ApplePomme Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 3:05am
post #1 of

I'm sure you know the type, the contact you, they have all these grand ideas and you spend so much time researching design inspiration, emailing back and forth etc. etc. When you send the quote, they agree and decide on a time to pay their deposit but then something always "just comes up" and they cancel on you.

 

I have one such customer and she is driving me to drink. I made her daughter's 1st birthday cake when I was just starting out and, while she was a bit of a pain in the ass to deal with, she did pay and pick up her order and even sent me another email afterward to say just how much they loved the cake. In the 3 years since then, I have been contacted by her for not 3, not 4, but 5 different cake orders, none of which she has gone through with. icon_mad.gif

 

The latest one was a wedding cake for this August. I spent HOURS emailing back and forth with her, suggesting things, offering design ideas, answering questions, etc. etc. etc. and now she's backed out on me yet again. In a matter of 2 minutes, she sent one email to say that she "is going another way" for her wedding cake, and sent another email to ask me to make her daughter's 4th birthday cake! I'm done with her SO FREAKING DONE. 

 

But...

 

What do you do with "customers" like these? Put me on a first class train to cake-making-hell, but I told her I was booked for the date she inquired about and put the kybosh on it right away. I don't want to spend another second on her. Should I have done that? I was polite, but it was completely a lie.

 

What do you do with the tire-kickers who never actually book?

20 replies
Norasmom Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 3:14am
post #2 of

If she's contacted you for 5 orders and then flaked on them, you did the right thing by telling her you were booked.  You don't have time for her nonsense!  I would have done the same thing, there's not much else you can do except "be booked" f you want to remain cordial and polite.

jason_kraft Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 3:17am
post #3 of

AWith this customer's history I would require a nonrefundable deposit before spending any more than a few minutes discussing the order.

Pyro Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 4:04am
post #4 of

Sounds like she's just using you to plan her cake, quote it, and then taking that to the competition. You are being used.

kikiandkyle Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 4:19am
post #5 of

I agree, you are doing all the work for her then she's taking it to someone else for less. 

docofthedead Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 5:59am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyro 

Sounds like she's just using you to plan her cake, quote it, and then taking that to the competition. You are being used.

EXACTLY what I thought also!!

gmfcakes Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 6:01am
post #7 of

I was thinking the same thing about her taking it to someone else. 

Godot Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 6:04am
post #8 of

I surprised you've allowed this to go on for so long!

 

I have certain 'customers' that I'm fully booked for every time they call or e-mail.  Fully booked until the end of time, for them.

cazza1 Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 6:16am
post #9 of

She is a waste of your precious time.  Even if she does give you an occasional order she is still not worth it

rosech Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 5:32pm

AShe may even be competition.

Relznik Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 5:59pm

I agree.  If she isn't a cake maker herself, then she's certainly is using you to get ideas and prices and then go elsewhere where they're prepared to undercut.

 

 

Next time she contacts you, the first thing you ask is 'when is it for' and then reply 'Thank you for your enquiry.  Unfortunately, I'm unavailable that week.  Sorry I can't help you'.

 

Personally, I have no qualms about telling big fat pork pies (lies) to customers and telling them I'm fully booked when I'm not if I don't like the sound of the order or I feel they're going to be a PITA.  But if you have more morals than me, then saying you're unavailable isn't exactly telling a lie.  You're just not available for HER!!  Eventually, she should get the hint. icon_wink.gif

 

Suzanne x

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 6:01pm

This woman is screwing with you.  As soon as she calls the FIRST thing you ask, before she even starts talking, you ask the date and then immediately say unfortunately I am booked that day.  Just keep repeating it no matter what date she gives you.

Or stop taking her phone calls and/or emails.

BakingIrene Posted 20 Mar 2013 , 9:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApplePomme 

I'm sure you know the type, the contact you, they have all these grand ideas and you spend so much time researching design inspiration, emailing back and forth etc. etc. When you send the quote, they agree and decide on a time to pay their deposit but then something always "just comes up" and they cancel on you.

 

I have one such customer and she is driving me to drink. I made her daughter's 1st birthday cake when I was just starting out and, while she was a bit of a pain in the ass to deal with, she did pay and pick up her order and even sent me another email afterward to say just how much they loved the cake. In the 3 years since then, I have been contacted by her for not 3, not 4, but 5 different cake orders, none of which she has gone through with. icon_mad.gif

 

The latest one was a wedding cake for this August. I spent HOURS emailing back and forth with her, suggesting things, offering design ideas, answering questions, etc. etc. etc. and now she's backed out on me yet again. In a matter of 2 minutes, she sent one email to say that she "is going another way" for her wedding cake, and sent another email to ask me to make her daughter's 4th birthday cake! I'm done with her SO FREAKING DONE. 

