natenel Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 9:26am
post #1 of

AHi I would like to know if you entertain request for a picture of the finished cake to be sent before delivery? Personally I would understand if the cake was big and is for a very important occasion and may be presented before guests. I've not come across such a request before and this particular request is made by a very fussy budget 1st time customer with 101 questions. And because she is on a budget I made exceptions for her. My concern is that she might have a preview and request for changes which I may not be able to accommodate in the last minute and also the possibility she might change her mind about the cake order and ask for a refund. What do you think?

Lene

34 replies
AnnieCahill Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 11:17am
post #2 of

I personally wouldn't because most of the time I have to assemble and finish decorating on site.  But that's because I have a small car so I can't transport something big.

 

As busy as she is going to be on her wedding day, I don't see how she is going to be glued to her email waiting for a picture of the cake, then take the time to call you with any last minute changes.  That may stress you out at the last minute, so I personally wouldn't do that.
 

cakelady1958 Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 3:24pm
post #3 of

I personally would not do it. As long as you have confidence in your work, politely decline telling her that you are extremely busy finalizing her cake as well as others and your normal policy is to take pictures once the cake is delivered and set-up...not before. But guarantee her that she will love her cake.... 

jenmat Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 5:02pm
post #4 of

While it is a unique request, can you really say no without making her angry? It is her cake. If she is paying for it, she is a first time customer, and you are proud of the work you are doing, then while it may be unique, it certainly isn't unheard of. 

 

I had a bride and groom insist on coming to see the wedding cake the day before the wedding. This was when I first began and I didn't like the request. Not at all. But they paid for the cake and they knew I was a newbie. So I let them come in. And I made dang sure that the cake was perfect. 


I wouldn't let it happen now that I'm fairly seasoned. They should not have hired me if they didn't trust me. But as a beginner I could understand it. And I grumbled the whole time. 

 

This customer is probly too picky to retain as a customer. I would take a pic of the cake, remind her that at this point nothing can be altered, and then NEVER TAKE AN ORDER FROM HER AGAIN if she gives you a problem when she sees the picture. 

 

And lastly, sometimes the most picky customers that give you great pains in the beginning turn into your biggest fans.

handymama Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 5:44pm
post #5 of

Did they pay in advance? If so, I'd have no problem at all sending a pic their way since I always photograph cakes before they leave anyway. If they haven't paid and you suspect they're looking for a way to get yet another discount, then you just "don't have enough time available to do that for them".
 

jason_kraft Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 6:01pm
post #6 of

A

Original message sent by natenel

And because she is on a budget I made exceptions for her.

It's often the customers you make compromises for that cause the most trouble, next time stick to your prices.

If you do send a picture you should stress that the cake is final and no changes can be made at this point.

natenel Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 6:18pm
post #7 of

I might not have put across it well enough but it started out as a discussion from a "normal" sized birthday cake (with fondant and icing sheet prints for part of its intricate logo) to a "small" cake because its just for her and her boyfriend.

 

Despite the much reduced size it will still require the same level/type of decorating skills/techniques. In fact IMHO the smaller a cake (with intricate designs) it will probably require a more skilful hand!

 

Everything sounded so "expensive" to this customer wanting a particular design I ended up comprising on pricing. Honestly, that was when it became a little testy (for me.. in a way) because more "requests" came after she made a 50% downpayment. (I have just done my calculation again and it seems like I will end up financing the cake partially. )icon_cry.gif

 

Now with the request for a pic before delivery, I was initially tempted to tell her nicely that its not my practice to take pictures of every cake I decorate, but I am very sure she will come haunt me if she sees a picture of her cake on the internet.... and I am sure I will want to post it up because it's probably going to turn out well enough for me to put it in my online cake album.

 

(but!)...saying YES to her yet again may just as well lead to another request icon_surprised.gif (just for this particular customer) ....and you know how it is so easily in this age of technology and internet anyone can just smear your good name just because they dont get they way.

 

Thank you sooo much for sharing your views  =)

..I've now have a much clearer perspective.

natenel Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 6:23pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


It's often the customers you make compromises for that cause the most trouble, next time stick to your prices.
If you do send a picture you should stress that the cake is final and no changes can be made at this point.

