Bubbl3h3ad Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 7:48pm
post #1 of

I have a customer that is asking for a wedding cake and groom's cake for July. Her email started out that she was looking for "something simple as we are not fancy people." She told me exactly what flavors of cake she wants and then said they want to do a cake tasting. I told her the next time that I would be available to do it (weekend of May 11th). She said she can only do after 5 on saturday because her daughter works until 5 so I said that was fine. Then she emailed back and said she couldn't because her daughter had a friend's shower to go to at 4. (Although she works until 5). I said can she do it Sunday afternoon (because I go to church on Sundays) and she said no because she goes to church on Sunday morning and Sunday night and could we do it friday evening. I don't get home until around 5 on Fridays because I work full time. Am I being unreasonable? Should I give up my Friday night with the family in order to meet her demands? Is that what cake makers do?

In reality, I would like to have a cake for that weekend but I don't need it. I do this to make ends meet and they are met right now, lol. Does it sound like she is going to be a hassle? I've yet to talk to the actual bride, only her mother.

36 replies
DeliciousDesserts Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 7:57pm
post #2 of

AI think you know the answer.

At the moment, you are in the position of being able to choose with whom you want to work. You can make fily a priority. If the daughter must be there, she will arrange her schedule to do so. You have offered opportunities. I don't think it's unreasonable to hold some times sacred to you & your family.

She'll either make time to meet with you or she won't. You don't have to explain it. "I'm unavailable to meet a that time. I am available to meet with you X, Y, or Z. Please let me know if any of those times are good for you."

MsGF Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:03pm
post #3 of

Tell her when you are available, and make her work it out.  I don't think you are being unreasonable.  She sounds like a hassle.    I don't go out of my way for people.  For me this isn't personal, it's business.  I also have a life and things to do, and I won't give up my plans for a customer. For me this is a hobby business I legally share with others.  I also teach decorating, have a family, a life and plans.  Set out your available times and let her decide which day & time works for her, you don't work your life around her.

 

Good luck she sounds complicated.  

erin2345 Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:10pm
post #4 of

I tell people when I am available to meet, and then they can choose a date.  If none of those dates work, I will pick a few later dates and they can again choose one.  It is not my fault if they can't make it work, or if the meeting dates run too close to the date of the cake.  Should have thought of it sooner!

BeesKnees578 Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:23pm
post #5 of

If she was meeting someone who has a store front, she would make herself available during their hours.  They certainly wouldn't stay late (IMO) to meet with someone.  Just because you do this from your home, doesn't mean you can work any old time they want you to.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:29pm
post #6 of

AI don't think either of you are being unreasonable...you have a limited window of time each week you can schedule a tasting, so it's not surprising there would be scheduling conflicts.

An alternative would be to put together a to-go tasting package, scheduling a pickup during the week wouldn't be so bad since you are only giving up a few minutes of your time.

auntginn Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:37pm
post #7 of

I agree with Jason, we live in a fast paced world now.  Have her pick up the tastings and schedule a time you can meet with her to discuss the order.  From May to July, not a lot of time left tho.

cj72 Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:47pm
post #8 of

I am a home baker as well and NEVER do sit down tastings in my home.  I always set up meetings elsewhere and give them a wonderful sample of cupcakes with a hint of the decorations they have chosen so they can take and share them with whomever they like and get back with me about which ones were their favorite.  To Go Sample packs are the way to go for me.   I have dropped them off to people at their homes, their workplace, even met them at Starbucks before.  You set your business schedule and don't need to explain it, that is a perk of being your own boss.   Good luck. 

 

 

 

 

jason_kraft Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 8:51pm
post #9 of

AWe initially did sit-down tastings, which was fine at the beginning, but once you start getting busy you realize there's not a lot of value added by you sitting there watching your customers eat. :grin:

kikiandkyle Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 9:55pm

AIf you were booked for those times with other clients rather than doing family things you wouldn't hesitate to say you weren't available, and she would just have to work it out.

She is calling only 3 months out for a wedding and a grooms cake, its she who should be bending over backwards.

jgifford Posted 26 Apr 2013 , 10:31pm

If she knows exactly what flavors she wants, why does she even need to have a tasting?  And why can't it be scheduled at a later date if she just wants the "tasting" experience?

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 12:04am

I agree with previous posters.  Offer her one of two choices:

Either A) give her 3 dates you are available to meet and if she can work that into her schedule great  or

B) put together a to-go tasting package and have her pick it up or deliver it, whichever you are more comfortable with..

 

If she can't/won't go with either of these options then suggest she look elsewhere for another baker.
 

kikiandkyle Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 2:29am

AShe said she knows exactly what flavors she wants so why does she need a tasting? I wonder if the reason she's looking for a baker this late is that she was dropped by her previous one for being a pain.

