Learning the Hard Way

Business By Kdeabs Updated 1 Nov 2013 , 4:49pm by Phaedramax

Kdeabs Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 5:14pm
post #1 of 34

As someone who is attempting to make their way into the competitive world of cakes, I'm sure (or hope) I'm not the first person to make this mistake...


A mutual friend of mine approached me about making her wedding cake. I was ecstatic! So far, I'd only gotten business for small things. I knew I could pull it off since I'd assisted on wedding cakes at other bakeries. The difference? This time, the money would be going directly into my pocket instead of someone else' while I continue to make an hourly wage. The couple whose cake I made are not incredibly rich. Their wedding was VERY low key. And I knew the only reason they approached me was because they knew I would work with them with payments. And I did. I agreed to let the bride make payments to me (over the course of 3 weeks) so that they wouldnt be SO strapped for cash. No big deal. 1 week BEFORE the wedding, I got the first payment. No problem. It has now been 2 weeks SINCE THE WEDDING and I have not received any more payments. And I'm starting to feel like I'm not going to. I've texted her and all she says is "Blah blah blah, mix up with vacation pay, blah blah blah, I have to see when I can pay you next, blah blah blah." I think she is just waiting for me to go away so she can say she got a cake for nothing.


If anyone has advice on how to handle this further, by all means, let me know!

But more than that, share your stories on lessons that you had to learn the hard way!

Misery loves company :(

33 replies
liz at sugar Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 5:20pm
post #2 of 34

ATell her you need payment within 36 hours or you will send balance due to a collection agency.


scorpio1966 Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 5:25pm
post #3 of 34

yup, I'm with Liz, time to get tough!



Gees Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:01pm
post #4 of 34

No hagas el pastel!

Don't make the cake!

Norasmom Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:07pm
post #5 of 34

Too bad we can't re-possess cakes!  Definitely go after her with a collection agency, or find someone who sounds like a collection agency to call her.  I hope you at least made enough to cover your supplies and ingredients

leah_s Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:09pm
post #6 of 34

And this is why we always say, "Don't turn on the oven until you are paid in full."

CONFECTIONERIE Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:29pm
post #7 of 34

That's such a bummer! Especially since it sounds like you were doing her a favor from the start.  Next time I would get it in writing that a payment plan has been agreed upon, with signatures from both parties and clearly outlined time frame.  Maybe even get it notarized.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:30pm
post #8 of 34

AYou could also offer to waive the late fee if the remaining balance is in your hands in cash within 24 hours.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:42pm
post #9 of 34

what i do is call them at work ;) and this is why i chat folks up during the consult about who works where ;) rarely do i need to do this but i am going to be paid--and if she writes a bad check we can work on that too--


when you call--you cannot say that this in regard to a debt if you speak to anyone but her for example not to any random person  who answers the phone not to the receptionist nor to her supervisor-- if you are told by her or her super not to call her work again--you have to honor that and stop calling but otherwise you can call once or twice a week--even getting through once will shake the s out of her--even just getting a message to her through work or from her mom or dad or husband--did you get the wedding coordinator's #--was she married at a church or a meeting place where she's a member--her apartment complex clubhouse or any connection like that?


you can give your name and the name of your business and your phone number--


but if it's not her on the phone though don't mention the debt--just leave a message that it's important that she call you--if they ask you to stop calling--stop immediately--but continue to call her on her personal phone--


remain pleasant and professional and simply ask for the balance due--over and over and over--


sure you can chalk it up to a loss for being new but i would not--


everybody who thinks it's awful to have to do this i agree with you--


i doubt there's a collection agency that would take a one of thing like this--i don't know-- but i do know you can do it yourself--get your frkn money!

-K8memphis Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:43pm
post #10 of 34

increase the late fee

-K8memphis Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 6:53pm
post #11 of 34

oh and for that matter--just get cash like jason said--if by some chance you take her check out of desperation -- cash it in person for CASH at the bank where her account is located--do NOT deposit her check into your account--especially if you both bank at the same bank--CASH IT for green dollar bill money--


if she fails to sign the check properly or whatever--do NOT write on the front of her check in any way shape or form--even if she tells you to--


her bank will call her for you when you present the check--hopefully while she's at work  :grin:

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 7:37pm
post #12 of 34

AHere's the thing - your friends are going to think you should have just done the cake for free. If you start making life hard for her when she's publicly known to be short on cash, you'll be the one who comes out with the bad name.

