Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 1:01am
post #1 of

Hey everyone. Just wanted to post and get some opinions on this...

Turns out I had a lady contact me and asked me how much I would charge her for a 6'' cake and 30 cupcakes. I just moved to a different state and wanted to develop new clients so I decided to charge her a lot less thinking this would help me get more clients.

I quoted her $70 for the 30 cupcakes and the six inch cake. She loved the price of course! I then asked about theme, color choice, design...she asked me to give her some ideas as to what design to get. I shared a picture of an owl cake online with cupcakes and was very specific mentioning I was referring to the pillow-top cake design for the 6'' cake and I told her I could try to get the baby's name some where in there (baby shower theme). The idea picture I emailed had some owls, she said she didnt want the owls. The order was for delivery on Saturday. I emailed Thursday to confirm everything and I summarized it again: "Just want to confirm your order for tomorrow...6'' Cake, pillow top design, baby's name somewhere. 30 cupcakes on the side - vanilla...etc." She then responds saying she wants me to keep the birds in the picture...I asked what birds and she was referring to the birds and owls that were handcrafted on top of each cupcake. I then told her that it was not included in the price I quoted and if she wanted to add them, she would have to pay extra for that and I would need to know immediately in order to make them and have time to set. She didn't like the idea of the price, and then responded saying to keep the original design and everything I mentioned in the confirmation email.

 

Turns out...4:40PM on Friday, I get an email saying to add the owls and birds that she is willing to pay any extra cost. I didn't see the message til about 1AM when I was done with her order and cleaning my kitchen. I responded yet again and said there was no possible way as the pieces would not have time to set and this was to be delivered at 9:30AM.

 

Saturday morning I check my email and she said : "if you can please add anything with owls, even if its something that does not require enough time to set...if not I understand"

 

So I decided to go online, printed some owls, took out my cricut, and hand-made 30 owl pieces from paper as toppers to have something in there. I go off to deliver...(yes..i didn't even charge delivery...stupid me trying to be nice). When I arrive, they barely give me the $70...did not want to pay the additional fee for the extra toppers that I crafted this morning...her husband says "I don't think those are worth the extra...besides I thought you said you couldn't do them." I then explained that I got 2 emails saying that they wanted me to add whatever it was regardless of the cost. The girl then says "well what about the set-up?" - she was referring to the cupcake stand that she saw in the picture. I said "that was not included in the price I quoted nor did we even talk about it being included"...at this point, I am livid. I just said "forget it....just leave it as is" and left!

 

Where did I go wrong? Has this happened to anyone in the past? I feel like they insulted our business, and didn't even appreciate the time and effort put into the cake! Did she seriously think she was going to get a cake with a 3-D owl, 30 cupcakes with hand crafted birds and owls for $70 and the stand?

 

Attached is the picture of what I quoted, and delivered based on all of our conversations.

 

 

 

 

21 replies
snotlocker Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 1:27am
post #2 of

Well first you did nothing wrong, you are in a new area and trying to build cliental so it is understandable that you did a price cut to get the word of mouth.  But you got taken advantage of big time.  What people that don't bake don't understand is they are paying mainly for the time you put into a cake.  I can spend upwards of 1 to 2 days on completing a cake (depending on design) and that's a lot of time and energy put into that cake and your price has to reflect that, and non-bakers don't understand.    So don't get discourgered hopefully that was a one time thing.  good luck 

BeesKnees578 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 1:38am
post #3 of

Whoa....that's a lot to take in!

 

I think her asking at 4:40 PM the day before delivery for changes is a bit late.  I would make a policy that any changes made to the designs MUST be made no later than the week before or longer if they are expecting fondant do-dads on each cupcake!  Any last minute changes should incur a BIG fee!

 

For cupcakes, I would ask on every order about a stand.  She also should have thought to ask about a stand, in my opinion, but I do cake so it would have occurred to me to do so.

 

I don't know that you necessarily did anything wrong, maybe just could have been more thorough, charged for delivery.  You may also want to do a 50% deposit and balance due the beginning of the week of the event (for first time customers), or cash the day of.

 

Did you follow up and get her take on it after it was all said and done?  I would swallow my pride and apologize for the miscommunication about the stand.  An apology goes a long way, even if you don't feel you were wrong.  People talk more when they are disappointed about something than when they are happy about it.

