ApelilaRains Posted 25 Jun 2012 , 11:28pm

I'm sure everyone had one of these experiences one time or another. But I had two.....I received 2 inquiries for cake orders and I explained to the potential customers that the phone consultation does NOT confirm your cake order and deposit is needed OR full payment.

In some cases I would follow up if I had some time on my calendar. However I recently received emails asking where their order was the DAY of or the day after their requested date.

My policy does state that orders are not confirmed or reserved without some type of payment or deposit....One customer called me (literally) 50 times on the day she wanted the cake because she spoke to me about the decorations and blamed me for messing up her sons birthday party.

There were no communication for several weeks and then the day of, she was expecting 60 cupcakes with special hand made fondant toppers.

Oh, and they both wanted some type of credit too..... icon_confused.gif

Does anyone have any advise to avoid any further "miscommunication"?

32 replies
Jenise Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 1:17am

Is your policy posted on your website? Or do you follow up the calls with any type of email? I'm not even sure that this would help these crazy women, I don't think you can call in an order for a cake at a grocery store anymore. But the follow up with the information in BOLD might help and also very big disclaimer on you website. I just don't get some people, poor planning on their part just does not constitute an emergency for me! Also, sounds like people looking for freebies, which I hate unless they are deserved.

auntginn Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 1:58am

I agree with Jenise. I let my customers know that Only a signed contract and deposit guarantees a cake. Nothing to discuss. If they want to order by phone then I would take their credit card number and let them know I will be charging them for cake and email them the contract, which they will have 48hrs to sign & return.

Those customers let the ball slip and want to make you feel guilty for it. Hold your head up, NOT your fault.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 2:27am

I prefer telling the customer their order has been placed, then if they don't submit the deposit within the agreed upon time I send a message indicating their order has been cancelled.

auntginn Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 2:31am

Nicely put Jason

ApelilaRains Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:39am

This is what I have written:

"Geelicious Confections makes specialty cakes and cupcakes for all occasion. If you are interested in our services, please fill out the form below for a no-obligation quote, or feel free to call us to discuss your options.

Please note that this request does not guarantee availability. Orders are not reserved until a deposit is received. "

BakingIrene Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:55am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApelilaRains

This is what I have written:

"Geelicious Confections makes specialty cakes and cupcakes for all occasion. If you are interested in our services, please fill out the form below for a no-obligation quote, or feel free to call us to discuss your options.

Please note that this request does not guarantee availability. Orders are not reserved until a deposit is received. "




You might add, under that, "This means no payee no cakee icon_wink.gif"

Make sure you email this to anybody who calls you and cc yourself. That way you have proof that you sent the written statement so they can't come after you demanding a "credit" or "refund" when they failed to enter into the binding contract.

Your phone message should say "Hi you have reached Geelicious Confections. I'm busy baking up some cakes. Please leave a message and I will return it as soon as I can" and use the voicemail ALL THE TIME. You let somebody talk to you 50 times in one day, you are sending the message that you don't have any work that day.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:58am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Your phone message should say "Hi you have reached Geelicious Confections. I'm busy baking up some cakes. Please leave a message and I will return it as soon as I can" and use the voicemail ALL THE TIME. You let somebody talk to you 50 times in one day, you are sending the message that you don't have any work that day.



This. You can get a free phone number with Google Voice that redirects to one or more numbers of your choosing, and you can set it to go directly to voice mail on a specific schedule or all the time.

ApelilaRains Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 4:00am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApelilaRains

This is what I have written:

"Geelicious Confections makes specialty cakes and cupcakes for all occasion. If you are interested in our services, please fill out the form below for a no-obligation quote, or feel free to call us to discuss your options.

Please note that this request does not guarantee availability. Orders are not reserved until a deposit is received. "



You might add, under that, "This means no payee no cakee icon_wink.gif"

Make sure you email this to anybody who calls you and cc yourself. That way you have proof that you sent the written statement so they can't come after you demanding a "credit" or "refund" when they failed to enter into the binding contract.

