Made A Cake, Cannot Get Ahold Of Client For Payment/delivery

Decorating By FondantDreams Updated 31 Oct 2011 , 4:44am by Bridgette1129

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 4:20pm
post #1 of 39

What do you do? Do you have them pre-pay or pay upon delivery? I understand we had a freak snowstorm yesterday and she said she couldn't pick it up so I responded back that if she needed it last evening that I wasn't afraid to travel out; I have a big vehicle capable of maneuvering in the snow. I also asked if she were coming by Sunday (today) to pick it up and I got no response and here I sit with a cake I freaked out trying to get done in time yesterday. Total stresser to find out she wasn't even coming! Now I am thinking that she had planned a party that is now cancelled and she no longer needs the cake!!! I'm stuck with it if so! Out the time and out the money and a cake we don't want nor need.

Sorry to vent, what should I do in the future?

38 replies
LisaPeps Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 4:33pm
post #2 of 39

Deposit to book the date, full payment two weeks prior to delivery (one week prior only if paying with cash, two weeks allows for cashing cheques). Last minute orders - payment at time of ordering cash only.

LisaPeps Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 4:35pm
post #3 of 39

Deposit to book the date, full payment two weeks prior to delivery (one week prior only if paying with cash, two weeks allows for cashing cheques). Last minute orders - payment at time of ordering cash only.

BizCoCos Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 5:06pm
post #4 of 39

Sorry this happened to you, I understand you can't force her to pay you, but she still owes you the money. Follow poster's advice in future about 50% deposit and final payment 2 weeks ahead. Call her again.

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 5:49pm
post #5 of 39

Never ever allow a customer to pay after you make it. Where's the motivation to make sure they are on time? What if they decide 2 hours before party, oh we'll just get a sheet cake. No freaking way would I ever ever ever consider allowing a customer to pay at delivery. No. Way.

cakegirl1973 Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 5:53pm
post #6 of 39

I required a 50% deposit with payment due in cash (didn't want to deal with bounced checks) at the time of delivery. Most people paid the full amount up-front, though. At any rate, if you collect at least 50% up-front, you will at least have the money to cover the cost of ingredients plus a little extra.

It sounds like you are right--that the party was cancelled due the weather. This should be her problem, not yours, though. In the future, get a deposit up-front.

QTCakes1 Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:05pm
post #7 of 39

Are you sure she isn't just dealing with the snowstorm? From what I've heard on the news a lot of people are out of power. If that was me, and not saying I wouldn't be paying you, but the cake and the cake person would be the last people I would be bothered with in a snowstorm with no power. I would be trying to figure out how I'm going to keep warm.

jason_kraft Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:07pm
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Never ever allow a customer to pay after you make it. Where's the motivation to make sure they are on time? What if they decide 2 hours before party, oh we'll just get a sheet cake. No freaking way would I ever ever ever consider allowing a customer to pay at delivery. No. Way.



For orders over $200 we require 50% deposit up front and the remainder 2 weeks before the event, but for smaller orders (which is most of our business) we allow customers to pay on delivery or when they pick up by cash or check.

We've been in business for 3 years and have had 750+ orders, and there have only been two occasions of non-payment: one of our first customers said they would mail a check after they picked up (they didn't) and another customer ended up cancelling the party and never picked up the cake.

IIRC there have been 4 bounced checks, but in all cases the customers paid their balance with cash plus the NSF fee.

MimiFix Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:09pm
post #9 of 39

For future business you must have a deposit or (preferable) full payment before starting any order. For large orders that require your full attention (custom or wedding cakes, etc) you need a deposit to hold the date. Otherwise you'll be in this situation again. I've been in the food business for more than thirty years. Trust me: most customers are only thinking about themselves. You need to think about you.

step0nmi Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:16pm
post #10 of 39

obviously she was canceling her order...you didn't need to finish the cake unfortunately icon_sad.gif

what everyone else has said. i loose orders because people don't want to pay up front/deposit, FINE BY ME! because you were gonna try and stiff me and I'm not havin' in!

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:17pm
post #11 of 39

To clarify about the storm, our area didn't get hit that hard and as far as I know (news and such) no power was out for more than a few minutes or more and all power is back on. It's at least 50 degrees out so I'm not thinking she is trying to stay warm.

I tried to contact her once more and later this evening I will offer it to somebody else in our area in hopes they want a last minute Halloween cake.

