Customers That Change Their Mind

Business By SaraReubens Updated 15 Sep 2012 , 1:59am by vgcea

SaraReubens Posted 13 Sep 2012 , 6:05pm
post #1 of 9

When someone orders a cake or cupcakes that require a great deal of behind the scenes work and then change their mind numerous times before finally settling on what they want, do you charge them for your time that they wasted by changing what they wanted? Or do they only pay for the finished product? How do other people handle this sort of situation? The details of what I'm currently going through are below.

I was asked by the company I work for (cakes are my night/weekend job) to design three new cake and frosting recipes and three tiered cakes for the launch of a new line of cream based alcohols they are creating. Since then the promotions director has changed her mind about what she wants so many times I can't even keep count. And every time its AFTER I've already made the changes she requested the time before or done a ton of research for what she wanted that day. We went from three 3-tiered cakes, to one giant cake, to a sculpted cake, to cupcakes, to mini cupcakes and finally to a mix of standard and mini cupcakes. For the flavors she went from wanting them to taste like the alcoholic beverages, to wanting them to just be flavors that complimented the beverages, to being complimentary flavors that all used the alcohols in the recipes. Each time I ran taste tests. I have spent so many hours on this project that if I were to charge for all my time even at a modest rate it would run into the thousands. AND to really top it off, the exposure I was hoping to get from this event has been virtually destroyed. They accidentally forgot to credit me on the recipe card being given out at the event and because they've decided to make it an announcement free event, unless people see my business cards near the cupcake trees I'll have gotten zero exposure for this entire process.

Thank you for your input. I'm brand new at this and have never had someone jerk me in so many different directions. I'm exhausted.

8 replies
jason_kraft Posted 13 Sep 2012 , 6:14pm
post #2 of 9

If they change their mind before you have done any work on the order, that's usually not a problem, but if you've already started on research, procurement, and preparation, you need to include that cost as a "change fee". This should be highlighted in the contract signed by the customer.

Re exposure, you should request that your business name and web site be included on the signage for the event.

BakingIrene Posted 13 Sep 2012 , 7:47pm
post #3 of 9

It might be time to address the CEO and the promotions director together, in writing. State the hours you have invested into their order to date. State that the cards are REQUIRED to have your contact info as per your contract.

Don't say anything about scaling back your interest...but get the message to a decision maker that will not waste your time without paying you.

JackieDryden Posted 13 Sep 2012 , 7:54pm
post #4 of 9

I would definately want my name on the recipes. If you are doing this for a company so they can promote using their product in baked goods, and you came up with the recipes, I would insist it say so. Also you have spent time making these recipes work, which is normally asked of a developement dept, not just someone who works there. I would charge out the yen yang to be compensated for time, ingredients, and the entire process of making their product look good.

jones5cm Posted 13 Sep 2012 , 8:16pm
post #5 of 9

I can't speak on the aspect of you getting your compensation (i'm just a hobby baker myself); but I did have a bride once change her mind on the flavors of cake she wanted about 4 times. the last time she called me with another change, was the Monday before I started baking on Wednesday...I had already shopped for ingredients. she insisted saying 'my fiance said that I should have any flavor I want:"...and I agreed....BUT she shopped for the new ingredients AND delivered them to my work place Monday night while I was working the graveyard shifticon_smile.gif Stay strong and don't let them run over you!!

cheatize Posted 14 Sep 2012 , 1:24am
post #6 of 9

The promotions director should know better and is probably taking advantage of you. Put your foot down.

Custom orders must be placed ahead of time so they may be customized. After a certain date or once supplies are ordered, there is no going back. The promotions director should know this, be used to this, and be able to follow this. Mistakes like leaving off a sponsor's/vendor's name are gigantic mistakes in that field and may be a fire-able offense. The promotions director is the one that should be overly accommodating at this point, not you.

vgcea Posted 14 Sep 2012 , 9:31am
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraReubens

How do other people handle this sort of situation? .




One word: Contract.

jewelsq Posted 14 Sep 2012 , 12:31pm
post #8 of 9

Just making sure I understand...Your DAY job makes a food product (creams flavored alcohol ) and you developed recipes for them for these cakes and icings as part of your "own business"/side job?

I'm not sure what dept. you work in for that company, but theoretically, those recipes may become their intellectual property once you hand them over. They know this and I'd be willing to bet they did not "forget" to put your name on them.

The sticky wicket also happenend when you continued to make changes without addressing the time and energy and money it takes right away. Did you work with the Director during your day work hours or on your own time? I might take this as a lesson learned. I would have a hard time hitting up people I work with every day for extra money when sound business practices weren't addressed from the beginning. Can you live with the repercussions, if any, if this corporation sees this all differently?

If they "hire" you again, that would be a fine time to address this. "Miss X, I so enjoyed working with you on the project last time and I learned so much. Going forward, this is how I must address all changes (and hand her your schedule/payment list/policies/contract). I know, as a business person, you understand the value of time and I want to make sure you know what you can expect from me and my business (insert name here)." When they can't get you for cheap, they may balk. That's very telling. And, unless you are in Research and Development, no giving out any more recipes. If they want recipes, that is an additional contract that needs to be addressed. That's a whole other ball of wax.

Again, if I didn't get the details correct, than I am off-base. Best wishes for resolving this.

vgcea Posted 15 Sep 2012 , 1:59am
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jewelsq

Just making sure I understand...Your DAY job makes a food product (creams flavored alcohol ) and you developed recipes for them for these cakes and icings as part of your "own business"/side job?

I'm not sure what dept. you work in for that company, but theoretically, those recipes may become their intellectual property once you hand them over. They know this and I'd be willing to bet they did not "forget" to put your name on them.




Interesting. Very good catch jewelsq.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%