Your phone message should say "Hi you have reached Geelicious Confections. I'm busy baking up some cakes. Please leave a message and I will return it as soon as I can" and use the voicemail ALL THE TIME. You let somebody talk to you 50 times in one day, you are sending the message that you don't have any work that day.







GREAT IDEA on the voicemail. Thank you! Also thank you all for your recommendations, I will utilize ALL of them!!

thebittersweetbakehouse Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:09pm

i've been baking cakes for business for a few months now (and i know you'll all crucify me...) but i've never known how to bring up the conversation of contract or deposit....i've received every payment on delivery or collection.....

I have a lot of contact with the clients right up until the day discussing design options etc....but i think i am perhaps setting myself up for a disaster after reading your replies....whoops. Too trusting? thumbsdown.gif

Pearl645 Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:28pm

Looks like I need a new voicemail today! I have customers who call and call and call repeatedly just for one order and it's not even a wedding cake. Yesterday I had a customer emailing me constantly on changes to her birthday cake. I have a blackberry so I make use of that for answering business emails faster than coming onto my pc but I can't help but wonder how to control 50 emails with just one customer. I thought that if I wrote back once a day to them that it would take a whole week to finalize the cake order and the cake is due sometimes a week and a half away. I realize people can be indecisive with their cake design and colours so I have a back and forth going with emails daily with different customers to get them to finalize their order. I don't have an assistant yet to respond to my emails.

BakingIrene Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 3:44pm

If you write out your policy for making changes, you can hand that out as a receipt for the deposit that has to confirm every order.

Some places charge extra for changes made too close to a party. That is written into the contract. Timing depends on size of party and your local market.

You can set up your email to auto-answer during the day, same sort of message as the voicemail that says "I'm busy doing cakes". As long as you sit down to answer email every day, it's OK to do so at the end of the day. Preferably when you can also have a beer or other drink...

I have had customers who email me every day to find out where their order of durable goods is. Funny thing--even giving them the tracking number and tracking website doesn't stop them from emailing me. But they are so rare that I write them off as the 1% that cannot be trained.

cai0311 Posted 26 Jun 2012 , 8:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebittersweetbakehouse

i've been baking cakes for business for a few months now (and i know you'll all crucify me...) but i've never known how to bring up the conversation of contract or deposit....i've received every payment on delivery or collection.....

I have a lot of contact with the clients right up until the day discussing design options etc....but i think i am perhaps setting myself up for a disaster after reading your replies....whoops. Too trusting? thumbsdown.gif




Yes, too trusting. It is not just a matter of lost money, but lost time - which you can never get back - if someone doesn't pay. But the main reason to have a contract AND deposit is for insurance to yourself and your client. They know exactly what to expect if something goes wrong (whether real or in their crazy head) and you know what to do if something goes wrong (real or in their head).

Paperfishies Posted 27 Jun 2012 , 6:23pm

I only require deposits on large orders...On those orders, I always ask for an email address so I can follow up about deposits and balances. Also, when we have any type of consultation, I make sure to highlight the part in the paperwork about balances and deposits.

costumeczar Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 2:03am

I'd just make sure to tell the person that they do NOT have an order with you until you have the deposit in hand when you talk to them. You probably do that anyway, but people don't listen.

SoFloGuy Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 2:10am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApelilaRains

I'm sure everyone had one of these experiences one time or another. But I had two.....I received 2 inquiries for cake orders and I explained to the potential customers that the phone consultation does NOT confirm your cake order and deposit is needed OR full payment.

In some cases I would follow up if I had some time on my calendar. However I recently received emails asking where their order was the DAY of or the day after their requested date.

My policy does state that orders are not confirmed or reserved without some type of payment or deposit....One customer called me (literally) 50 times on the day she wanted the cake because she spoke to me about the decorations and blamed me for messing up her sons birthday party.

There were no communication for several weeks and then the day of, she was expecting 60 cupcakes with special hand made fondant toppers.