Thank you all for your advice, I will put it to use and take this as a learning curve.

MimiFix Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:20pm
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

Are you sure she isn't just dealing with the snowstorm? From what I've heard on the news a lot of people are out of power. If that was me, and not saying I wouldn't be paying you, but the cake and the cake person would be the last people I would be bothered with in a snowstorm with no power. I would be trying to figure out how I'm going to keep warm.




I live in the middle of snowstorm country. Almost everyone owns a cell phone. Sorry, I think it's just common courtesy to make a quick call. Like I wrote, most customers are thinking about themselves. For future business, get a deposit or full payment beforehand. Snowstorms happen...

mariacakestoo Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:37pm
post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Never ever allow a customer to pay after you make it. Where's the motivation to make sure they are on time? What if they decide 2 hours before party, oh we'll just get a sheet cake. No freaking way would I ever ever ever consider allowing a customer to pay at delivery. No. Way.


For orders over $200 we require 50% deposit up front and the remainder 2 weeks before the event, but for smaller orders (which is most of our business) we allow customers to pay on delivery or when they pick up by cash or check.

We've been in business for 3 years and have had 750+ orders, and there have only been two occasions of non-payment: one of our first customers said they would mail a check after they picked up (they didn't) and another customer ended up cancelling the party and never picked up the cake.

IIRC there have been 4 bounced checks, but in all cases the customers paid their balance with cash plus the NSF fee.



That's good for you, great! When my average order is over $300 and it's just me in this business, which I suspect is OP's case too, this just isn't a good idea.

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:38pm
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

Are you sure she isn't just dealing with the snowstorm? From what I've heard on the news a lot of people are out of power. If that was me, and not saying I wouldn't be paying you, but the cake and the cake person would be the last people I would be bothered with in a snowstorm with no power. I would be trying to figure out how I'm going to keep warm.



I live in the middle of snowstorm country. Almost everyone owns a cell phone. Sorry, I think it's just common courtesy to make a quick call. Like I wrote, most customers are thinking about themselves. For future business, get a deposit or full payment beforehand. Snowstorms happen...




I was thinking the same thing, everytime she e-mailed me she did it with her Android. I e-mailed her to let her know that tonight it will be offered to another.

MimiFix Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 6:46pm
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

I e-mailed her to let her know that tonight it will be offered to another.




Now she thinks she's off the hook. She assumes you'll just sell it and no harm done on her part. Please remember that for all future business: if you institute some rules you won't have this kind of aggravation again.

TejasRebel Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:00pm
post #16 of 39

My two cents: Call her. Not email, not text. Call her.

If you have to give the cake away, most local fire stations would love to have a free cake.

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:04pm
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

I e-mailed her to let her know that tonight it will be offered to another.



Now she thinks she's off the hook. She assumes you'll just sell it and no harm done on her part. Please remember that for all future business: if you institute some rules you won't have this kind of aggravation again.




Ah dang, you are right! Lesson learned and I guess I ought to just start finding somebody else right now. I hate that I will be losing money on this!!! How would you make the terms? I need some pointers icon_smile.gif

MimiFix Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:27pm
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

I e-mailed her to let her know that tonight it will be offered to another.



Now she thinks she's off the hook. She assumes you'll just sell it and no harm done on her part. Please remember that for all future business: if you institute some rules you won't have this kind of aggravation again.



Ah dang, you are right! Lesson learned and I guess I ought to just start finding somebody else right now. I hate that I will be losing money on this!!! How would you make the terms? I need some pointers icon_smile.gif




We all have to learn so just consider this is your initiation. Be glad you didn't get stuck with a $600 wedding cake. I'm sure there are many threads on CC about basic contracts. Read through and take notes.

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:35pm
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiFix

Quote:
Originally Posted by FondantDreams

I e-mailed her to let her know that tonight it will be offered to another.



Now she thinks she's off the hook. She assumes you'll just sell it and no harm done on her part. Please remember that for all future business: if you institute some rules you won't have this kind of aggravation again.



Ah dang, you are right! Lesson learned and I guess I ought to just start finding somebody else right now. I hate that I will be losing money on this!!! How would you make the terms? I need some pointers icon_smile.gif



We all have to learn so just consider this is your initiation. Be glad you didn't get stuck with a $600 wedding cake. I'm sure there are many threads on CC about basic contracts. Read through and take notes.




