Can I Say No?

Business By katies135 Updated 21 May 2014 , 5:18pm by johnson6ofus

katies135 Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 9:49pm
post #1 of 42

AToday I was asked if I have any availability for some time in May which I confirmed I did. The lady who asked I have since discovered is the most rude and obnoxious person I have ever spoken to! She asked for a quote which I gave her, she then asked if it's even going to be any good!? And asked to see photos of what I've done before so I sent them. She then said you've quoted me £65 now quote me a reasonable price, to which I said I couldn't go any lower for that cake (I have previously said give me a budget and I'll work to that) she then said she'll go ahead if I give her £10 if she collects it.. Which I declined as she lives 2 minutes away! And now she's saying she'll have it for £65 if I add loads of other stuff on which I also declined so then she agreed to £65 but in all honesty I really don't want to work with her. I can see it ending very badly.. She seems like the sort of person that is never happy.. Is there any way of me telling her no after I've told her I'm available?

41 replies
MimiFix Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 9:57pm
post #2 of 42

She sounds like big trouble waiting to happen. I have little patience with these types of customers. You don't want to tell her she's a jacka$$? Well then, tell her thank you very much, you are now booked. 

katies135 Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 9:59pm
post #3 of 42

ADo you think that will be ok? As she only said about an hour ago that she's happy to go ahead for the £65 I don't know if it's believable

costumeczar Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 10:01pm
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Seriously...Either tell her you're booked, or just say that you don't bargain for your cake pricing, and since she's obviously not happy with your price you're referring her to _______. (Fill in the name of a baker you don't like.) Then stick to it and don't do the cake for her no matter how she starts to complain and moan about it.

as you wish Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 10:22pm
post #5 of 42

ADo not make this "lady" a cake! You will surely regret it. I understand how you feel, having said you are available it feels wrong to now say that you cannot do it. I get that. However, being worried that she will be upset is just playing into her hand. Like you said, she is not going to be happy no matter what, so why worry about upsetting her? If it were me, rather than tell her I am booked (because she might just suspect that her demands put you off and try to get a friend to order for her; I've had that happen before!) I would tell her that you don't feel you will be able to satisfy her and must therefore decline the order.

katies135 Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 10:31pm
post #6 of 42

AAh yeah that's great thanks! :)

katies135 Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 10:35pm
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AI've said to her that I don't feel I can meet her expectations on this occasion... What do I do if she asks what I mean?!

Relznik Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 10:58pm
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I would say that from your previous conversations, you can tell she has very exacting expectations of this cake and whilst you have never had reason to doubt your abilities in the past, and nor have you ever had any complaints you feel that she may be better choosing another cake maker.

 

Hopefully, she'll be able to read between the lines and realise what a PITA she's been and that you don't want to deal with her!

as you wish Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 11:19pm
post #9 of 42

A

Original message sent by Relznik

I would say that from your previous conversations, you can tell she has very exacting expectations of this cake and whilst you have never had reason to doubt your abilities in the past, and nor have you ever had any complaints you feel that she may be better choosing another cake maker.

Hopefully, she'll be able to read between the lines and realise what a PITA she's been and that you don't want to deal with her!

Yes, this sounds good. I doubt that she will ask though; don't worry too much about it. If she persists just be firm, say no, and terminate communication.

howsweet Posted 10 Apr 2014 , 11:28pm
post #10 of 42

I disagree with those who say a customer who is difficult at first will always remain so. If you're confident in your product, there's no reason not to go ahead and do it, but stick to your guns about price and how payment is made. You don't have to like every person you make cake for.

 

In my experience, when a customer is difficult at first, they tend to compensate for it when they get the cake because part of the reason they were difficult is that they were terrified the cake wasn't going to be awesome.  Sometimes they are just people who've had bad experiences elsewhere.

 

However, if you are already undercharging for this cake, say, charging less than a store front bakery would,  then she's much more likely to be a user that will always be a pain in the neck. By definition, people who hunt around and find someone to do cake at a price that's unfair to the person doing it are jerks.

 

If she's from a part of the world like the middle east where this is how every transaction is done, she's just doing business as usual and you should try to ignore this. It's frustrating for people who are used to doing business this way to always be paying the full price. Sometimes I'll give them $10 off just to make them feel better. (like $10 off a $375 cake).

 

Good luck. :) 

maybenot Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 3:10am
post #11 of 42

ALife is stressful enough without having to deal with nut jobs. Tell her you're now unavailable for her date and if she makes it an issue, just ignore any attempts at repeated contact.

AZCouture Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 3:13am
post #12 of 42

AShe sounds like a big fat jerk, and I'd be sure that there would be something wrong with your cake (by her standards), no matter what. But in general, I agree with howsweet. Don't have to like everyone, and if you do make this cake, make sure your policies are well understood and take great care with the order.

One of my best clients started out her first request to me with suspicion and apprehension. Soooo many questions, so much hesitation, but I met every question and concern with polite answers and clarification. Turns out, she had a bad experience with a pretty well known cake shop in Los Angeles where she lives. Long story short, it's now four years later and I can always count on her PayPal for two cakes for her niece and nephew when she drives down for their birthdays.

