Friend Complained About Everything To Get A Discount

Decorating By dionnesee Updated 9 Oct 2011 , 6:21am by CCupcakez

dionnesee Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 6:37am
post #1 of 22

This week I prepared a sweet table for a very good friend. When she first asked me to do the sweet table I asked her what was her budget, and told her I could do the cake and cupcakes for $50.00 ( I did the wilton house and 2 dozen matching cupcakes), she told me no i don't have a budget this is your business so I will pay what you charge, I just want it nice and very pretty. at the last min. she also requested the chocolate fountain(I use wilton fountain and chocolate melts), and she also wanted me to cook a side dish for guest. when I contacted her a few days later to ask if she decided on a color scheme she said she hired an interior designer that decided on green and black, and that she could design my sweet table. I told her I set up my own cakes and displays, so that was the end of that conversation. For the house warming I did the house cake decorated with fondant accessories and the cup cakes decorated with fondant also. I did a 6 jar candy buffet( 47.00 worth of candy), and the chocolate fountain with the sweets to dip in the fountain.(all this plus the side dish) for $95+ supplies During the house warming I received so many compliments on how pretty everything turned out. When i went for payment she asked if she could pay me the next day. I called her twice the next day and she said everything was perfect but I didn't like the texture of the cake, and cupcakes I explained to her the cake batter was firm so that the house would stand, and people was eating the cupcakes-(I did figure out my oven wasn't working properly). I had a cupcake myself(firm texturecould have been more moist but eatable). I took 20 dollars off the cake, then she said she didn't expect to pay for the extra item such cake plates, table cloth,etc. cause she already brought these item, but she did not let me know. Then she went on to say the guest did not any of the candy and we discussed $50.00, the total after adding in the fountain chocolate 2bags(16.00 per bag) and the stuff to make the side dish her total was $150. needless to say I spent more than I profit. I took 55.00 off the price and gave her a 50% off her next cake coupon since the cake was so terrible to her. I feel like I was taken,and she went over budget with the interior designer and had to recup some of her money from somewhere. I told her that I will deduct if she give me her extra table cloths and small cake plates and the candy back, when she brought me the paymeny she says she forgot the box with the supplies she was going to return to me at home. I guess I am just bitter because I put a lot of time, and money into this project. I understand about the cake, but she told me no budget whatever I charge and to make it as pretty. Now I did tell her up front how expensive the chocolate would be. Should I have handled this different? I do have contracts, but it was such short notice (6days) and we have been close friends our whole lives.

21 replies
myslady Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 7:46am
post #2 of 22

It does seem like she took advantage of you. These are the things I think you should have done differently:

Even though you have been friends for a long time, if you are operating as a business you should still have a contract. The contract should have in it who is to provide the extra items and what it consists of e.g. serves up to 25 guests, incudes plates, napkins, etc. tablecloths can be provided...

After you discussed the initial $50 for the cake, you didn't give her any pricing for the candy portion of the table. She probably didn't consider how much candy really costs which is why she kept adding on.

I feel she did deserve compensation for her cake based on your post that you found out something was wrong with your oven. In your process you gave her 40% off her current order and a coupon for 50% off a future order. Overall in business you should try and make the customer happy, but I don't think I would have given her that much. You've pretty much given her an almost free cake if she chooses to use the 50% off coupon.

If she does bring you the box with the extra items, I would also ask for the reciept for them. No since in keeping things you may not use again and losing additional money.

Other than that, live and learn. This has been a learning experience for you, I would take it in stride and move forward with life. If she has been a close friend, no since in ruining a friendship over it.

CakeRN Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 9:13am
post #3 of 22

She does not sound like a friend to me. I would tell her flat out that she took advantage of you and just how much you spent for HER party. I would refuse to do another cake for her friend or no friend. FRIENDS do not treat you like this.
Always have a contract and always get paid before you finish and deliver anything. Once you give it to them and you don't have payment prior then YOU have to chase after them for you money. Do you think when they go buy a car they let them take it with the promise of payment maybe later? Can they walk out of the store with a dress and not pay for it...NO..all other businesses get their money before it leaves the premises. Why do cake decorators think their business is any less important? You either have a business you intend on making money or you are running a charity for friends. Which is it?

MimiFix Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 11:20am
post #4 of 22

Sorry for all that aggravation. I agree with CakeRN, she is not a friend. A friend would not treat another friend the way you described. Contracts are important since they clarify the agreement and can help clear up any future disputes. For me, the only person who does not need a contract is my husband.