 

You're right Jason, that's when I started to smell trouble.

I do have a problem saying "no" and it being a cake order for a birthday, I didn't want to let my customer down so I compromised on pricing icon_sad.gif

and now I feel the pinch ..lol.

..and yes.. i am definitely going to let her know that no changes can be made.

Thank you so much for your view Jason. =)

melanie-1221 Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 6:58pm
post #9 of

I agree 100% with Jason. Every time I make 'an exception' for someone it seems that it comes back to haunt me.

 I will send pictures before delivery when they are requested. I have yet to have anyone request changes at that point, usually they are just anxious to see what I designed for them.

I would let them know the cake is finished and being loaded for delivery if ever a design change was requested at that point.

natenel Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 8:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by melanie-1221 

I would let them know the cake is finished and being loaded for delivery if ever a design change was requested at that point.

Lol Melanie, yes, that is what i plan to do if she do request modifications (in the last hour) which cannot be done in 5 mins.

costumeczar Posted 10 Nov 2012 , 11:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


It's often the customers you make compromises for that cause the most trouble, next time stick to your prices.
If you do send a picture you should stress that the cake is final and no changes can be made at this point.

Exactly right...Ironlcally, I just fiished writing a blog entry about why bakers have minimum charges, and I mentioned that smaller cakes will make us very little profit. It sounds like you need to dump this client and fix a minimum price for cakes to avoid this in the future. http://acaketoremember.com/blog1/2012/11/10/why-bakers-have-minimums/

BlakesCakes Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 12:02am

No photo, no last minute changes.

 

I tell clients that all details must be finalized no later than 10 days before the cake is to be delivered.  I don't allow changes after that.  If I did, there would be a very hefty up-charge--paid in full and in cash before anything was order or started.

 

As for photos before delivery, I think it just gives clients the idea that they can provide "comments" (insert complaints or suggestions), if they deem it necessary,  that will result in some change(s).  Well, if it's too late for paid changes, it's too late for any changes.  I'm not going to re-make it, re-color it, re-stack it, add to it, or subtract from it, so what's the point.

 

I don't ask for a photo of my steak before it gets to my table, or one of my flower arrangement before it arrives at my in-laws............

 

Don't like it that I won't provide a pre-delivery pic?  Then I'm not your baker.

 

Rae

Annabakescakes Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 1:17am

A

Original message sent by BlakesCakes

No photo, no last minute changes.

I tell clients that all details must be finalized no later than 10 days before the cake is to be delivered.  I don't allow changes after that.  If I did, there would be a very hefty up-charge--paid in full and in cash before anything was order or started.

As for photos before delivery, I think it just gives clients the idea that they can provide "comments" (insert complaints or suggestions), if they deem it necessary,  that will result in some change(s).  Well, if it's too late for paid changes, it's too late for any changes.  I'm not going to re-make it, re-color it, re-stack it, add to it, or subtract from it, so what's the point.

I don't ask for a photo of my steak before it gets to my table, or one of my flower arrangement before it arrives at my in-laws............

Don't like it that I won't provide a pre-delivery pic?  Then I'm not your baker.

Rae

I couldn't agree more!

I a tuly learned this the hard way, though... I sent a pic and the lady text me back that it wasn't exactly what sha had in mind and was disappointed. I seriously considered taking some $$$ of the total, but I had already given a price break and didn't feel like I could afford it. I loved the cake, and thought it looked great, so then I questioned my judgement and started mentally picking it apart.

When she got there with her friend she was very polite, and the friend was gushing about it. I apologized that it wasn't what she had in mind, and I wished I could give her a discount, but I was already making minimum wage, haha.... The friends head snapped around and she looked at her like WTH??

Later that night I got a message on my Facebook page from the friend saying that the girl LOVED her cake and was squealing and showing it to everyone. And that after they left here, the lady who got the cake said she was hoping to get a bigger discount, and was pretending to hate it.

