one, they make it and if you don't pick it up, someone else can still buy it because it's basic and generic.

But if you order a custom cake that's a caterpillar with "happy Birthday Poopsie" on it, and you don't pick it up, they have to throw it away cause no one else will buy it. Pre-pay is because they have to buy it because it was made just for them and no one else will want it. If they don't prepay and then change their mind after you've made it, you have no recourse and a total loss.

cathyscakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 7:56pm
post #19 of 34

I know how people think. They think they are going to get ripped off too, and don't understand paying before they get the cake. But, its a custom order, if they were having some ingraving done, or monogramed, they would have to pay upfront too, since it is made especially for them.

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 8:14pm
post #20 of 34

I see we are all on the same page, now we need to get the cake muggles there as well! thumbs_up.gif

Hey, IndyDebi! Want to write an article about it? I can assure you it will be shared! thumbs_up.gif

BTW, when we did custom orders at Meijer Bakery, we didn't write on them, we just did the order and waited for the customer to come pick it up, then we wrote on it. They were all Princess cakes or balloons with sprinkles, pretty generic, without the name. We just slid it in the case if it wasn't picked up. At the custom bakery, we slid it in the trash! What are the chances someone else would come in looking for a heart shaped cherry chip cake with Prince Charming kneeling with a shoe at Cinderella's feet that reads: Will you marry me Traci?

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 8:34pm
post #21 of 34

Yes, that's the problem. We're a custom cake business. We don't have cakes just sitting around in a bake case waiting to be picked up and paid for on the spot. Granted, the cake she wanted wasn't a complicated or overly personalized one, but it WAS a custom order, and we would not be making it if it weren't for her order. I'm sure she did think she might get ripped off if we took her money in advance, but then the same argument she tried to use with me applies: Why don't you trust US as a business to follow through?

cakelady2266 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 8:43pm
post #22 of 34

If they have had your work before and know the quality they shouldn't have a problem paying in advance. I think folks wait to pay at delivery is to see if the cake is acceptable. Or they have to scrape the money together. Or maybe they think we are all so dumb we will forget to ask for payment.

I despise on a grand scale having to hang around at an event until someone decides to pay me. I hate like the devil to have to go and hunt somebody down to pay for the cake. People tend to scatter like cockroaches when the light comes on when the bill rolls around. And there you are looking like a turd in a punchbowl waiting for your meager earnings.

I don't usually ask for payment up front on cakes they will be picking up, birthdays and such. But is not unreasonable to ask and expect to pay 50% up front on cake that will be delivered.

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 8:54pm
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

If they have had your work before and know the quality they shouldn't have a problem paying in advance. I think folks wait to pay at delivery is to see if the cake is acceptable. Or they have to scrape the money together. Or maybe they think we are all so dumb we will forget to ask for payment.

I despise on a grand scale having to hang around at an event until someone decides to pay me. I hate like the devil to have to go and hunt somebody down to pay for the cake. People tend to scatter like cockroaches when the light comes on when the bill rolls around. And there you are looking like a turd in a punchbowl waiting for your meager earnings.

I don't usually ask for payment up front on cakes they will be picking up, birthdays and such. But is not unreasonable to ask and expect to pay 50% up front on cake that will be delivered.




LOL! I have done that before, a LONG time ago. Stood there feeling like a leper, trying to find someone to pay for the cake, at the reception. I learned to take payment ahead of time after that. It was cemented when I went to a "consultation" at a "lady's" house where the finance was snoring on a filthy bare mattress on the floor in the living room at 2pm, and there were about 3 or 4 dirty kids in diapers (only) running around the whole time. That was the first time I asked for the payment up front, and I am so glad I did! I always get it first, unless it is my church family.

sadsmile Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:07pm
post #24 of 34

I haven't read any of the comments just the OT...

Paypal!!!

Really- PayPal takes less than 2 minutes- if people can't manage that then they have an issue with respecting people and business policy not just time.
In hind site isn't it always people just like that that finally screw someone over and stiff them out of payment? but they were long time customers and always payed before... yada yada. Sound familiar? Stick to your policy and that won't be you crying over a lost payment. Chances are if they ordered before and were happy with your service then maybe after trying this other place they will come back to what they know.

artscallion Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:11pm
post #25 of 34

I have a friend who does weddings. For whatever reason she made an exception once and agreed to be paid upon delivery. She told them exactly what time she would be there and asked specifically who she should ask for that would have her money.