LKing12 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 1:51am
post #4 of

I have learned the hard way not to give a price until I know the details.  The first smash cake and first birthday cake that I gave a quick price for ended up costing me a lot more time and material than what we talked about first.

I ask questions, then give a price.  I send an estimate sheet before I start working.  It includes everything, line by line that I am making/including with the order.  What is on the sheet is what they have asked for and I am getting paid to create.
 

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 2:00am
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by snotlocker 

Well first you did nothing wrong, you are in a new area and trying to build cliental so it is understandable that you did a price cut to get the word of mouth.  

I disagree, I don't think you need to cut your prices just to get business, you are setting yourself up for trouble when you try to raise your prices back up to where they should be. When you don't charge enough, you attract this exact kind of customer- unreasonable, demanding, wants a whole lot for very little. 

 

If you really feel that you need to give people a "deal" to build your customer base in your new town, you need to communicate to them that you are running a special, limited time offer, whatever you want to call it, so that they know they are getting a discounted rate. I would even tell them the quote of what it normally would be, but then say "But since I am running a special right now, your price will be $___!" They need to know what the cake they are getting is really worth. 

 

Also, I know you said you confirmed the details with her, but it's best to put all of the details on some kind of order form and have her sign off on it. You can even put a place for cake/cupcake stand, yes or no, so that even the use of the stand is clearly outlined on the order form. This way you can refer to the form if some question or issue arises. 

 

As far as the toppers go, it was nice of you to try to accommodate her, but in the future you need to have a hard and fast cut off point for design changes. 

 

And ALWAYS get payment in advance. ALWAYS. 
 

Beautiful work, btw! Don't let this experience get you down! :)

Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 2:33am
post #6 of

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I guess I should have mentioned the cake stand...good point BeesKnees....I just assumed she knew I wasn't going to be providing that and that is possibly where I went wrong. I honestly feel as though she threw that out there as a cheap excuse to not pay the additional amount. I was very clear with the conversations and had it all in writing, I think she might have forgotten as the days passed of what we really spoke about. As far as apologizing...that's tough. You are probably right...maybe I should apologize, but honestly, I am still so upset about it that I cant even think about apologizing. :-/

 

LKing12..you are absolute right about the contracts. Will take this into consideration going forward. This is the first time ever since I started baking that I have had an issue like this.

 

And Snotlocker...your right also; people who don't bake or do cakes like this will never understand the true value.

 

Thank you all for the replies. I truly appreciate it!

Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 2:37am
post #7 of

Thanks! That is a great idea. I will definitely start mentioning that in regards to the price going forward and really emphasize on what it is really worth. :-)

I don't want to come off as the cheap cake lady either. I value my work and I love what I do. I take into consideration every detail to make sure the cakes turn out wonderful. Something tells me these folks were either uneducated when it comes to this business or pulled a fast one on me and took advantage.

 

But thanks...you live and learn right? I will apply all of these great suggestions going forward to really secure myself in the future.

bct806 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 5:59am
post #8 of

Yeesh. Seems they were determined to be unhappy. The owls were cute. They look so good they probably didn't realize they were homemade. This isn't Walmart. I don't have a bunch of rings or plastic bobbles to put on top of a cupcake at a moments notice. You should definitely be clear in the future about anything in a picture that isn't included but other than that I don't think you really did anything wrong. 

cakealicious7 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 7:47am
post #9 of

AThat is taking the biscuit!! She couldn't make her mind up about the owls and then when you did include them,her husband complains that he thought you couldn't do them in the first place?!!!! Some people are just so ridiculous- really pretty cake/cupcakes though, like everybody else said don't let this experience get to you.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 11:47am

AI would have snatched those toppers right off the cupcakes! Seriously!

Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 6:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 

I would have snatched those toppers right off the cupcakes! Seriously!

Tell me about it!!! -

Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 6:11pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by bct806 

Yeesh. Seems they were determined to be unhappy. The owls were cute. They look so good they probably didn't realize they were homemade. This isn't Walmart. I don't have a bunch of rings or plastic bobbles to put on top of a cupcake at a moments notice. You should definitely be clear in the future about anything in a picture that isn't included but other than that I don't think you really did anything wrong. 

I will definitely make sure to do that in the future.