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 4:14am

Thank you all for your input. I've only done 1 tasting before and it was with a lovely couple and we met at Starbucks. I didn't think about making a to-go box - that might be a good idea.

meriem Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 3:00pm

AI'd also like to add that it might be a good idea to charge her if you would be making cupcakes or something similar for a tasting, then offer her a deduction of that cost if she goes ahead with the order. Since she knows which flavours she wants and is still insisting on a tasting, it makes me question if she just wants free cake. I've had that happen to me before, spent ours making decorated cupcakes then nothing came from it... Never again!

DeliciousDesserts Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 3:38pm

AMaybe I'm looking at this incorrectly. First, I don't offer "tastings," I offer consultations which including a sample of my cakes. I very rarely do a to go box. I really only do them when either I really know the planner or te couple has already booked.

The consult is so important. It's my opportunity to "sell" myself as well as gather all the important information and design the cake. You want to taste my cake? You have to spend some time with me!

costumeczar Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 4:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

She said she knows exactly what flavors she wants so why does she need a tasting? I wonder if the reason she's looking for a baker this late is that she was dropped by her previous one for being a pain.

yeah, that was my thought too. But people are booking WAY closer to the actual date now, so maybe not.

 

I agree with giving her a few times (which you've already done) and having her make time to be there or not. If she can't bring her daughter she could come pick the samples up and then you could do the rest over email.

auntginn Posted 27 Apr 2013 , 6:58pm

I know this was not asked nor mentioned but another thing I do is charge for tastings.  And.. if I see I'm starting to have a hard time from the beginning I adjust the tasting fee.  It weeds out those who are not really serious or going to give me a hard time (bridezilla types).  I apply the fee to their order if they go with me.

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 4:47am

After some serious thought, I let the client know that I was going to refer her to someone who may be able to accommodate her requests more than I can. She seemed a bit too demanding for me and I can imagine problems cropping up. I gave her the number of someone who I think would be a little more flexible but I also fully prepared the other baker for who I was sending.

jrobar Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 4:57am

That is tricky. Even though you say you don't need the extra money or whatnot, your still running a business. I understand the family thing, this woman needs to make up her mind because it's very rude to keep cancelling like that. It's kind of a tough choice. Either take her business or spend the day with your family. In the end, it's all up to you.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 4:57am

A

Original message sent by Bubbl3h3ad

After some serious thought, I let the client know that I was going to refer her to someone who may be able to accommodate her requests more than I can. She seemed a bit too demanding for me and I can imagine problems cropping up. I gave her the number of someone who I think would be a little more flexible but I also fully prepared the other baker for who I was sending.

I'm not sure I understand this reasoning...was there something else she said that you didn't include in your post? Asking for a tasting is pretty routine (how else would she know if she likes your recipes?), and she had a scheduling conflict on the two days you proposed, so she requested an alternative date. There should still be plenty of time before the wedding to schedule a tasting on a different weekend or provide a to-go tasting.

Now if she insisted on an in-person consultation and was unavailable for every Saturday and Sunday for the next 2 months, IMO that would be a good reason to refer her to a different baker.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Apr 2013 , 5:00am

A

Original message sent by jrobar

That is tricky. Even though you say you don't need the extra money or whatnot, your still running a business. I understand the family thing, this woman needs to make up her mind because it's very rude to keep cancelling like that.

It sounds like the customer became aware of a schedule conflict after she had agreed to the original time. If you were the customer, what would you do in that situation?

Bubbl3h3ad Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 3:46am

The issue is not that the customer realized there was a scheduling conflict and tried to reschedule. I gave her times to meet and every time I suggested a time, she said no and suggested an alternate time because she just didn't feel like doing it at that particular time. For instance, she said she could only come after 5 on Saturday. I agreed to that and then she changed her  and I suggested Sunday afternoon and she said well, we can but I really don't want to because we have church that morning. I have church that morning too but I was willing to give up my Sunday afternoon because she was busy ALL DAY on Saturday. And yes, there were more details to her emails but I didn't think it necessary to cut and paste the entire email conversation. When she said that she couldn't meet at a time, even though she was free, just didn't feel like doing it that day, I felt that if she was making it so difficult to taste a piece of cake, then what else would be make ten times more difficult? Like I said, I don't need the job so I'm not going to put myself through an unpleasant couple of months if it can be avoided. I have no problem doing "tastings" or "consultations" or whatever you choose to call them. I have done them before and will do them again. Just not this time.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 4:40am

APlaying devil's advocate here: I'm assuming she didn't just change her mind about the original time for the fun of it, so it really comes down to her being unavailable for two days, which is not that unusual. Perhaps her free time on Sunday between the morning and evening shifts at church was being spent with family...regardless, the customer shouldn't have to justify the reasons for not being available.