I have yet to actually meet this woman, she's never there when I deliver the cakes.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 3:31am
post #13 of 42

If all is said and done and you have a SIGNED AGREEMENT I would say just go a head with it.  If she has physically signed a paper acknowledging what is going to be put on her cake, at the end of the day she will really have only herself to blame no matter how much she whines or moans about it during or after the fact.  You stuck to your guns with your pricing, so for that I would like to say bravo!

 

Personally, I don't really turn down or cancel orders after money has changed hands.  But if you are dead set on dropping this one and you haven't collected money yet, I would firmly set a deposit date, and if she doesn't meet it tell her sayanara.  Simple and well within your businesses rights.  

katies135 Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 8:27am
post #14 of 42

AHmm I agree with all of your replies. She found a picture of a cake she liked on google and wanted the exact replica, she even stated that she wants the exact same colours and repeated it over and over. I've said I'm not doing it due to the fact she seems very specific in what she wants and I can't guarantee the exact same colours as I did not make the cake she has found the picture of... She is now bombarding me with messages telling me to do it. Is it rude for me to say to her that she was unhappy with the price I quoted all along and in my experience people who arnt happy with the price in the first place never seem to be happy with the final product

Relznik Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 8:58am
post #15 of 42

Hmmmm....  I would RUN.

 

Even when I make a cake that I've made before, it's never EXACTLY the same.  And as for colours, you can get as close a match as possible, but you can never guarantee an absolute EXACT colour match.  I always tell my customers this when I'm trying to match something like dresses, invites or other colour swatches.

 

I would worry that as she's haggled SO HARD for a price reduction and she's being SO precise, then she will use this to try and get money back by saying she's not happy.

 

Do you mind me asking what sort / size cake / decoration it is for £65?  I wonder if she's already getting a bargain???

 

Suzanne x

katies135 Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 9:06am
post #16 of 42

AWell I think she is getting a bargain to be honest! When she first messaged me she said "give me a reasonable price" which completely threw me and made me question my pricing! But it's an 8" and 6" vanilla sponge tiered all decorated like a jungle with trees on top and going up the tiers and with 4 fondant animals and her sons names on?

Cakejeanie Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 9:08am
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by katies135 

Hmm I agree with all of your replies. She found a picture of a cake she liked on google and wanted the exact replica, she even stated that she wants the exact same colours and repeated it over and over. I've said I'm not doing it due to the fact she seems very specific in what she wants and I can't guarantee the exact same colours as I did not make the cake she has found the picture of... She is now bombarding me with messages telling me to do it. Is it rude for me to say to her that she was unhappy with the price I quoted all along and in my experience people who arnt happy with the price in the first place never seem to be happy with the final product

 

Katie135, Yes if you said that to her it won't be professional of you. 

 

If you don't think you can recreate the cake for her to her exact standards, then I think you are within reason to diplomatically and professionaly say no. I wouldn't say yes to a cake order that I wasn't capable of. 

 

If you think you can recreate the cake, but you're just afraid she will be a nightmare, then draft a contract that will include the fact that you may not be able to recreate the colours because you are mixing your own and that some design details may alter slightly because you're using different tools etc. Basically you're saying you'll copy the cake as closely as possible - but never say that you'll copy it exactly.

 

The lady knows you are hesitating and the ball is in your court now. Take charge- either give her a no, or if you do decide to go ahead with her order- give her a contract to sign. Good luck :)

katies135 Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 9:14am
post #18 of 42

A

Original message sent by Cakejeanie

Katie135, Yes if you said that to her it won't be professional of you. 

If you don't think you can recreate the cake for her to her exact standards, then I think you are within reason to diplomatically and professionaly say no. I wouldn't say yes to a cake order that I wasn't capable of. 

If you think you can recreate the cake, but you're just afraid she will be a nightmare, then draft a contract that will include the fact that you may not be able to recreate the colours because you are mixing your own and that some design details may alter slightly because you're using different tools etc. Basically you're saying you'll copy the cake as closely as possible - but never say that you'll copy it [U]exactly.[/U]

The lady knows you are hesitating and the ball is in your court now. Take charge- either give her a no, or if you do decide to go ahead with her order- give her a contract to sign. Good luck :)

Yeah that's true. I had no worry as to whether or not I could do a cake like that just not an exact replica which she just keeps repeating over and over! I'll have to have a think. I feel it may be more hassle than it's worth!

Cakejeanie Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 9:27am
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by katies135 

Well I think she is getting a bargain to be honest! When she first messaged me she said "give me a reasonable price" which completely threw me and made me question my pricing! But it's an 8" and 6" vanilla sponge tiered all decorated like a jungle with trees on top and going up the tiers and with 4 fondant animals and her sons names on?

 

Yes it is more than a bargain. Definitely review your pricing- but go higher instead of lower.