This is why you don't do favors for people that you can't trust 100% to appreciate it. You are entitled to get every penny you owed of course, no doubt about it, but most people don't understand what is involved with making a custom cake and I doubt your friends are any different from the sound of it.

maybenot Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 9:00pm
post #14 of 34

Send her a demand letter, including a late fee, by certified mail. 

Give her 10 days to pay and accept cash, or a USPS money order, only as payment. 


When she doesn't pay, take her to small claims court for the balance and put a lien against her if she doesn't pay the judgement. 


If nothing else, she'll tell people that you don't mess around. 


And never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever deliver a cake without payment in full again.

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 9:41pm
post #15 of 34

AI didn't say it was right for her friend to walk all over her like this, only that there would be repercussions if she tries to rectify her mistake of not being more professional upfront and getting paid before she turned on the oven.

I think it's disgusting when friends take advantage of people's kindness like this. And I hate it even more when their other friends don't back them up, but I see it all the time.

When you start threatening people you know with collection agencies and court action it is never going to end well. That's just the reality of it.

Kdeabs Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 9:45pm
post #16 of 34

All great input, thanks.


I'm not sure how much of a legal claim I can make since I do this out of my house. At the moment, I'm just being very persistent about keeping communication open. Even simple "When is your next day off so we can get coffee and catch up?" I know it seems passive, and it is, but I figure as long as she is still responding to me AT ALL, there is still a chance.


But one thing is for sure, I'm getting paid up front from here on out.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 9:49pm
post #17 of 34


Original message sent by Kdeabs

I'm not sure how much of a legal claim I can make since I do this out of my house.

Why wouldn't you be able to make a legal claim? As long as you are a legal business licensed according to local laws you should be fine.

Although if you don't have a contract you may need to fall back on other written communication between yourself and the customer.

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 10:54pm
post #20 of 34

ALook I agree that it's completely unfair to the OP that her friend has abused her naivety in this way. I never said it was fair or right or OK at all. I'm simply trying to say that if the op does decide to take this further, they should be prepared for the fallout.

kikiandkyle Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 10:59pm
post #21 of 34

AI would just be honest and say "look, I don't want to be a pain but I need to get paid. I was happy to accept installments but the rest is long overdue. I'm sure it's just an oversight on your part, which is why I'm reminding you." At which point the ball is in her court.

liz at sugar Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 11:04pm
post #22 of 34

Well, it isn't too late to put something in writing.  Send her a written invoice, showing the original total, minus her payment, and stamp a big red PAST DUE in the center of it.  Keep a copy in case it comes to the point that you do need a paper trail.  Or take her a promissory note to sign with a payment plan listed on it.  If she doesn't make good on it, take her to small claims court.


I'm sorry if my tone sounds harsh.  I know you've already learned from this, and just don't want you to be taken advantage of.



BatterUpCake Posted 24 Oct 2013 , 11:25pm
post #23 of 34

If you have any emails or texts then you have something in writing. Especially if you ask her for the money owed and she does not come back with a "what are you talking about? I don't owe you money"

Godot Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 5:04am
post #24 of 34

ADeadbeat git.

morganchampagne Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 5:28am
post #25 of 34


Original message sent by Godot

Deadbeat git.

Lol!!!! I live off these little sayings of yours Godot. "Ungrateful cow" is my favorite.

So sorry this happened to you OP, you've gotten some really good advice so far

MBalaska Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 7:05am
post #26 of 34

" I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today". .

Godot Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 7:49am
post #27 of 34


Original message sent by morganchampagne

Lol!!!! I live off these little sayings of yours Godot. "Ungrateful cow" is my favorite.

Aw shucks.

▶scrapes toe in dirt◀

CakeChemistry Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 9:59am
post #28 of 34

AThis woman isn't a friend. Tell her you need the money and you will pop over for it now.

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 11:34am
post #29 of 34

AGodot you're not British are you?

Claire138 Posted 25 Oct 2013 , 11:42am
post #30 of 34

Quote by @%username% on %date%