Late Fee For Pick-Ups?

Business By Annabakescakes Updated 14 Jun 2011 , 12:20am by Annabakescakes

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 9:53pm
post #1 of 29

It seems like here lately EVERY SINGLE person, barring 1 out of 2 dozen, has been at least one hour late picking up their cake. I am home based, so I guess they think I don't have anything to do all day but sit and wait for them. Saturday was waiting for the cake to get picked up so I could make lunch, and when they got here 1 1/2 hours late, we were starving! I have 4 kids and the 2 year old was in melt-down mode, hungry and tired.

Would charging a late fee cut this out? Could it even be enforced? Should I just put it on my website and say I will charge it to show I mean business? I feel like I am baby sitting it after it is done and sitting there. I was thinking that at the daycare I used to use, it was $1 a minute for every minute you were late getting your kids, in 5 minute increments, after the first 15 minutes. So if you were 1 1/2 hours late, it would be $75. That would make them speed up! I know I was never late getting my kids!

Maybe the first time I could say how much it would be, and then say I will waive it this time, but please be on time next time. This is the 3rd cake this couple has gotten and they have always been late.

28 replies
Dayti Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 10:03pm
post #2 of 29

Can you somehow let them know that you have an appointment (or whatever) 15 minutes after their stated pick up time, and that you will not be there if they arrive later than said time? That no matter how hard or long they knock, you will not hear them? It might mean in one or two cases you are left with the cake, but if you collect a deposit with your orders at least you will have some of the cost covered.

tiggy2 Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 10:12pm
post #3 of 29

Full payment ahead of time and pick up not later then whatever time you decie, no exceptions. No pickup on time no cake and no refunds. No exceptions!

platinumlady Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 10:21pm
post #4 of 29

I've only had this happen once to me..but it was because the cake was a surprise & they didn't want the birthday girl knowing about it. They let me know each step of the way ... so if I had to run out really quick I could

I have a friend that is a nail tech & she does charge a fee if her clients are later than 5 minutes & if they are later than 15 mins no service.

I agree with the above post... set a time & if they aren't there then it's their lost...your time is valuable and you shouldn't have to wait like that your clients should respect you and your time. I know there will be exceptions like a person calls you ahead of time & states they will be late is this ok.... but that will be up to you if it's ok or not.

Good Luck

Annabakescakes Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 11:05pm
post #5 of 29

It isn't the money I am worried about, it is time with my kids that I can't get back. They are young, and I want to have time for them, I don't want to spend 6 hours working on a cake and not get compensated. I have to get paid if I spend the time!

indydebi Posted 12 Jun 2011 , 11:40pm
post #6 of 29

When I sent my consulation-confirming email, there was section in there that said if they were running late or ran into traffic to call and let me know because "at 15 minutes past the appt, I consider you a no-show and I pack up and go home." I didn't have any no-show problems and rarely RARELY did I have a late show-up issue.

I also had someone who didn't get her first anniv. cake on time. I told her she could pick it up anytime on that particular day and "I close at 5." Five came and went. I waited 10 minutes. No show. I closed up and went home. Got an email later that she arrived at 5:30 "but you were closed." Uh .... right. She didnt' get her cake for the weekend.

Make it perfectly clear that "you can pick up your cake between 9 and 10. I am leaving at 10:05 so if you're not here by 10, you will be able to pick up your cake after 4:00."

That should get 'em there! icon_twisted.gif

As far as charging, this could be a legit expense. If you had to leave and had to pay someone to babysit the cake-pick-up, then you have incurred (sp?) an add'l expense that the client caused you. Even if that person is YOU, it's yoru time that is being eat up.

Narie Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:10am
post #7 of 29

If you don't have room for the cake in your kitchen, put a table on the front porch and put the cake there if they are Late. You could be nice and put a box over it to keep the bugs out of it. Make it clear to them that the cake goes on the porch if they are late -their problem not yours. You do get the cake paid for ahead of time? If you don't, change that. If customers don't have their money involved, they can be very casual about pick up times.

Kitagrl Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:27am
post #8 of 29

I wouldn't charge a fee, but like Indy said, tell them you will no longer be available after a certain time. I tell my pickups that (if its true) and they get here early or on time. When I tell them they can come at whatever time, and then they give me an approximate time, sometimes they are late...which is my own fault.

