Unpriced Cake ......customer Not Satified

Business By Sweet_Treatz Updated 23 Mar 2014 , 8:45pm by costumeczar

Sweet_Treatz Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 3:08pm
post #1 of 14

Hi Everyone


First of all I was asked backed in September to do a cake for a 60th birthday party in March

I agreed and explained my policy for deposit..which is 1/2 at the time you sign the contract and the remainder 2 weeks prior to the engagement date. But I made a lot of mistakes .....

First of all this was a co-worker, she kept telling me she would get the deposit together however I didn't get a deposit until last Monday...she saying her sister wanted to change the cake to a bigger bottom tier and when i explain that it would cost more, they didn't want to change it again and at the last minute they changed the design...the cake had edible images on it .....I got the pictures about a week and half before the cake was due, when I had been asking for weeks....then they wanted the pictures back two days later because they needed the pictures to do something with...it was really a pain

but I still did it

well this is where I failed.......they originally ordered a 3 tier 10/8/6 and 150 red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing

when given the price they changed to a 2 tier.....I added the 3rd tier and strawberry filling as a bonus( NO CHARGE)  I went out and bought an edible image printer for this project and  cake stackers....I charged these people $3 a slice and  $.75 per c/c ...$320

oh I also purchased a #60 monogram for the topper, because remember they changed the design so the monogram was last minute... that cost $17

All of this, of course I made no profit....delivered the cake (NO CHARGE) didn't ask for a deposit for cake stacker and silver cake stand...all because this is my coworker........trying to help out and be nice even though I know this is my business and personal and business are two different things, I understand all of that

Before I tell you how I really got kicked in the behind....I need to say this: I worked a full time job 3pm-1130pm...prior to the event date the only day I had off was last Wednesday so I bake the cakes that day,

Thursday before I went to work ....I started doing the prep work for the fondant banner.....Friday morning I drove 100 miles(one way) to get the bags of filling(that I didn't charge for) got home around noon, baked 6 dozen c/c before going to work at 3pm, got off at  1130 and baked the remaining c/c and started putting the cake together....I went to bed at 630am had the cake delivered by 1230pm(no charge) back at work at 3pm

only to get a text from my coworker telling me her sisters were disappointed in the cake.

I am so hurt...this just happened yesterday....no explanation in the text...no response when I asked why?

I know that I'm rambling but I'm hurt and pissed. I  went over and beyond and I didn't profit at all. All I got was a kick the rear.

please I need some encouragement.



13 replies
Godot Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 3:25pm
post #2 of 14

AYou should have (and could have!) nipped this in the bud from the very beginning.

If you're going to be in business you really need to set guidelines for yourself and follow them - no matter who the client is.

Think of it as a lesson learned - and for goodness sake take control of the situation next time.

leah_s Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 3:43pm
post #3 of 14

AYep, you just paid your tuition in the cake school of business.

leah_s Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 3:45pm
post #4 of 14

AAnd if a slice of cake is $3 the cupcakes should be the same/similar price.

OneHotMess Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 5:27pm
post #5 of 14

I'm compulsively following the threads in this section of the forums in order to learn what (not) to do when I get to the point of being able to open a business, what research needs to be done, how to position myself, etc...and I'm blown away every time something like this happens.


She got something for nothing and then wanted it for free? Bwa? How does that work? I am going to apply that logic to all aspects of everyday life, and when the cops show up to arrest me for fraud, theft, and general butt-ness, I will tell them I learned it all from my local bakers.


For those of you who have been doing this for a long time, how did you deal with it? Is it that people prey on new businesses, or are the new businesses setting the bar low enough to indicate, via neon lights and blinking signs, that they are waiting to be scammed?

Godot Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 5:39pm
post #6 of 14

AThis would never have become an issue because I am very professional and I don't let clients use me as their own personal doormat.

Sweet_Treatz Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 5:50pm
post #7 of 14

I have been in doing this out of my home for 8 yrs and I 've never had this problem

I moved recently and business was kind of slow because I'm in the process of building new clientele

so I thought this would be a way to get my business out there, I let my coworker know that she got a cake for potentially nothing and this is normally not how I do business

I guess nice and desperation got the best of me. but it is a lesson learned

MimiFix Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 6:09pm
post #8 of 14

OP, it's possible to be a nice person and a good business person, all at the same time. I hope you've learned that desperation should never drive your actions.

leah_s Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 6:10pm
post #9 of 14

I worked my cake biz for 12 years out of my (licensed) home and never had a problem like this.  But, I don't suffer fools, so I didn't get customers like this.  I had inquires that started off like this, but I never let them become customers, if you get my drift.


