Number2daughter Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 5:44pm
post #1 of

Hi everyone! Been a fan of CC for a couple of years now. Have enjoyed the humor,the humbleness and the talent of so many great professionals- but most of all the wise advice I have gleaned from so many of you. I have had my own shop now for 2 1/2 years and what a learning experience it has been! I finally  find myself facing a situation that made me get my own account so I could ask your advice. Here is my dilemma-I have an order from a customer who was referred by another bakery (often get referrals from them because they "book up" with orders and recommend my shop). Took the order and informed her I would need X amount of money for a deposit-she didn't have that much on her that day so I accepted a smaller amount with the understanding I would need X amount more by a certain date to consider her order placed ( I also get "booked" and she wanted to be sure she would have a cake). She calls the last day possible to give me her card number for the remaining deposit and ends the call with these words" It better look nice or I'm not paying". I am left feeling that no matter what kind of a job I do it will be wrong and she won't pay for the rest of the cake. I am going to spend the time required to do the order right but in the end it won't matter because she will not be happy regardless so I will have wasted my time and efforts. How to proceed? Thanks in advance for your responses.

31 replies
jason_kraft Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:04pm
post #2 of

AHave her pay the remainder of her balance in cash a week or so before the order is due. If you don't already have a signed contract, get one when she pays the balance.

The other alternative if you really get a bad feeling from this customer would be to return her deposit, apologize, say that you don't feel you can meet her needs at this time, and wish her the best of luck with her event.

AZCouture Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:11pm
post #3 of
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

The other alternative if you really get a bad feeling from this customer would be to return her deposit, apologize, say that you don't feel you can meet her needs at this time, and wish her the best of luck with her event.

If you do this, you might get an angry call or have to deal with her one more time, but you definitely won't be stressing out while you make her cake or holding your breath after the event wondering if you're going to get an angry call. I don't work with people who act like that, I just don't. I've returned a deposit before after some comments were made that I didn't care for.

melmar02 Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:13pm
post #4 of

ARed flag!

What did she order? Is it something you can sell in the case if she doesn't come through with payment? Do you have a signed contract?

What about replying with a statement that you sense concern on her part and advise her to look at your website to see the quality of your work. If she is not satisfied with those examples you can cancel her order; however, payment is due in full by x date (Prior to the pick up/ delivery date of course) or the order is cancelled.

therealmrsriley Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:16pm
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I agree with the above posters. If you're concerned about not getting payment, have the balance paid in full at least a week or two prior to the event.


I'm sorry, that remark from the customer would have left a bad taste in my mouth. That's way too much pressure and it was down right rude. I would be leaning towards returning the money she has paid and let her know you're not available to do her cake. Just think, you had a hard time getting the deposit out of her. I can't imagine trying to get the remainder paid. Like you said, even if you do a great job, there's a chance this customer may dig up a complaint as a reason to not pay. You don't need that.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:25pm
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Return the deposit and cancel the order.  Explain that based on your last conversation you do not feel she is going to be happy with your work no matter what you do and that you are no longer able to work with her as a client.

Number2daughter Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 6:27pm
post #7 of

Here's my problem-order is due this weekend! I have a contract for wedding cakes but did not want to think they would be necessary for other cakes-my mistake I know. A cake is a cake,regardless of the event-right?! May take Jason and Melmar02's advice and ask her to look at my other work and if she's not confident then we need to part ways.

MimiFix Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:01pm
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I can understand everyone's concern, but none of us know this customer. She may have simply made a thoughtless remark. (Nothing we would ever do, right?)

sixinarow Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:19pm
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AJust trying to clarify--the cake is for this weekend? When do you require the balance to be paid?

Number2daughter Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:46pm

My policy is that the deposit be paid 2 weeks before the order is due-but didn't hold to that with this customer-with her attitude from the beginning I felt "bullied" and gave her an extension on time. I did contact her on the deposit due date to find out if she still wanted the order but had trouble getting her to respond, when she did, I allowed the extra time. It is all becoming crystal clear to me that I have no one to blame but myself for the circumstances I now find myself in-if I had stuck to my policy the situation would have worked the way it should-that's why we have these rules-right? I find myself at odds having to decide what to do sometimes-I am still growing my relatively new business and need customers and their business but do I have to go to any length to please them? Sorry for the musing...mama never told me how hard this might be!! Ha.