If they come late after you've told them you are not available, just make them wait out there until you've finished lunch or whatever and you can give them the cake.... (If you can stand it, haha)

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 2:33am
post #9 of 29

Since I do work out of my home, and I live a ways away from "the beaten path", I do let my regular customers pay at pick up. I have never had someone leave a cake, though I have had people 4 hours late, when it was snowing. (I was sick thinking I was going to be left with it after all the time I spent on it!)

I couldn't leave my cake outside without some kind of a Plexiglas dome or something! I would be scared to death ants would walk off with it!

I really do need to try saying the cake will not be available after a certain time, and that they will have to get it the next day. I would like to have a pre-pay, but I don't want to use cards and lose 3%, and I don't want to make people drive all the way out here. I often have cake orders only a few days in advance, so checks in the mail won't work all the time. I am bad at cashing them, anyways. I often have them for a week or more.

Kitagrl Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 2:36am
post #10 of 29

You may come to a point where the 3% is worth losing in order to get the prepayment and make it easier....

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 3:04am
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

You may come to a point where the 3% is worth losing in order to get the prepayment and make it easier....




You may be right! lol Ideally, I would want to break even first, before I start throwing away money. We have saved every penny we could in this remodel, but we have still spent a fortune.

indydebi Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 3:51am
post #12 of 29

On a $75 cake, 3% is only $2.25. If you can't afford a $2.25 expense on a $75 cake, then you are not pricing your cakes properly.

I would rather have 97% of something than 100% of nothing. thumbs_up.gif Even on a $300 wedding cake, it's only $9.

And ... isn't it worth $2.25 to help insure on time pickups? Are the two hours you could spend with your kids worth two bucks and some change? icon_wink.gif

ya gotta look at the big picture. thumbs_up.gif

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 5:48am
post #13 of 29

Again, Indydebi said it perfectly. thumbs_up.gif

- get the $$$ upfront and forget the 3% (peace of mind is worth it)
- give the customer a window of time to pick up, let's say 10 to 11, when you may be doing laundry or housecleaning
- don't schedule during naps, meals, or playtime---- PERIOD, unless you are being really well compen$ated.

Claire138 Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 6:25am
post #14 of 29

I feel for you, the past few weeks I've had a couple of late pick ups and what I annoys me is that I've had to re-arrange my whole day around them.

jenmat Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 11:49am
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

Again, Indydebi said it perfectly. thumbs_up.gif

- get the $$$ upfront and forget the 3% (peace of mind is worth it)
- give the customer a window of time to pick up, let's say 10 to 11, when you may be doing laundry or housecleaning
- don't schedule during naps, meals, or playtime---- PERIOD, unless you are being really well compen$ated.




Anna~
I live so far off the beaten path that I would have to travel to find it! I get what you're saying.

YOU are the business and YOU need to dictate your pickup hours. Just because you're at home doesn't mean you need to be available whenever they want. There have been many times that I have said, "I'm sorry, but a 7am pickup doesn't work for me." Why? Because my little one is still sleeping and I don't feel like starting off the day with that doorbell drama!

You should decided when pickup hours are, and then post them on your website, make sure you give the customers a pickup time email when they schedule pickup, and emphasize that you need a phone call if they are going to be late so that you can arrange a better time. If you have to, get a sign that says "Pickup hours are from xx-xx" for your door.

On Saturdays all my pickups have to be before noon, so I have time to begin loading wedding cakes. I have told every single person who picks up a cake on Saturday that if they come after 12pm, I will NOT be available. Even the late ones come before noon. So even if my 10am pickup is late, I don't get mad, because I know they will come before noon if they want a cake.

As a fellow boonie resident, you know that you can't expect promptness every time, because people can't seem to read a map to save their lives. But you CAN give them a timeframe and stick to your guns.

leily Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:40pm
post #16 of 29

I also have an at home business. I have two dedicated pick up times (doesn't matter the day of the week) one in the morning and one in the late afternoon/early evening. If they want to pick it up on Thursday, Friday, or saturday they only have two times to choose from. RARELY do i have to schedule it outside of this time (and I've only done it for a couple of business owners who work 10-12 hour days and can only make it on Sundays - which i don't do pick-ups on sundays)
I also take care of my 1 and 2 year old along with this business, run my household, and have other apts outside of the home. These specific times are convient for someone who works 2nd or 3rd shift or someone who works 1st shift.
I always tell them "I have this time frame and this time frame available on that day for pick-up, Which time would you like to pick it up?"

