I had a guy contact me by email needing a birthday cake for his girlfriend's birthday on Sunday... No big deal it's just a simple sheet cake. So I call him to finalize the order and we have it set for him to pick up on Sunday between 5 and 6pm. He shows up on Saturday at 5 wanting to pick up the cake(which happens to just com out of the oven) I tell him the order and email says the 25th. He says "No for today, her birthday is tomorrow". So I ask him to come back in 1 hour and I will have the cake ready, he says okay, be back in 1 hour.
I get the cake done and call him to let him know..it goes to voice mail after 4 rings, I leave message. 2hrs later still no show, I call again it goes to voice mail after 2 rings. 2.5hrs later it goes to voice mail immediately.
Call him the next morning to see if he still wants it... voice mail 2nd ring. Sounds like he is avoiding me at this point.
Sorry this happened to you.
I always get a deposit - even for a lower value cake, as it makes people think twice about not turning up (and then, if they don't, at least your outlay on ingredients is covered).
Also, if it's a late order and there's no time for an order form (again, I do order forms for EVERYTHING) I will fill out the order form, email it to them as a PDF document (so they can't change it) and then get them to email back their confirmation that all the details are correct.
Doesn't help you this time, but I hope it might help avoid something similar in the future.
I had something similar happen in the past and believe me, even if it is only one cake it is one too many. I no longer take orders from anyone I don't know without having a 50% deposit first. I though maybe people would balk at 50% of a cake that was not 100's of dollars but they were fine. If the don't want to pay it then they probably would not pick it up, like this client.
Sounds like he no longer needs the cake and since he didn't pay you any money for it...who cares...Sorry you got used....I would have said forget it when he called..I day notice...Yah...NO
I do do quite a few short notice orders. Nothing less than 24 hours! Though I did do one small wedding cake with only 14 hrs notice. That turned out wonderful and was a huge surprise for the bride! Picture of it is in my gallery.
I like the idea of sending them a PDF for them to sign. I actually have a wedding cake that was ordered over the phone and they mailed me a deposit for it. I was getting ready to mail them a copy of the order but this sounds faster.
Their loss for not showing! Now I get to share yummy cake with family and friends. The last one who didn't show I just gave the cake to a local church having a function that day.. Ended up getting business from it in the end!
My policy is payment in full in advance. I don't even put it on the calendar until it is paid. Anyone can get a Square and take the payment on the phone. In this electronic age, it would be a good idea to change your policies to include prepayment. With the internet and many companies adopting this policy, people who are serious about a purchase don't mind paying in advance.
In my old days in sales, we knew that the deal wasn't complete without the signature and payment. I know many bakers just try to be nice and accomodating, but it would be easier to just not count the sale and make your plans until the transaction is paid. This goes for larger orders too. Once there is not enough time to complete the order or you have other orders in place for that day, you just have to turn down the last minute order, including those who have had ample time and warning about deadlines.
For the above customer, one of you had the date wrong (and it was probably him). Without an order, it could be either of you. He was mad because the cake was not ready on the day he believed he gave and had no intention of making another trip to pick up the cake that he believed was late.
Sometimes it's our mistakes, customer misunderstandings, or any problem that comes up, that call for a revamping of our business protocols. At least you know that you won't let this one happen again. This is how we grow our businesses... the hard way.
Definitely stop turning your oven on until you've been paid in full. People are much more motivated to pick their cakes up when they've paid for them already! Also tell clients that they need to be there between this and that time becaue you'll be leaveing after that and you'll have to leave the cake on your front steps in a box. And there are a lot of dogs in your neighborhood and you can't vouch for them not eating the cake.
All clients pay at least $100 immediately upon booking, or its not booked. At LEAST $100. They can choose to pay the full cake price if they prefer, or the balance in cash upon pick up.
Wedding cakes are booked with $100 with the remaining balance paid no later than one month before the wedding.
Late notice orders are paid 100% in full immediately.
This works for me.