I certainly will, thank you. thumbs_up.gif

LKing12 Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:56pm
post #20 of 39

If I take a phone order, I ask them if they want to bring by the payment in the next two days, or do they want me to invoice them through Paypal?

FondantDreams Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 7:58pm
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by LKing12

If I take a phone order, I ask them if they want to bring by the payment in the next two days, or do they want me to invoice them through Paypal?




I was thinking Paypal too, good advice!

sugarlover Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 8:24pm
post #22 of 39

Definitely make sure in the future all your cakes are paid for in advance. Then you won't be out of money and time. Once they have paid then they are obligated to come and pick up their cake because they paid for it.

Dyyanna Posted 30 Oct 2011 , 8:44pm
post #23 of 39

We must remember first and foremost we are in business. As such, we must always cover ourselves. I live in a large metroplex and would never begin a cake without some investment from customer, whether 1/2 payment upfront or full payment.

In all cases funds are due before I begin any cake. Don't be afraid to ask for your money upfront. You are investing your time, talent and resources to give your clients that customized cake they cannot get anywhere else.

dldbrou Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 12:14am
post #24 of 39

I would not even turn on my oven until I had the ingredients paid for in advance. Then if they are paying at pick up, it is cash only.

Is there a homeless shelter, fire station, or Nursing Home that could use the cake and you might be able to write it off as a donation.

DDiva Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:21am
post #25 of 39

February will be 14 years in business. Full payment is due at the time the order is placed. Exceptions: orders over $300 and then the balance is due three weeks before the event date. No refunds if order is cancelled within one week of the event. All orders are subject to 50% non refundable deposit. As another poster wrote: your customer has to have something invested. This is business. There have to be rules. Without them there is chaos. If you order a computer from Dell, you pay in full before you ever see the box. Why should custom cake art be different? Snowstorms happen, but if the cake is paid for, it's THEIR cake. And it's theirs with a time limit to get it (I have no long term storage). However, I have delivered in snow, and or ice (if the party is still scheduled, we'll get it there). There is no way I'd make those efforts hoping to get paid at the time of delivery. I love what I do, and I love my customers. In order for the love fest to go on, I have to be paid.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:28am
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by DDiva

If you order a computer from Dell, you pay in full before you ever see the box. Why should custom cake art be different?



Interesting you mention Dell. When you buy a computer online from Dell, they build it according to your specifications, and you are only charged after the computer is built and shipped, not when you first place the order.

mariacakestoo Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:31am
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDiva

If you order a computer from Dell, you pay in full before you ever see the box. Why should custom cake art be different?


Interesting you mention Dell. When you buy a computer online from Dell, they build it according to your specifications, and you are only charged after the computer is built and shipped, not when you first place the order.



Again. Dell has billions of dollars. What's your point?

RheaCakeQueen Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:37am
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

When you buy a computer online from Dell, they build it according to your specifications, and you are only charged after the computer is built and shipped, not when you first place the order.




Yeah, but two things, they have your CC info and can charge you, and if you back out, they can still re-sell the computer. Computers don't go bad and are not (that) time sensitive icon_wink.gif

jason_kraft Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:46am
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariacakestoo

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by DDiva

If you order a computer from Dell, you pay in full before you ever see the box. Why should custom cake art be different?


Interesting you mention Dell. When you buy a computer online from Dell, they build it according to your specifications, and you are only charged after the computer is built and shipped, not when you first place the order.

Again. Dell has billions of dollars. What's your point?



Dell's revenue is irrelevant, small online retailers who sell custom-built PCs follow the same policy of only charging the customer when the item is shipped.

IMO it is a best practice to conform to the expectations customers have when purchasing similar products from other retailers. If you are selling small, relatively simple cakes and competing with local bakeries where customers pay on pickup, you might lose business if you require up-front payment. For larger custom orders like tiered cakes, the industry standard is paying in advance, so requiring an upfront deposit wouldn't be an issue there.

I just think the perceived incidence of non-payment in general is much higher than reality.

jason_kraft Posted 31 Oct 2011 , 1:51am
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RheaCakeQueen

Yeah, but two things, they have your CC info and can charge you, and if you back out, they can still re-sell the computer. Computers don't go bad and are not (that) time sensitive icon_wink.gif



Cakes can also be re-sold. The one time a customer did not pick up their cake, we refrosted the top, stuck it in the freezer, and sold it a few weeks later (by offering that specific flavor combination as a "special").

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