Laura2013 Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 6:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakealicious7 

That is taking the biscuit!! She couldn't make her mind up about the owls and then when you did include them,her husband complains that he thought you couldn't do them in the first place?!!!! Some people are just so ridiculous- really pretty cake/cupcakes though, like everybody else said don't let this experience get to you.

Thanks. I am over it now...I think. But I cant seem to look at the pictures and feel happy about it like I normally would. I will never forget the experience that's for sure!

Cita2679 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 7:32am

AI can completely understand. I had a customer reach out to me via email for a baby shower cake a month before the shower. I sketched and quoted her a price and after she agreed, I scheduled a meeting for the deposit and contract signing. Twice I rescheduled and both times she never showed. At this point she wasn't returning my emails or calls so I assumed she decided to order or maybe took her business elsewhere. FIVE days before the shower she calls me , apologizing and indicating she wanted the cake. Again I explained that now all monies were due and again she agreed. Well I never heard from her. I was shocked when I received a call in Saturday asking me if the cake was ready(!!!) I couldn't believe her. It was her shower and she started crying so I stupidly agreed to try and wipe something up. I actually was able to bake and fondant s two tier cake in 4 hrs (never again). Long story short, I receive a call from her friend telling me that thanks but no thanks. I apparently took to long to bake and decorate her last minute cake and they went and purchased a cake somewhere else. So lessons learned. Btw. Sorry so long but I still get upset with this situation and myself because I lost over $100 that day and they had the nerve to blame me. Some People truly don't understand the hard work that goes into each and every cake.

bct806 Posted 3 Jul 2013 , 4:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cita2679 

I can completely understand. I had a customer reach out to me via email for a baby shower cake a month before the shower. I sketched and quoted her a price and after she agreed, I scheduled a meeting for the deposit and contract signing. Twice I rescheduled and both times she never showed. At this point she wasn't returning my emails or calls so I assumed she decided to order or maybe took her business elsewhere. FIVE days before the shower she calls me , apologizing and indicating she wanted the cake. Again I explained that now all monies were due and again she agreed. Well I never heard from her. I was shocked when I received a call in Saturday asking me if the cake was ready(!!!) I couldn't believe her. It was her shower and she started crying so I stupidly agreed to try and wipe something up. I actually was able to bake and fondant s two tier cake in 4 hrs (never again). Long story short, I receive a call from her friend telling me that thanks but no thanks. I apparently took to long to bake and decorate her last minute cake and they went and purchased a cake somewhere else. So lessons learned. Btw. Sorry so long but I still get upset with this situation and myself because I lost over $100 that day and they had the nerve to blame me. Some People truly don't understand the hard work that goes into each and every cake.

Wow. Situations like that drive me crazy. I had someone do something similar. She contacted me about her baby shower cake, asked how much, seemed ok with it. Then she asked about some cupcakes. When it came time to pay, she disappeared. I later found out she was only 17 and had no job or money. Why even ask? Just dreaming I suppose.

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Laura2013 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cita2679 

I can completely understand. I had a customer reach out to me via email for a baby shower cake a month before the shower. I sketched and quoted her a price and after she agreed, I scheduled a meeting for the deposit and contract signing. Twice I rescheduled and both times she never showed. At this point she wasn't returning my emails or calls so I assumed she decided to order or maybe took her business elsewhere. FIVE days before the shower she calls me , apologizing and indicating she wanted the cake. Again I explained that now all monies were due and again she agreed. Well I never heard from her. I was shocked when I received a call in Saturday asking me if the cake was ready(!!!) I couldn't believe her. It was her shower and she started crying so I stupidly agreed to try and wipe something up. I actually was able to bake and fondant s two tier cake in 4 hrs (never again). Long story short, I receive a call from her friend telling me that thanks but no thanks. I apparently took to long to bake and decorate her last minute cake and they went and purchased a cake somewhere else. So lessons learned. Btw. Sorry so long but I still get upset with this situation and myself because I lost over $100 that day and they had the nerve to blame me. Some People truly don't understand the hard work that goes into each and every cake.

Seriously!!!! That makes me so angry! I cant believe people do that. Very inconsiderate on their behalf. I know now to def take payment before and have everything confirmed. Going forward I have made new changes that I plan to implement and be true to. No more Nice-Cake-Lady!!!