LKing12 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:07pm
post #5 of 22

I have to agree on the friend part. A true friend would not have picked apart every aspect of this deal. If I felt the need to give her a discount, I would not have given a coupon for future orders-one or the other, but not both.
If there was no time for a contract, a detailed email about what would and would not be provided might have helped. She could have taken the supplies back that she bought, or used them again.
And, don't hold your breath about getting the extra supplies back, they have entered a deep dark void called no return.

infinitsky Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:36pm
post #6 of 22
Originally Posted by CakeRN

She does not sound like a friend to me...

The first thing that came to my mind as I read your question (before rerading the description).

Karen421 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:37pm
post #7 of 22

Sorry, but she doesn't sound like a real friend! What's done is done, but I would not do any further cakes for her, unless it is full price, up front! If it were me, she would be on the "no cake for you" list! icon_smile.gif

MamaDear Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:51pm
post #8 of 22

Sounds to me like her "Wanna Bees" overcame her "Reality Bees" and she got carried away with what she wanted then stung you when it eclipsed her budget. I have had MANY experiences like that because I am a giving person. I suggest you go to her house and get the leftover stuff and then mark her off your "Friendly Baker Bee List" and from now on out, she would be treated like a normal person when it comes to using your talents and kindess... cash first and only basis. Besides if the cake wasn't perfect, I would say you well compensated for that with all the other stuff you brought and got stuck with paying for.

Sorry you got stung, I well know what it's like and how disheartening it can be for someone you know and trust to do that. Happy Caking!

TexasSugar Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 2:33pm
post #9 of 22

Friend or not, price and budget should always be discussed before hand. Even if they say budget doesn't matter, their idea of pricing could totally be different than yours.

I don't deal with contracts, because 99% of my cakes are done for close family or friends, and they are awesome about everything. I do let them know ahead of time, the cost of the cake though, so there is no shock there at all.

In the future I would list out every service you are providing and the cost of it. If it is all more than they are willing to spend, then together you can figure out what to cut out so that you can get in a price range to fit their needs.

Also always get money up front in situations like this.

QTCakes1 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 22

This may not be the popular response, but when in business, we have to be business like, even dealing with "friends". I think you allowed yourself to be taken adavantage of. Though price should always be settled up front, you knew your cost, but chose to keep discounting until you were in the hole. She could have complained all she wanted, but I would have mentioned all the cost and got them back. You even through in a coupon for a future order. icon_confused.gif Lesson learned I hope on your part.

diane Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 5:17pm
post #11 of 22

I have heard this time and again. The cake decorator fulfills her part and then the customer tries to get a discount, or not pay at all. Even though she is/was a friend, you need to always get a deposit up front, have the customer provide things that are not related to the cake (napkins, plates,etc.) and have a signed contract.

If you don''s often more difficult to re-coop your money from a friend because friends expect you to do more!

Mexx Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 5:39pm
post #12 of 22

Just asking....why is it that folks on this site are always respectful of friendships, but the so-called friends are quick to take advantage?

Cakewishes Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 6:02pm
post #13 of 22

Mexx - I can tell you why. . . because we love what we do and when we start out in this business, we want to be able to share it with our family and friends. We want to express how we feel through cake and even show off our skills and what we are learning. So we "give it up" for less than what we should or in family instances free. What ends up happening is that these folks in our lives whether purposefully or not start expecting the stars and the moon at no cost to them and some of us because we have the hearts that we do or perhaps, like me, for some unknown idiotic reason feel bad for charging get taken advantage of and end up getting hurt. For examply - one of my own personal experiences. . . . I have always done my goddaughter's cakes - from the moment I started doing cakes several years ago and I never charged because I figured that she was my goddaughter and I just didn't feel right. Not so long ago, I was going on a vacation and my cousin - my gd's mom, only a short time before I was to go away contacted me to do her communion cake for her communion party, which would be only a few days after I got back from vacation. I advised her that I couldn't do an elaborate cake as I always have but I could make a really pretty small cake with matching floral cupcakes. She did not want that; she felt it was too childish for a communion and asked if I could do a bible, with rosary, cross, etc. I told her with I could not do that particular type of cake because of time constraints but that what I had in mind would be really nice. I also went on to tell her that if she really was not happy with my suggestion and she wanted to go to a bakery to get what she wanted, I would completely understand because I did not want her not to have for her daughter what she really wanted just because I couldn't do it. She agreed she would just go to a local bakery to get her bible themed. cake. Fast forward to the communion reception and when I got there, the cake she had was a sheet cake - a very pretty sheet cake, with some gumpaste flowers, but a sheet cake nonetheless I thought to myself - hmm, interesting but then just proceeded to enjoy the party. Right before they cut the cake, they took pictures of my gd and her parents and other family members in front of the cake, but they never called me into the pic. They then cut the cake and proceeded to serve it; as folks were starting to eat the cake, they decided to make an announcement that the cake they were about to eat had been made by a very well known cake artist who has a show on tv. Why they felt the need to make that announcement, I do not know - especially when everyone at the party knew that I made specialty cakes and they knew that I have in the past made all of the cakes for my gd. I have to say it hurt me very much. 1) because I wasn't sure if they did it to turn their nose up at me and 2) the cake she got was not what she wanted. I could have made a sheet cake - heck, that would have been easier than my cake and matching cupcake idea. Anyway, I apologize for the long story, but the end result is that I have decided because of that and a few other experiences that I have encountered, I will no longer do cakes for family. So I do understand the OP's intent in wanting to be there for a friend and then ended up getting hurt and taken for granted.

