Hi everyone, I'm a cake central newbie, what's up?
So, I'm really frustrated right now .... I made a cake for a client, went terribly wrong first of all, had to make 3 batches of MMF and it just wasn't working out for me yesterday so I went out and bought fondant for the cake. Two tiers, antler cake toppers, huge realistic small mouth bass on the bottom tier. $70 deposit. I wouldn't even break even with this order IF she paid me in full because of the errors with my fondant. She paid me the deposit a few weeks ago, today when she came to pick up the cake she said she was sorry that she didn't have cash and told me she was sending the money by interac e-transfer as we spoke and even asked me what I wanted the secret question and answer to be. She left with the cake (and the rest of her order, 1 dozen cupcakes) and I trusted that she did send the transfer ... She works for the government (I could tell by her e-mail signatures from her work email) and we have mutual friends, though we have never met, so idiot me trusted her. The party is today at 5, so I'm sure she's busy (it's a surprise party) but I'm sure that she could have noticed my email asking about the transfer. What on earth do I do? I let her know that the transfer was not yet received in the email. I don't think it's an interac problem, as I got a transfer earlier today within 30 minutes of the client sending it. I need that money tomorrow morning, I was counting on her payment. UGH, I know that I shouldn't be making a cake without full payment but having the client pay for the rest of the cake when they come and pick it up has been okay so far and has never given me a problem.
Any suggestions? For the future, I think I learned my lesson, I just need some advice on how to deal with this client in particular. Do I keep bugging her for the money until I get it? Or do I call her? (I only have her work phone number).
AI always make people sign a contract, pay a deposit and have the remainder due within two weeks prior to the event, also when final changes can be made. That's more for cakes over $200. I won't make a cake until its paid for, because of situations like this-I don't care who it is. If you do let them pay at pickup I would only accept cash, I simply wouldn't leave the cake with them.
This is a difficult way to learn a lesson, I'm sorry this happened to you! I don't know anything about your payment system, is there a 1-800 number or customer service place? If you think that's the issue I'd check with them first, but it's probably not. I would send an invoice or call her. Do you have anything besides an email and work number? Do you have a contract? You should always get address, home and cell phones, email as much contact info as possible.
AYes I did have her sign a contract but she only included her work number on the contract.. Her order was very last minute so she was literally paying me my deposit a few days ago.. Im going to send another email :(
She just sent an e-mail saying "odd. I'll try again" ... hope it works, I think I bothered her. Won't be getting any more orders from this one, that's for sure. Pity, she was good with creative licensing.
AI wouldn't worry about bothering her. It is very much within your rights to question her when you haven't received payment she claimed to have sent.
AShe owes you money and she knows it. Why are you even worried that you might be bothering her?
AMaybe she really did try to pay you the first time, and something went wonky and it didn't go through. Unless there was more to the last email, I don't see what she said as seeming like it bothered her. She thought payment not going through was odd, & she'd try again. Don't writer her off yet. Unless there's more to the story, this could be a simple misunderstanding. Hopefully you get your money either way.
AYes, you are right to question why you didn't get your payment. Hopefully it's just a mix-up, she seemed to reply quickly. I'm not sure how others collect payment but I would insist on more info in the future as well as payment in full before pick up or drop off date. People are typically in a rush or not always present when the actual cake comes.
Good news! It was just a mix up after all. I received my payment. Sorry guys, just had a little panic attack because I thought I'd made my first business blunder in regards to payment!! Thank you for all of the advice, I will be sure to keep it in mind for any other orders that come my way.
AThat's good! Seriously consider some of the other tips about altering your contact or payment arrangements so you won't have to worry or go through this again ;)
I will for sure, I've already added a new clause to my contract.
Yes, but sadly my clients always seem to be the last minute type - with endless suggestions that they should book early, offering discounts and such, they're still asking "can I have a cake for this Saturday?" Um. No. You can't. Well, yeah. I guess you can. What do you want? "A ten tier cake covered in roses and peonies and -" Goodbye.
AI'd take control of that sooner than later. Nothing wrong with last minute if you can do it, but they should be willing to drop what they're doing and pay you immediately if they want that cake. Last minute [B]and[/B] they get to pay at delivery? Oh heck no. If they can't put the effort out to pay you ahead, then they don't deserve your services. Period.
Haha thank you. You have a very good point! I'll definitely keep that in mind. Maybe last minute orders have to pay in full instead of a deposit?
Anything with less than 2 weeks notice must be paid in full or NO CAKE. Also, let them know that there is no refunds and no more changes to the order at that point.
I'd take control of that sooner than later. Nothing wrong with last minute if you can do it, but they should be willing to drop what they're doing and pay you immediately if they want that cake. Last minute and they get to pay at delivery? Oh heck no. If they can't put the effort out to pay you ahead, then they don't deserve your services. Period.
Yes. We have last minute orders all the time, but we still get payment IN FULL in advance, even if they are just ordering a basic birthday cake for the next day (we do a lot of those since we are a storefront). If we don't have full payment, we don't bake the cake.
In God we trust all else pay cash.... nothing goes out unless it's been paid for. Tell them sorry the rule was set up by your accountant ( or whoever) and it's ironclad. Will Mickey D or Pizza pizza let you take food home and then come back to pay.
Glad it turned out well.
In the past I have had a 50% deposit minimum to secure their date and the remaining paid at pick up (paid 100% in full for delivery) I had some people show up without payment. they left without the cake. Some came back and some didn't (I did still have 50% deposit to at least cover my ingredient/supply cost, but not all my overhead). Now I require payment in full in advance for 99% of my clientel (some family/friends still pay upon delivery/pick up in full..... but that is a VERY select few)
No matter HOW last minute my orders are, I don't crack the first egg until payment is received in full. No money, no cake!
I've changed my terms and conditions after having been in business for a couple of years, so that all cake clients pay a deposit to secure their date on booking, then my terms are that the balance is due a month before the event. I used to say `two weeks', but if anything goes wrong with the payment sometimes two weeks is only just enough time to get it sorted out. I don't want to be out of pocket if someone isn't going to pay and, perhaps more important, I don't want my clients to have a recent memory of me chasing them for payment which might impinge on their enjoyment of my cake. If everything is paid up at least a couple of weeks before, memories of being chased for money will have hopefully faded a bit!
For last minute cakes I get them to pay in full with the order. I offer them the choice between a bank transfer or PayPal (thank heaven for PayPal it's been a godsend!). No payment, no order - it's as simple as that. I invoice them by email with payment options set out in the message. I used to find it hard asking people for money but I've been practising and getting better at it. If you choose your words carefully you can do it without sounding too pushy.
In response to some recent experiences, I'm going to change how I handle cake stand hire too. I'll get the client to tell me who is to be responsible for getting the stand back to me on time, and give me contact details for that person. If a bride has ordered the wedding cake she'll often need to get someone else to return the stand as she'll be on honeymoon and this has sometimes been a problem. I already take a deposit, but I think I'll also start sending separate documentation about stand hire and return.
If you get this type of thing right at the very start of the order process the whole transaction will go more smoothly and professionally. When I was a complete newbie I didn't have any real disasters but that was more luck than judgment...