One of the hardest lessons that new cakers (or anyone else in a new business) has to learn and understand is that ALL business is not GOOD business.  


I had an inquiry from another small biz owner, also in the food biz.  I quoted a price for a large graduation cake.  She replied with "That much for a cake?"  Yeah, I didn't even respond to that nonsense.  Next time I want a sandwich and I go to her biz, I think I'll say "That much for a sandwich?"

BeesKnees578 Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 6:15pm
post #10 of 14

If you ever, and I doubt you will, decide to be so generous again, have THEM bring all the stuff to you, at least!


Sorry this happened to you, but man....


I hope this doesn't end up hurting your business because now she can talk around town about the cake that didn't meet her expectations - because her expections were ALL over the place and not reigned in by you.


Contract:  Any and all changes made to the design by the customer after contract has been signed will result in a re-design fee of X%, as well as charges for additional materials and time needed to complete the new design, if necessary.  NO CHANGES MAY BE MADE less than XX weeks prior to event date.


That way, you are still making more money even if the design is less complicated than originally agreed upon.  And no....they do not get a "refund" on a less complicated design.  You were expecting $XX and you will get $XX (or more! for them being PITAs).

Sweet_Treatz Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 6:26pm
post #11 of 14

Thank you guys so much for the responses

Feeling Much Better

OneHotMess Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 7:35pm
post #12 of 14


Originally Posted by Sweet_Treatz 

I have been in doing this out of my home for 8 yrs and I 've never had this problem

I moved recently and business was kind of slow because I'm in the process of building new clientele

so I thought this would be a way to get my business out there, I let my coworker know that she got a cake for potentially nothing and this is normally not how I do business

I guess nice and desperation got the best of me. but it is a lesson learned


But I don't get it...after eight years, why would you drop prices and your personal expectations for what makes a good client, just to get business/get your name out there? Wouldn't that likely attract the wrong type of client, a la "Hey, this baker makes four-tier cakes with fondant figures and gumpaste flowers for $1.50/slice, ask for her any time you need a cake within five days of your event!"

I understand having a special or a promotion; likely many bakers here have done so in order to demonstrate a new technique, try out a filling or frosting or flavor, etc...but if it becomes a way of doing business, isn't that a wee titch problematic? Or am I completely missing the cake for the candles on this one?

Further, how do you get a customer to understand the difference between, "This is a special," and "You are special, snowflake." Nobody should have to deal with any special snowflakes. Blech.

ugcjill Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 8:03pm
post #13 of 14

To attract the clients who are willing to pay the right amount of money for quality product: Raise your prices.


Whenever you think about special promotions to entice new business, ask yourself if you are offering the promotional deal to the right audience. Will the discount bring in the orders you want and the clients you are targeting? The answer is almost always no.


Never respond to a request while you have stars in your eyes. It's an ego boost to think that someone wants to try your cake. That's nice, but you smile and say, "I'm honored you would think of me, but I deal with order requests separately, you can place a request with this email address and I will get back to you with a quote." Don't respond until you are in a professional frame of mind.


Rename "practice cakes" as "training" and always think of it that way. No cake should ever end up nice enough to give away.

If you want to get the most from your practice, here's how it should go:


First, make your full cake practicing your new technique. Take lots of pictures and make lots of notes including time, quantities, what was difficult, and what can be improved.


Now that you have a fully decorated cake, damage it and make repairs. Take more notes.


Then do something terrible that you can't repair. See how well you can hide it.


Take it apart, put it back together. Put it in a box and treat it badly so you have to improvise a quick fix. Write down all the things you needed for these eventualities and put all these items in a to-go kit, because sooner or later you will deliver a cake damaged and will need to fix it. This practice time will make the difference between a paycheck and a Cake Wrecks entry.


Then throw it away. Because you were training and you're done now.

costumeczar Posted 23 Mar 2014 , 8:45pm
post #14 of 14

AThe only time I've ever had problems like this is when the client was really demanding. People like that are never satisfied, so you're asking for trouble dealign with them. When someone starts making changes at the last minute is when you either say no or tell them there will be an extra charge for that. But you really shouldn't have even let it go as far as her not paying the deposit until right before the event...it sounds like you know that, though!

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