Of course it is your prerogative to refer the customer to another vendor, just realize that having such a limited schedule means that you may need to be a little more flexible if you want to keep orders. I'm not saying you need to sacrifice family time, but there were other options available here (offering a to-go tasting package, scheduling a tasting on a future weekend) that didn't involve rejecting the order outright.

Evoir Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 5:16am

Listen to the voice inside.

 

I also do not rely on my income from cakes alone to support my family entirely. I also have more cake requests than I can service. If I meet someone like this who is making me feel resentful or impacting on my non-work life, I say "no" as well.

 

If it's a real scheduling issue and a job I wouldn't mind doing, I prepare a box of samples to go. A lot of the other stuff can be done via email.

LeslieBruckman Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 5:38am

I've always done an in-home tasting... but a to-go package sounds like a great idea. :)

chocaholikk Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 8:34am

AOmg she sounds like hassle!! Good luck

costumeczar Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 10:32am

A

Original message sent by jason_kraft

Playing devil's advocate here: I'm assuming she didn't just change her mind about the original time for the fun of it, so it really comes down to her being unavailable for two days, which is not that unusual. Perhaps her free time on Sunday between the morning and evening shifts at church was being spent with family...regardless, the customer shouldn't have to justify the reasons for not being available.

Of course it is your prerogative to refer the customer to another vendor, just realize that having such a limited schedule means that you may need to be a little more flexible if you want to keep orders. I'm not saying you need to sacrifice family time, but there were other options available here (offering a to-go tasting package, scheduling a tasting on a future weekend) that didn't involve rejecting the order outright.

I have to disagree with you here, Jason. When you had your shop you had store hours. If you had clients who insisted on ignoring the times that you were available and told you when they wanted to come in, would you have come in at random hours to open the shop just for them? I don't know of any doctor,dentist, or retail store that would open for one person just because they didn't feel like coming in during the hours the business was open.

I have plenty of people who have told me, after being given three or four options, that they weren't able to come in on any of them, and wanted to come in the evening on a day that was more to their liking. When I told then that wasn't an option and that if they weren't able to arrange it their date might be gone, they suddenly made themselves available, then showed up with an entourage of people who "weren't available" to begin with. There are definitely people who say they can't come in on the weekend because they just don't feel like it. You can tell when you talk to someone whether or not they're trying to arrange things, or whether they just want to have a fun cake party at their convenience.

And personally, if those people are the type to get you to chnge your dates around for them before they even book with you, I'd prefer not to deal with them down the road. I'm as flexible as I can be but I'm not going to bend over backward for someone who doesn't feel like taking me seriously to begin with, and that's what it amounts to.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 1:43pm

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

I have to disagree with you here, Jason. When you had your shop you had store hours. If you had clients who insisted on ignoring the times that you were available and told you when they wanted to come in, would you have come in at random hours to open the shop just for them?

Our business was by appt only so we had no set hours, and the only time we were completely unavailable was during production time at the commercial kitchen (8-12 hours/week). If the only available times we had every week were Saturday and part of Sunday we would have had more scheduling conflicts.

Based on what the OP has said this sounds like a regular back-and-forth involved in scheduling an appt, not that the customer is demanding an exception.

I have plenty of people who have told me, after being given three or four options, that they weren't able to come in on any of them, and wanted to come in the evening on a day that was more to their liking. When I told then that wasn't an option and that if they weren't able to arrange it their date might be gone, they suddenly made themselves available, then showed up with an entourage of people who "weren't available" to begin with.

Exactly...it makes sense to give the customer at least 3 or 4 scheduling options instead of just rejecting the customer outright because they are busy on 2 dates. Even in this case, your strategy of letting the customer know that the Sunday afternoon time was the only available tasting date before the wedding (although that would be hard to believe) could have resulted in the tasting going ahead.

As for the entourage, that can be controlled with pricing. When we did in-person consults, it was $30 for 2 people and $15 for each additional person (not applied to the final order), so if a customer showed up with 5 other people and was willing to pay $90 for the tasting that's fine with us.

liz at sugar Posted 29 Apr 2013 , 2:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoir View Post

Listen to the voice inside.

 

I also do not rely on my income from cakes alone to support my family entirely. I also have more cake requests than I can service. If I meet someone like this who is making me feel resentful or impacting on my non-work life, I say "no" as well.

 

If it's a real scheduling issue and a job I wouldn't mind doing, I prepare a box of samples to go. A lot of the other stuff can be done via email.

 

Glad you referred them on.  You should always listen to your intuition, as Evoir has stated.  It makes life so much better. :)

 

Liz

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%