 

Have a look at the threads about pricing cakes- I think the most important factor that gets overlooked is the labour involved. From baking the cakes, torting, icing, kneading/rolling/colouring fondant, covering cakes, making animals- that's a lot of hours that I don't think you're getting paid for.

costumeczar Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 10:35am
post #20 of 42

A

Quote:
Originally Posted by as you wish 


Yes, this sounds good. I doubt that she will ask though; don't worry too much about it. If she persists just be firm, say no, and terminate communication.

And

Original message sent by katies135

Yeah that's true. I had no worry as to whether or not I could do a cake like that just not an exact replica which she just keeps repeating over and over! I'll have to have a think. I feel it may be more hassle than it's worth!

1. It's more hassle than it's worth already, and you haven't even done the cake. 2. People like this might turn into the perfect customer later, but they can also turn into the perfect pain in the butt who finds fault with everything about the cake and demands refunds. 3. You've probably already spent more than an hour talking to this woman, emailing her, worrying about it and posting about it here. That just cut into your profit big time. 4. Do you really have time for this kind of aggravation? I don't, and I doubt that you do. 5. The word "no" can set you free. Get a sign that says "I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who treats me like a whipping post" and put it somewhere you'll see it over and over until you get the message embedded in your consciousness!

-K8memphis Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 12:08pm
post #21 of 42

i think you need to say no because you are not able to deliver what she wants--that is the biggest consideration--your being torn and her being 'difficult' is wrapped up in that yes?  so if you firmly decline with that thought she should go away--

 

but all that to say i'd present her with what i could do if conducting business is important to you--i mean of course it's important--but i mean if you could really use the money right now--

 

but i'm getting confused if you can't do her design...why are you so torn about this--maybe i read this wrong?

-K8memphis Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 12:12pm
post #22 of 42

it's an acquired skill to be able to reproduce cakes exactly so...idk -- you'd want to be most sure of yourself for this client

anaelisabethlee Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 2:39pm
post #23 of 42

A

Original message sent by katies135

Well I think she is getting a bargain to be honest! When she first messaged me she said "give me a reasonable price" which completely threw me and made me question my pricing! But it's an 8" and 6" vanilla sponge tiered all decorated like a jungle with trees on top and going up the tiers and with 4 fondant animals and her sons names on?

Yikes! That would be at least £150 for me.

cakebaby2 Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 3:03pm
post #24 of 42

It is actually quite cheap for the detail she's asking for. Maybe that is why you are getting this type of client who looks for cheap cakes and tries to undercut even them.

Few people try this with the high end bakers.

I paid over a hundred pounds for a single tier cake 4 years ago from a well known bakery and it was excellent, didn't grudge a penny.

Thats the kind of client you want, the kind that "cheap" rings alarm bells for.

jenmat Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 4:02pm
post #25 of 42

Don't answer her anymore. Simple as that. You are letting her continue to control you by answering her. You said no. It doesn't matter why, you said no and as we all know "no means NO."

 

I agree that sometimes difficult and exacting customers can turn into your biggest cheerleaders. But this customer isn't just exacting. She was RUDE in her initial contact and tried to haggle even when boundaries were clearly set. Those are the issues, not the color or design (although that may be secondary). To me, exacting customers who turn into your biggest cheerleader are still polite and ask questions in a polite manner. Not, "is is even going to be any good?" I deal with gun-shy customers all the time who have been burned with others bakers in the area. In fact, I love the challenge to meet their expectations. But I will NOT deal with rude people who make it clear that I am robbing them blind and am not worthy of respect. 

howsweet Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 5:05pm
post #26 of 42

Quote:

Originally Posted by anaelisabethlee 


Yikes!
That would be at least £150 for me.

Which is $250 US And for me, also,  it would be at least that and quite possibly more. Edit: I missed the part about the 4 fondant animals - the price just went up $120.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by katies135 

Well I think she is getting a bargain to be honest! When she first messaged me she said "give me a reasonable price" which completely threw me and made me question my pricing! But it's an 8" and 6" vanilla sponge tiered all decorated like a jungle with trees on top and going up the tiers and with 4 fondant animals and her sons names on?

That's $109 US dollars.  As I said,  if you are already undercharging for this cake,  she's much more likely to be a user that will always be a pain in the neck. By definition, people who hunt around and find someone to do cake at a price that's unfair to the person doing it are jerks. And that goes for the ones who are polite, also.

howsweet Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 5:12pm
post #27 of 42

If you're charging $370 for the cake (221 pounds), then it's a little easier to feel like giving a difficult customer a chance, isn't it?

cakesbycathy Posted 11 Apr 2014 , 5:20pm
post #28 of 42

At this point you should send her an email that says "Unfortunately I am now unable to accept your cake order.  I wish you luck finding another baker that can accommodate you." 

 

Then don't answer any more messages from her.

Then raise your prices.

Relznik Posted 12 Apr 2014 , 10:58pm
post #29 of 42

Wow...  I wouldn't even do a single tier with all that detail for £65.

 

If you haven't taken a deposit and don't have a signed order form, just tell her you are no longer available.  End of.

Tammy0 Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 8:05am
post #30 of 42

APaying a client to pick up their order... WHAT?!! So funny!

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