katnmouse Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 1:07pm
post #17 of 29

If you need to add a cost buffer for credit card payment I would do so in order to be able to take the credit cards. Bump all your prices up by 3-4% to cover the credit card processing fee (this is a legitimate cost of doing business and should be reflected in your pricing structure anyway) or if you don't want to bump the prices across the board right now, simply add a note to your pricing policy that all cakes paid for with a credit card will have a xx% fee added on for card processing. That way the customers know that they have the option (and ease) of using their credit card it will just cost them a little more.

indydebi Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 1:17pm
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by leily

I always tell them "I have this time frame and this time frame available on that day for pick-up, Which time would you like to pick it up?"


People who are fabulous in sales know this technique very well! thumbs_up.gif

When I sold a skin care line (no, not Mary Kay, but something similar) and when I sold life insurance (no idea how I fell into THAT one! icon_eek.gif ), I could get my calendar filled in no time by asking, NOT 'do you want to have a skin care party?' but by asking, "Let's see when we can do your party .... I have Tuesday night and Sat morning open. which one works best for you?" And, "I'll be in your area with another insurance appt on Wednesday ... would it be better for me to come before my other appt, say around noon? Or after my other appt, say around 6:30?"

cakegirl1973 Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:09pm
post #19 of 29

I set a hard time for my pick-ups, rather than offering a time frame. I ask the client when they would like to pick-up the cake, either the morning or afternoon. Then, I set a hard time, much like an appointment. They always arrive a few minutes early or right on time. (Knock on wood that I have not just jinxed myself!)

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:24pm
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

I set a hard time for my pick-ups, rather than offering a time frame. I ask the client when they would like to pick-up the cake, either the morning or afternoon. Then, I set a hard time, much like an appointment. They always arrive a few minutes early or right on time. (Knock on wood that I have not just jinxed myself!)




I set a hard time too. Really I kind of do it all...I say, "What time do you need it by?" and then I say,"I will have it done by X time, (generally 4 hours or more before the time they say) you can get it after 10, when will you be here to pick it up?" and they say X o'clock, and I repeat it, "I'll see you at X o'clock!" And then they get here an hour past!

Maybe I should add something like, "I'll see you at X o'clock, please be on time, or ( "If you plan to be more than 15 minutes late") call to set up another time after Z o'clock"

I have a hard time being a hard-butt about anything pertaining to customers....I NEED business, or I can't pay my bills!

AnotherCaker Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:29pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

You may come to a point where the 3% is worth losing in order to get the prepayment and make it easier....


Oh heck yes.

indydebi Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:33pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I have a hard time being a hard-butt about anything pertaining to customers....I NEED business, or I can't pay my bills!


Saying this ahead of time: This is tongue-in-cheek humor!

"Yes, customer, you can walk all over me and inconvenience me all day long because I am but a lowly cake person with no life and will happily miss out on time with my family or talking to another bride to book another $600 worth of business because I don't want to make you mad about a silly little thing like consideration of others and being on time. I know what they say about being late is the worst form of inconsideration but since I am so DESPERATE to please everyone else and have an inability to stand up for myself and have no self-respect then you can pretty much call the shots and put me at your beck and call. Because I am but a lowly cake person who deserves no respect and has no idea how to control my own business so I just let others control it for me rather than take a stand and be assertive and in control of my own life!" icon_rolleyes.gif

Get my drift? icon_biggrin.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:42pm
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I have a hard time being a hard-butt about anything pertaining to customers....I NEED business, or I can't pay my bills!

Saying this ahead of time: This is tongue-in-cheek humor!

"Yes, customer, you can walk all over me and inconvenience me all day long because I am but a lowly cake person with no life and will happily miss out on time with my family or talking to another bride to book another $600 worth of business because I don't want to make you mad about a silly little thing like consideration of others and being on time. I know what they say about being late is the worst form of inconsideration but since I am so DESPERATE to please everyone else and have an inability to stand up for myself and have no self-respect then you can pretty much call the shots and put me at your beck and call. Because I am but a lowly cake person who deserves no respect and has no idea how to control my own business so I just let others control it for me rather than take a stand and be assertive and in control of my own life!" icon_rolleyes.gif

Get my drift? icon_biggrin.gif




I get your drift, but it isn't quite that bad, I mean, I flat out told someone last month that if the cake wasn't paid for by Friday, in cash,(it was 2 weeks before the wedding) that I would have to cancel the cake. And they brought it later that day!