BeesKnees578 Posted 12 Jul 2013 , 9:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cita2679 

I can completely understand. I had a customer reach out to me via email for a baby shower cake a month before the shower. I sketched and quoted her a price and after she agreed, I scheduled a meeting for the deposit and contract signing. Twice I rescheduled and both times she never showed. At this point she wasn't returning my emails or calls so I assumed she decided to order or maybe took her business elsewhere. FIVE days before the shower she calls me , apologizing and indicating she wanted the cake. Again I explained that now all monies were due and again she agreed. Well I never heard from her. I was shocked when I received a call in Saturday asking me if the cake was ready(!!!) I couldn't believe her. It was her shower and she started crying so I stupidly agreed to try and wipe something up. I actually was able to bake and fondant s two tier cake in 4 hrs (never again). Long story short, I receive a call from her friend telling me that thanks but no thanks. I apparently took to long to bake and decorate her last minute cake and they went and purchased a cake somewhere else. So lessons learned. Btw. Sorry so long but I still get upset with this situation and myself because I lost over $100 that day and they had the nerve to blame me. Some People truly don't understand the hard work that goes into each and every cake.


This MAKES ME SICK to my stomach!  What nerve....I definitely would NOT have scrambled to make her happy.  Burns me to no end!  I hope you let your feelings be known, in the nicest way possible of course.  Either way, she'd probably bad-mouth you!  GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

howsweet Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 1:05am
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 

I disagree, I don't think you need to cut your prices just to get business, you are setting yourself up for trouble when you try to raise your prices back up to where they should be. When you don't charge enough, you attract this exact kind of customer- unreasonable, demanding, wants a whole lot for very little. 

 

If you really feel that you need to give people a "deal" to build your customer base in your new town, you need to communicate to them that you are running a special, limited time offer, whatever you want to call it, so that they know they are getting a discounted rate. I would even tell them the quote of what it normally would be, but then say "But since I am running a special right now, your price will be $___!" They need to know what the cake they are getting is really worth. 

 

Also, I know you said you confirmed the details with her, but it's best to put all of the details on some kind of order form and have her sign off on it. You can even put a place for cake/cupcake stand, yes or no, so that even the use of the stand is clearly outlined on the order form. This way you can refer to the form if some question or issue arises. 

 

As far as the toppers go, it was nice of you to try to accommodate her, but in the future you need to have a hard and fast cut off point for design changes. 

 

And ALWAYS get payment in advance. ALWAYS. 
 

Beautiful work, btw! Don't let this experience get you down! :)

That's pretty much what i was going to say. This part bears repeating: When you don't charge enough, you attract this exact kind of customer- unreasonable, demanding, wants a whole lot for very little.   I disagree about the special offer, in part because your price was not even half of what it probably should have been anyway.  Undercharging never benefits you and when you do so, it negatively effects the market price of cake. No storefront business could survive charging prices like that, but ironically many who hope to one day have a storefront are shooting themselves in the foot by lowering prices in the area and effectively creating a situation where a storefront cake business is no longer a viable business. it's happening, especially in smaller towns.  Bakers tend to have trouble believing that their one or two cakes per week effect market prices, but because there are so many out there undercharging, cumulatively it really does.

 

When showing a picture tell them what's not included. If something is added to the order, it's not added until a specific price for the addition has been agreed on.  And when you send them a receipt for their deposit, itemize exactly what was ordered.  I specialize in cc towers and I would have charged $160 for that order - not including the owl toppers or the tower. And that's with a slight discount on the the cake because of my business model.

 

It can be a real eye opener when a person starts in business... lots of people will bulldoze right over you and it's your job to see that they don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 

I would have snatched those toppers right off the cupcakes! Seriously!

I agree, I would not have left the order there without being paid in full. I'd have walked out with the whole thing.

AZCouture Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 2:19am

AAbsolutely true! When your prices are super cheap, you attract super cheap people with unreasonable expectations and attitude. Just pay attention the next time you see someone complaining about cheap customers, because it's almost guaranteed that their pricing is way too low. Those of us with pricing on the higher end of the scale rarely if ever deal with these types of people. It's completely in your control.

howsweet Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 4:23pm

I have to admit, that's my first thought when I hear someone complaining about cheap customers.

JSKConfections Posted 15 Jul 2013 , 5:10pm

Holy Moly!!! That is a horrible story!! Some people just don't get it.  If you forgot to order your cake from Walmart you going to call and yell at them?  I think not...

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