 

But...

 

What do you do with "customers" like these? Put me on a first class train to cake-making-hell, but I told her I was booked for the date she inquired about and put the kybosh on it right away. I don't want to spend another second on her. Should I have done that? I was polite, but it was completely a lie.

 

What do you do with the tire-kickers who never actually book?

YOU need to control the amount of time you waste on non-orders. You can provide 15 minutes of basic contact such as getting the details of the event down etc.

 

If these time-wasters want more, you can quote them your hourly rate for consultation.  Trust me they will vanish into the woodwork...

ApplePomme Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 4:48am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relznik 
Next time she contacts you, the first thing you ask is 'when is it for' and then reply 'Thank you for your enquiry.  Unfortunately, I'm unavailable that week.  Sorry I can't help you'.

This is exactly what I did in response to her birthday cake inquiry. I didn't even bother with "Hello Xxxxx, Thank you for your inquiry..." bla bla bla. It was a simple "What date did you need this for?" and once I got a reply, it was another short one liner of "Sorry, I'm booked." Period, end of story. I hope she gets it through her thick skull that I'm not interested in dealing with her any longer.

 

Thank you all for your replies! I never considered that she might be using me to get another quote elsewhere. That pisses me off. I feel no guilt at dumping her.

AZCouture Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 5:59am

AEasy. " When is a good time for you to meet to discuss this order?" That will make it or break it right there.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 3:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

Easy. " When is a good time for you to meet to discuss this order?" That will make it or break it right there.


And just for this particular woman, I would add that she will needs to give you  a non-refundable deposit before you will meet with her.

AZCouture Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 4:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy 


And just for this particular woman, I would add that she will needs to give you  a non-refundable deposit before you will meet with her.

No kidding! But I send this after the second or so email of questions no matter what usually. If they're serious about an order, they'll meet with me, if not, they find someone else who is happy to knock themselves out researching, quoting, going back and forth....for free. No thanks.

carmijok Posted 21 Mar 2013 , 4:18pm

If she has a Facebook account you might be able to check it out to see if she's posted pictures of any of the cakes she's had done for events.  Then you'd know if she was getting your designs created by someone else...and find out who she's using too.  Just a thought!

 

However it might be best just to let sleeping dogs lie and do what you're doing...which is to be booked forever.

costumeczar Posted 23 Mar 2013 , 12:15am
Quote:

 

 

What do you do with "customers" like these? Put me on a first class train to cake-making-hell, but I told her I was booked for the date she inquired about and put the kybosh on it right away. I don't want to spend another second on her. Should I have done that? I was polite, but it was completely a lie.

 

First of all, she's not a customer, she's just an inquiry until she books with you. If she hasn't given you a deposit then she's window shopping or doing whatever it is she's up to. You were right to just say you're booked.  Sketches and design work other than the real basics are better left to when they have their date locked in with the $$$. NEVER send sketches or spend so much time on anyone who's so demanding before they hire you, because it won't get better once they do hire you!

AZCouture Posted 23 Mar 2013 , 12:18am

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

First of all, she's not a customer, she's just an inquiry until she books with you. If she hasn't given you a deposit then she's window shopping or doing whatever it is she's up to. You were right to just say you're booked.  Sketches and design work other than the real basics are better left to when they have their date locked in with the $$$. NEVER send sketches or spend so much time on anyone who's so demanding before they hire you, because it won't get better once they do hire you!

Yes yes yes!

aundrea Posted 23 Mar 2013 , 12:55am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

YOU need to control the amount of time you waste on non-orders. You can provide 15 minutes of basic contact such as getting the details of the event down etc.

 

If these time-wasters want more, you can quote them your hourly rate for consultation.  Trust me they will vanish into the woodwork...

 

excatly what i was thinking. i dont understand why bakers spend so much time on designing cake - emailing etc without a down payment.

honestly i wouldnt have lied to this PITA customer. i would have told her the truth. that you have asked for 5 cakes and never actually placed an order. i run a business and i cannot spend this amount of my time and energy on someone who doesnt place an order with me. END...shes gone!!

sorry this happened to you.

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