AnotherCaker Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:44pm
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

It seems like here lately EVERY SINGLE person, barring 1 out of 2 dozen, has been at least one hour late picking up their cake. I am home based, so I guess they think I don't have anything to do all day but sit and wait for them. Saturday was waiting for the cake to get picked up so I could make lunch, and when they got here 1 1/2 hours late, we were starving! I have 4 kids and the 2 year old was in melt-down mode, hungry and tired.




Not quite that bad, eh? That sounds like the seventh level of Hell to me. icon_confused.gif

indydebi Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:45pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

.....that I would have to cancel the cake. And they brought it later that day!


YES! thumbs_up.gif Had to do that myself once for a catering. They kept wanting to change details and I said "The color of the chocolate in your fountain is the least of your worries. If I don't have a check in here by end of the day, I will not show up at yoru event." Got a phone call later in the day to arrange a check for the next morning.

vtcake Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 7:57pm
post #26 of 29

I'm most bothered by the fact you made your little kids wait 1.5 hrs to have lunch. You said you're home based, so I don't see the reason you couldn't have gone about your daily routine and feed your children.

If they'd come to get the cake while you were doing something, you could've asked THEM to wait till you were done.

Lcubed82 Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 10:15pm
post #27 of 29

"if you don't want to bump the prices across the board right now, simply add a note to your pricing policy that all cakes paid for with a credit card will have a xx% fee added on for card processing. "

This used to be illegal. Please check before choosing this option.

johnson6ofus Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 10:48pm
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

I set a hard time for my pick-ups, rather than offering a time frame. I ask the client when they would like to pick-up the cake, either the morning or afternoon. Then, I set a hard time, much like an appointment. They always arrive a few minutes early or right on time. (Knock on wood that I have not just jinxed myself!)



I set a hard time too. Really I kind of do it all...I say, "What time do you need it by?" and then I say,"I will have it done by X time, (generally 4 hours or more before the time they say) you can get it after 10, when will you be here to pick it up?" and they say X o'clock, and I repeat it, "I'll see you at X o'clock!" And then they get here an hour past!

Maybe I should add something like, "I'll see you at X o'clock, please be on time, or ( "If you plan to be more than 15 minutes late") call to set up another time after Z o'clock"

I have a hard time being a hard-butt about anything pertaining to customers....I NEED business, or I can't pay my bills!




I think people are just assuming that you are available. Making it more like an "appointment" that you are fitting into your schedule and appointment book will generate better results.

Maybe just simplifying to, "What time can you be here to pick it up?" Answer- "Yes, that will be fine and I will expect you at that time. Please call ahead to reschedule if something comes up, because I have now written you in my calendar for that time and I cannot guarantee that I will be here at other times"
-OR-
Answer- "No, I'm sorry xx o'clock will not work for me, but xx O'clock will. Is that OK in your schedule? Fine? Please call ahead to reschedule if something comes up, because I have now written you in my calendar for that time and I cannot guarantee that I will be here at other times"

And by all means, if they "miss" the appointed time, feel free to make them wait while you feed the kids, bathe the kids, or whatever your life is doing.

Annabakescakes Posted 14 Jun 2011 , 12:20am
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtcake

I'm most bothered by the fact you made your little kids wait 1.5 hrs to have lunch. You said you're home based, so I don't see the reason you couldn't have gone about your daily routine and feed your children.

If they'd come to get the cake while you were doing something, you could've asked THEM to wait till you were done.




Uh, slow your row, I was expecting them any minute for an hour and half, and we were going to grill out by the pool, where I can't hear the door bell. As if it is your business, I'm more disturbed by the fact that you freaking care, and are willing to cast stones at people over the internet, when you have no clue what happened.

The kids weren't going to starve to death, I think that takes 2 to 3 weeks. They had breakfast at 10, since it is summer and they were up late, so they slept late. I still planned on lunch at noon, because my boys are starting to eat more. I gave the boys hot pockets, and my daughter had a turkey sandwich, and the 2 year old had a PB&Honey after we waited an hour, which was only 12:30. And when I finally made lunch, at 1:30, they had about 5 bites before they said they were full. The 2 year old ate mac and cheese and laid his head down on his tray. My husband and I were the only ones that waited to eat, so we are the only ones that ate so I served it for dinner.

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