No more pictures!!!

costumeczar Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 2:16am

AShe should be ashamed of herself. Put her on the no cake for you list!

mcaulir Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 2:18am

I live in the dark agrs where I actually have to attach a cord from my camera to the computer, download a picture, attach it to an email and send it. No way I'd be fiddling about doing all that when you won't be changing anything anyway, and the customer will see it in a couple of hours anyway. Crazy!

BrandisBaked Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 2:21pm

AWhen I do a great job, I am proud of my work and post pictures all over the internet as well as texting one to my spouse. If you are confident that you've done a great job, why NOT send the pic? That would be like a seamstress telling a customers they weren't allowed a final fitting and they needed to just "trust" that the wedding dress will fit.

If she wants to make changes, let her... and charge her for them.

BrandisBaked Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 2:22pm

AWhen I do a great job, I am proud of my work and post pictures all over the internet as well as texting one to my spouse. If you are confident that you've done a great job, why NOT send the pic? That would be like a seamstress telling a customers they weren't allowed a final fitting and they needed to just "trust" that the wedding dress will fit.

If she wants to make changes, let her... and charge her for them.

costumeczar Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 2:52pm

I was thinking about this and I actually did send a picture of a half-done wedding cake recently to a groom who was being a pain in the butt. He kept emailing asking how it was going so I send him a photo of the cake and told him it was "in progress." He left me alone after that.

 

I'd guess, though, that most people who ask for a cake photo want to approve the cake, which usually meant that they're going to want changes or just say that something is wrong in general. If someone is being really persistent about it, I'd tell them that I'll send a photo but they have to understand that the cake was done to their specifictions and if there are any changes they might not be able to be made (color changes, etc.), and they'll incur a substantial last-minute change fee.

Annabakescakes Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 3:17pm

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

When I do a great job, I am proud of my work and post pictures all over the internet as well as texting one to my spouse. If you are confident that you've done a great job, why NOT send the pic? That would be like a seamstress telling a customers they weren't allowed a final fitting and they needed to just "trust" that the wedding dress will fit. If she wants to make changes, let her... and charge her for them.

I am certainly proud of my cakes, too, but shame wasn't mentioned in then reasons given as to why many of us don't post pictures or share pictures until they are picked up. I post mine all over the day after they are picked up. Another good reason to wait (that has nothing to do with being ashamed of it) is the fact that most of my business (99%) is word of mouth. So, if I do a cake for Sally, and she shares it on her Facebook, then Sue sees it and wants a surprise cake for Sally on her birthday, when I post it before it gets picked up, Sally gets an update in her news feed, and sees it before the party, and the surprise is ruined.

I recently had a client who knows 3 of my frequent clients, and none of them know each other! It is a small world, after all ;-)

stephdover4 Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 4:27pm

I don't send pictures, (certainly not for shame of my work) simply because often times the picture doesn't do my work justice and I LOVE seeing their faces when they see the cake for the first time. It makes all of my hard work worth it!!
 

jason_kraft Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 4:45pm

AI'm curious...for people who won't sent pictures, how do you frame the reply?

BrandisBaked Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 4:55pm

AThe word "shame" wasn't in my response either. :D

Annabakescakes Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 4:56pm

AI just say, I'm sorry, I don't send pictures because I want to see their reaction and hear their thoughts when they first see it.

Everyone is very nice about it, but I only get about 1 request for pictures every couple months, out of 16 cakes a month.

BlakesCakes Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 8:32pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

I'm curious...for people who won't sent pictures, how do you frame the reply?

 

Them: "Could you/would you send me a pic of the cake while you're working on it/when it's finished?"

Me: "No, I'm sorry, I don't do that."

Them: "Why not?"

Me: "Honestly, I don't really have the time to fool around with it.  Cake making and delivery days are much too busy for me to be taking photos, uploading photos, writing e-mails, responding to e-mails, handling phone calls, etc.  I'm sure you understand."

Them: "Well, no, I don't understand.  I want a picture of it before you deliver it."

Me: "I completely understand.  I'm afraid that I'm not going to be able to make your cake.  Best of luck with your (event)."