Ursula40 Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 11:24pm
post #14 of 22

She had money for the interior designer, but no money for the supplies you used? I can do without friends like that.

vtcake Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 5:36pm
post #15 of 22

Just a very very friendly reminder to use paragraphs.

My eyes can't focus on long winded paragraphs so I skip over those posts.

I'm glad others could help you out.

cakegrandma Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 6:04pm
post #16 of 22
Originally Posted by vtcake

Just a very very friendly reminder to use paragraphs.

My eyes can't focus on long winded paragraphs so I skip over those posts.

I'm glad others could help you out.

I second that, very difficult to read.
Thank you,

pinklatte Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 6:30pm
post #17 of 22

That does not sound very friend-like. Maybe next time settle on a definite price and who buys what.

BizCoCos Posted 5 Oct 2011 , 6:32pm
post #18 of 22

These stories are so common on CC, both the OP and the godmother story are just plain awful. I believe that the friend was getting such a deal already!!!!! on price a little dry can be forgiven. Walk away. It is not that easy to walk away from family. A price list is great even for family, even if you don't charge them, they can see what your cakes are worth. Try to put this behind you, although it canbe hard to do, .even I have visions of choking the cousin.

costumeczar Posted 8 Oct 2011 , 1:16am
post #19 of 22

She's not a friend. icon_evil.gif

CakeRN Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 1:10am
post #20 of 22

So what was the final outcome of this? Did you tell her or did you just cave ?

jules5000 Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 1:40am
post #21 of 22

Dionnesee? : THis is what I would do: #1 she told you that what ever you charged for your services was what she would pay you. YOu gave her a $20. discount because even you could see that there was an issue with Dryness? because your ovens weren't functioning properly. BUt when she added all the other stuff in you told her what the price was on those items. jUst because the people did not eat them did not mean she doesn't pay you. I would write her a letter and let her know that feel that as a friend you took off $20.00 for the cake issue and you did not have a problem with that, but that as a friend you feel that she complained about everything just to get you to take more off and that is taking friendship for granite. You are in a business and that if someone orders something from you that doesn't get eaten they don't bring it back to you. If they don't want it themselves they find a way of disposing with it, you still get paid because you did the job you were hired for, but she is the one that planned poorly. if she had the money to hire a decorator for this party then she has the money to pay you what you agreed on. If she values your friend ship then she will pay you what was agreed on at the beginning and when she added the other items-$20.00. If she does not value your friendship then all you can do is write it off as a bad experience and one you will learn from. You can also tell her that if she wants you to do any more work for her in the future there will be a signed contract and half the cost as deposit and the other due when you deliver the cake. I would make a copy of the letter and keep one for yourself.
Best wishes.

CCupcakez Posted 9 Oct 2011 , 6:21am
post #22 of 22

ASAC ASAP = Always Sign A Contract As Soon As Possible

Contracts AND deposits protect everyone involved & ensures that your client understands their financial responsibilities. No matter what the notice is, whether it be 6 months, 6 days or 6 hours you MUST have a contract signed, dated and filed because you never know. You have to protect your business & your craft even against fam/friends.

Also, your "friend" could also talk to other people about the incident. WOM (word of mouth) starts, helps and ends businesses all the time. She could tell people that you were amazing OR she could tell people that you're unprofessional and cave easily. She may even tell others about the discounts that you gave her when she complained & who know's how many more times this might happen to you.

Put your foot down every time from here own out and you'll be fine. Just make sure you have all your cupcakes in a row =]

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