Well delivery time comes and you'd think she was delivering to a ghost town. Not a soul in site. She goes into the kitchen and asks for the person she was told to ask for and is greeted by a chorus of shrugs.

So she goes back out into the reception hall, goes up to the Head table and takes the bride's chair, carries it over and plops it down smack dab in front of the cake table and her beautiful cake, sits down in the chair and waits.

Of course the bride is the last to get there so you should have seen the curious looks she got as people began to file in. The MOB arrived, just before the bride, saw the empty chair, then my friend, figured out what was going on...you never saw a soul move so fast. I think it was in under a minute that my friend had her money, a large tip to move fast, and was out the door.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:11pm
post #26 of 34

See, that is the only thing I am not sure about, the simple birthday cakes and things like that. Since we work out of a licensed kitchen that we are sharing, we usually end up delivering the majority of our cakes, even the small ones. So there are no simple cakes that they just pick up. So should we just let them pay for a simple birthday cake when they get it, even though we deliver it? Since last time she had called us the day before she needed the cake, it was really last minute but we were able to do it, so we just had her pay us when we brought the cake. But since she called a month ahead this time, even though it was a simple one, we figured it made sense to get the money ahead of time.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:15pm
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

I haven't read any of the comments just the OT...

Paypal!!!

Really- PayPal takes less than 2 minutes- if people can't manage that then they have an issue with respecting people and business policy not just time.
In hind site isn't it always people just like that that finally screw someone over and stiff them out of payment? but they were long time customers and always payed before... yada yada. Sound familiar? Stick to your policy and that won't be you crying over a lost payment. Chances are if they ordered before and were happy with your service then maybe after trying this other place they will come back to what they know.




I offered Paypal as an option, she said she felt uncomfortable with using Paypal. She didn't really say why. So then I offered to pick up the money from her where she works, and she said she doesn't get paid until 3 weeks from now, so she couldn't pay until then.

artscallion Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:16pm
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMasterSRC

... So should we just let them pay for a simple birthday cake when they get it, even though we deliver it? ...




You can, but then you run into that tricky other dilemma... you drive across town, knock on the door. the door opens to the glee of 25 tiny tots who see the cake...Mom says, "ooh, I don't have my purse here." and she's been the kind of customer you know you will have to pester for it. Do you walk away with the cake? or leave it?

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:26pm
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMasterSRC

... So should we just let them pay for a simple birthday cake when they get it, even though we deliver it? ...



You can, but then you run into that tricky other dilemma... you drive across town, knock on the door. the door opens to the glee of 25 tiny tots who see the cake...Mom says, "ooh, I don't have my purse here." and she's been the kind of customer you know you will have to pester for it. Do you walk away with the cake? or leave it?




See, that's what we thought. We've done it both ways, and it's always so nice to have the whole money thing out of the way, so when you bring the cake that day, all you have to worry about is getting the cake delivered, and not pestering someone for payment!

costumeczar Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 9:31pm
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMasterSRC

... So should we just let them pay for a simple birthday cake when they get it, even though we deliver it? ...



You can, but then you run into that tricky other dilemma... you drive across town, knock on the door. the door opens to the glee of 25 tiny tots who see the cake...Mom says, "ooh, I don't have my purse here." and she's been the kind of customer you know you will have to pester for it. Do you walk away with the cake? or leave it?



Offer to wait with the cake in your car until she goes to the ATM to get the money. If there are a bunch of little kids there she won't be the only adult, and someone will be able to watch the kids while she's gone. If she won't do that, then you leave with the cake after telling her in a loud voice that the other adults will hear that because of how difficult it's been to get payment from her in the past, you won't be able to leave the cake for no payment. Either someone will rustle the money up, or she'll find it. Then she goes on the "no cake for you" list.

Payment in advance is so much simpler. Prevents a multitude of problems.

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