 

Rae

BrandisBaked Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 8:51pm

AJust wondering why so many refuse pics in advance. I have no problem making changes to a cake, so I would rather get word early on that they meant to order baby blue accents instead of a royal blue that way I had time to correct the order without someone hovering over me. With as much as I charge, I don't think I would mind even setting up a webcam throughout and doing a time lapse video of the entire process.

To each their own I guess.

costumeczar Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 9:00pm

A

Original message sent by BrandisBaked

Just wondering why so many refuse pics in advance. I have no problem making changes to a cake, so I would rather get word early on that they meant to order baby blue accents instead of a royal blue that way I had time to correct the order without someone hovering over me. With as much as I charge, I don't think I would mind even setting up a webcam throughout and doing a time lapse video of the entire process. To each their own I guess.

It sounds like most people who are asking for pictures want to see the finished version, which wouldn't leave time to have them then tell you the things they want you to change. For custom cakes you should have the details worked out ahead of time anyway...I work off of the contract, and whatever that says is what I do. If I did what the contract said and the client then told me they didn't like the cake and wanted me to change things about it, it's too late once the cake is done.

I once had a groom ask me if I was going to do a replica of the wedding cake ahead of time so that he could see it and approve the design. (Why is it always the grooms?) I told him no.

inspiredbymom Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 9:15pm

I who calls me at least 4-5 times a day and sends emails to me when I have a cake calendared for her.  One time she asked me for a picture and I sent her a picture of the KA bowl full of icing at midnight.  I let the calls go the to machine because I can not work and talk at the same time.  I even had that conversation with her.  She just gets too excited!  

 

I also wait to post pics to Facebook until after the event date because I don't want to ruin someone's surprise.  

 

As far as a request from the person who ordered it, I would not have had an issue but that one story of someone trying to get a bigger discount makes my blood boil.  There are SOOOOOO many people out there who do that.  They think it is funny, but it is not.  They don't take into consideration the bakers time away from family and all of the hard work that goes into even a small cake.  Some people are just awful.......

 

I doubt that I would ever consider it again.  UGH!

KoryAK Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 9:18pm

No pictures!  It's a different mentality and a customer who would be very happy with their cake when picking it up (finalized mentality) would likely request changes if given a photo early (work in progress mentality).

 

The other thing is that cakes NEVER look as good in a photo as in person.  I gave in to the pre-photo ONE time and of course they thought the cake was plain because they could see the richness of the colors and the subtle wood grain in the background in my quick photo.  THEN, they are primed to see it that way in person too. Yeah, no pix. Make up whatever excuse you have to.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 11:28pm

I'm a bit ambivalent about this topic.

 

I've had a couple of "surprise" groom's cakes.  On each of those occasions, the cakes were completed about a day in advance of delivery.  I emailed or texted the brides asking if they would like a glimpse or if they too want to be surprised.  They have all said yes, all loved the photos, & all been very happy.  Maybe I'm just lucky.

 

I remember the very first one, I was worried.  It was a case of Miller Lite, & I'd gotten some blue on the cake board.  To hide it, I put sugar sand all around as though it was on the beach.  We'd never discussed it, & I was worried she would hate it and ask me to fix it.  She didn't.  She loved it.  Also, a picture is only so good.  They all loved the cakes even more in person.

 

I realize those were different circumstances.  I know there are crappy crazy people out there.  On one hand, I can see saying no.  On the other hand, the worst that can happen is they don't like it.  I would want to know as soon as possible so that I could do my best to fix it.  

 

See, posting helped me decide.  The worst that could happen is they don't like it.  This gives me the opportunity to do something to make it right.  If it's a crazy request, I have time to remind them the limits of the contract/order.  If it is a cheap-o, I have time to nip any request for discount in the bud.  

Dayti Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 11:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by inspiredbymom 

One time she asked me for a picture and I sent her a picture of the KA bowl full of icing at midnight. 

Love this!!

 

I usually tell people no, that I am on a tight schedule, and would they rather receive the photos by email or have me get to their event on time? Because seriously, I would be sending them the photos just before I headed out the door with their cake.

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