Number2daughter Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 7:51pm

Sorry sixinarow-just realized the question was about the balance-my policy is that it is due on pick-up. But that will be changing-I see the wisdom of having the order paid in full beforehand.

therealmrsriley Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 8:07pm

@ Number2, don't beat yourself up about this. It may not turn out as badly as we speculate. You said you're starting to grow your business. These are things that are better to learn in the beginning instead of down the road. If the cake is due this weekend, I hope you'll update us on how everything goes once it's over. What kind of cake is it?

maybenot Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 11:21pm

Well, if you're committed to completing the cake and accepting payment at delivery, then I'd tell her NOW that it's CASH IN FULL at delivery--ONLY.  She also is told that there are no refunds.  If she balks at that, then NO CAKE.  If she fusses at delivery, then the cake goes back out the door with me and it gets delivered to the firehouse or the police department as a thank-you for their services.

ccenter1 Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 11:30pm

AI'm with the others. I've had customers like this and they are never happy no matter what. Even if she pays for the cake that day she is likely to call later to complain about something. I would try to cancel the order. If you can't cancel the order I would already have a plan in mind just incase she decides not to pay when she picksup the cake. It's not worth stressing over if you don't have too. And that's time you could spend making your other customers cakes more beautiful.

dawnybird Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 11:31pm
Originally Posted by maybenot 

Well, if you're committed to completing the cake and accepting payment at delivery, then I'd tell her NOW that it's CASH IN FULL at delivery--ONLY.  She also is told that there are no refunds.  If she balks at that, then NO CAKE.  If she fusses at delivery, then the cake goes back out the door with me and it gets delivered to the firehouse or the police department as a thank-you for their services.

That comment would have made me so angry I would have cancelled the order then and there. I would have told her that I don't appreciate being threatened.  I don't have a cake business (just a hobby baker), but my husband and I do have a business raising and selling  animals and I would never let someone talk to me like that. I wish you well with whatever happens. I hope it turns out well for you, I truly do.

cakesbycathy Posted 21 Aug 2013 , 11:52pm

At this point I think it is too late to cancel the order.  Unfortunately this is is live and learn situation.  I would call her and tell her you can only accept cash for the balance of her payment.  IF she gives you a hard time at all I would say "I'm sorry you are unhappy and I understand if you do not want your cake.  I will not be able to issue you a refund."  If you aren't good at confrontation I would suggest having your husband or someone who has a better backbone (no disrespect to you!) be there when she picks up the cake and let them handle her.

kikiandkyle Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 12:31am

AWhen did this call take place?

If I were you I'd call before you start baking to remind her that she will need to bring cash when she picks the cake up. You may also want to have her sign something when she picks it up mentioning that once it's out of your bakery, it's her responsibility etc, you can call it a receipt or something.

Smckinney07 Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 12:50am

AIn the future I would insist on a contract regardless of the event, this isn't always something that needs to be done face to face you can email, fax, etc. Stand up for yourself, this is your business and you want to be successful you need to be in control!

Did she send you a picture or sketch from the other baker? Do you have a clear idea of what she wants? She might be nervous about going with a new baker, she might be a jerk...Call her tonight and remind her payment is due when she picks up the cake, finalize all details (say it sounded like she had concerns last time you spoke, and you want this cake to exceede her expectations),have her sign some invoice when she picks up the cake & don't you dare let her leave without paying for it-not with that cake anyway! This has all been stated above by other members.

Don't let her intimidate you, as long as you feel like you can complete the cake youll be fine. Let us know

reginaherrin Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 1:47am

Even if she does happen to pay, she still could dispute the deposit and/or the balance if you do accept her credit card with her cc company.  I totally hate people like this that think they have the upper hand always and can do as they please regardless if they hurt someone else for no reason.

Godot Posted 22 Aug 2013 , 6:42pm

ALet us know how it goes!

Number2daughter Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:32am




Letting everyone know how the order turned out....Yes,she paid. How satisfied was she?- said I would be getting all of their "service" from now on....I can be my own worst critic and know I could have done some things better so I don't know how satisfied I am....just glad to have this experience behind me! Thanks for all the encouragement to stand up for myself (hard to do sometimes when you've just turned 24 and have the weight of owning your own business on your shoulders icon_smile.gif.) Lesson learned...wonder what's next!

reginaherrin Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:42am

I think you may have attached the wrong photo since that is a pink cake box cake.

Number2daughter Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:43am

Nooooooo!...I attached the wrong picture! I'm not trying to pass off someone else's work as my own!! I wanted to attach both so you could see what the customer wanted and then see what I actually did for her...I didn't realize the second picture wasn't attached. And now I get "temporary error" message when I try to attach my picture... ARGH! Think I'll stick to decorating cakes instead of computers!

reginaherrin Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:45am

That totally what I thought.  I would love to see your version.

Number2daughter Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:47am



Hmmm...did it work?

reginaherrin Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:51am

It looks great, you should be very proud of that.  I totally love the bug juice bottle, very cute.

lcubed83 Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:52am


Stephr29 Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 1:59am

AIt worked... Great job! I'm new to selling my cakes and find the money issue to be the most stressful. Kudos for opening your own shop too BTW.

kikiandkyle Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 2:10am

AGlad it all worked out, although I don't know if I'd be so happy about getting all their business from now on!

(Also you know you need permission from Sony to make a Playstation cake right?)

cakegrandma Posted 28 Aug 2013 , 2:33am

Your cake turned out beautiful! In the future I would have everyone sign contracts and I would also have cakes paid for at least 2 weeks in advance.  If she should happen to inquire as to why she is being asked to sign a contract now I would just tell her that someone has stated they would pay upon delivery and you could not collect the balance due.  She doesn't need to know what why you are actually changing your rules.  Good luck in the future with her orders and your business.

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