Oh, and they both wanted some type of credit too..... icon_confused.gif

Does anyone have any advise to avoid any further "miscommunication"?




Sounds like they were freeloaders looking for a discount. I would have asked them when they paid for the deposit. When they say they didn't I would ask them why they think someone would bake a cake without a deposit, contract and full payment.

mcaulir Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 3:10am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApelilaRains

This is what I have written:

"Geelicious Confections makes specialty cakes and cupcakes for all occasion. If you are interested in our services, please fill out the form below for a no-obligation quote, or feel free to call us to discuss your options.

Please note that this request does not guarantee availability. Orders are not reserved until a deposit is received. "




Although I understand what you mean here, I think the wording would be easy to skip over when a client is skim reading your page, especially because it is written in the passive voice.

Maybe something like, 'Your cake order is not considered finalised until you have paid a deposit.'

costumeczar Posted 28 Jun 2012 , 10:24am

What about "if you haven't paid a deposit, your order will not be on my calendar. And if you haven't paid in full your cake will be a wish cake."

KarolynAndrea Posted 29 Jun 2012 , 7:24pm

My email signature has my name and then says,
"An inquiry about a cake does not guarantee that the date will always be available.
I MUST receive a deposit to secure a booking for a cake."
And also, to avoid any confusion....any time anyone inquires about a cake, I write their name on a post it and stick it on that day in my book. If I see they haven't replied, I always send a final email.....
"I have not heard back from you regarding the cake you wanted for 6.29.12. I have since received deposits from other people and no longer have availability. Hopefully I can do the next one for you!"
That way my ass is covered with proof that I tried to get in touch with them.

missamylynn06 Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 8:53pm

This happened to me one time, they ordered the cake but didn't confirm the price i quoted them. They didnt get call back till the day the cake was due wanting to know when they could come pick it up. I had to let them know since they didn't confirm the price the cake wasn't made...thankfully they understood and didnt go crazy on me!

jenmat Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 9:16pm

Emails. I insist that all larger orders be done via email. I want written proof of what I say, including- once you confirm this, this and this, then your order will be placed on my calendar.

Sometimes you just can't cure stupid.

Relznik Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 10:00pm

When I speak with a customer on the phone, or communicate via email, I do say that I take all their details to send out an order form which I ask them to check, sign and return to me with their deposit so that I can then confirm their order.

costumeczar Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 10:21pm

So here's proof that people don't pay attention. I had a client schedule and reschedule tastings three or four times, then finally came to my house on an off day to do the tasting, took home the contract and I never heard from her again. No big deal, until she called on Tuesday to confirm the cake for the following Sunday. I told her she wasn't on my schedule, and she insisted that she'd paid a deposit. I had no record of it, and she looked through and couldn't find it either. Plus, six days before a wedding she should have paid in full, not just the deposit.

Anyway, I had time to do the cake because it was teeny, 4-6-8", no big deal, but seriously, people DO NOT necessarily pay attention even for their wedding cake. If she had called on Saturday she wouldn't have had a cake, and I wouldn't have felt bad about it in the long run. It's not our job to track down people and make sure they do everything they're supposed to keep track of.

costumeczar Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 10:23pm

Oh, she also couldn't find the contract, I forgot about that part. I had to redo the whole thing for her.

KoryAK Posted 8 Oct 2012 , 11:07pm

When it's a phone or in-person order I tell them that their slip will be on the "pending board" until they come back to finalize and pay. If it is email, I ALWAYS end with "please let me know if you have any additional questions or would like to place an order"

2txmedics Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 7:51pm

I agree with the contract saying:

                                                 If you are interested in our services, please fill out the form below for a no-obligation quote, or feel free to call us to discuss your options.

                                                 Please note that this request does not guarantee availability. Orders are not reserved until a deposit is received. "

 

With that ALSO...because people tend to get excited or have alot to do for an occassion, I WOULD HIGH LIGHT IN YELLOW.... Orders Require a Dep. and Must be paid in Full for a completed Order by such and such date:

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%