Ways To Spot A Bad Customer....

Lounge By Webake2gether Updated 10 Jul 2015 , 1:15am by Apti

Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 5:44pm
post #1 of 22

I was reading a recent post about a bad customer and thought I wonder what other experienced bakers and business owners would say are the top ways to spot a bad customer. From my experience it would have to be the complaining type. Here is our one and only experience so far and the worst part is they weren't paying for our time or labor. 

We dodged a bullet big time when a friend of my husband asked us to do a cake and cookies for his god sons birthday. The boys parents started complaining right from the start about everything and we were told about some comments the father was making and I decided that since he was going to be so disrespectful and using hateful words that we weren't going to do it. The mother begged me not to back out and I told her nothing we do is going to be good enough and I'm not going to be cussed at or baggered. They ended up having to go to a chain store and now the guy and my husband aren't friends anymore. They weren't even paying for the cost of ingredients and supplies the god father was so they ruined a free cake. My husband and I agreed that their complaining was only a sign of what was to come and the father saying "the cake better be freaking good" which isn't the words he used but I don't talk like that lolwas  enough for us I didn't want our work ripped apart so I politely told her sorry for the inconvenience but we were no longer interested in doing it. Oh well I'd rather lose future customers like that then get bad word of mouth from the get go. 

Please share what you believe to be signs of a bad customer so we can put together a top 10 (or more lol) list to share on here :) 

21 replies
leah_s Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 5:57pm
post #2 of 22

Anytime the question is "Will the cake look EXACTLY like the picture?"  I run.  Fast.  Because, No, it won't.

mccantsbakes Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 5:58pm
post #3 of 22

Mine isn't particularly a customer in the traditional sense, but family. 

I call them the "if you give a mouse a cookie...." Family members (those of us with kids should be able to figure out where this comes from..)


these are the ones that will ask me to do a simple cake for their party (gratis Ofcourse because "HEY, we are family after all")  When they present the idea of simple it ends up being some elaborate 3 tiered beast of a cake with advanced techniques which consume more hours of my time than I care to admit.  But to them, it's NO big deal.....but then they change their mind or all of a sudden they can't pay for ingredients or can't pick it up or whatever the drama is.     I end up resenting them and the cake by the time it is all said and done. 


I have had to learn to say no.   Except I am doing a project right now that fits into this category.   I am a sucker

Pastrybaglady Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 7:24pm
post #4 of 22

I think the last minute orders are bad.  They are already showing you they are thoughtless to try and order a special cake at the last minute and "could you just" whatever time consuming details they just dreamed up including different flavors of cake and fillings with a detailed figurine... you give them a price and "Oh I don't want to spend that much..."

costumeczar Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 9:18pm
post #5 of 22

If they have "princess" or "diva" in their email address, I'm booked for their date.

MKC Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 9:51pm
post #6 of 22

My husband's best friend wanted a cake for his daughter's wedding. I had already heard stories about him doing business with his friends...and how his friends were idiots for not agreeing to all his demands.

I knew right from the start it was a bad idea to make him a cake...even if he was paying for it. Told my husband how I thought this would all end. But he pushed me to make the cake anyway.

Well his friend started being demanding, changing the design (without asking the bride!!!), changing the location (from a 10 min. trip to a 2 hour drive), changing the terms in my contract, etc.

Well in the end I canceled the whole thing (no I did not reimburse his deposit) and asked him to find another baker...he kept telling me that he had found a cheaper baker and would go with him if I did not meet his demands...

In the end, my husband lost a friend! Next time I will listen to my instincts!!!


Webake2gether Posted 23 Jun 2015 , 10:34pm
post #7 of 22


Quote by @costumeczar on 1 hour ago

If they have "princess" or "diva" in their email address, I'm booked for their date.

Love it!!! That's hilarious!!! 


Ellie Sunshine Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 1:25am
post #8 of 22

Clients who refuse to acknowledge emails. 

I'm more than happy to respond to initial Facebook messages or speak with clients over the phone, but please, invoices, quotes etc need to be via email. 

Gingerlocks Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 2:22am
post #9 of 22

I love this! I see a lot of people posting the same red flags I have. 

Here's a few of the people I try to avoid if possible:

  • people who order last minute..like 2 day's notice.
  • people who ask for a "simple cake" and try to tell me how easy this cake is..and it never is.
  • people who say things like "I want a reasonable price"..translations "I"m cheep and want a 4 tier cake for $75".
  • friend's, family or acquaintances..it always inevitably gets  awkward.

Apti Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 3:10am
post #10 of 22

MKC~~I applaud your foresight and refusal to refund the deposit.  YAY!  RAH RAH FOR YOU!

Sorry you husband lost his best friend.  Hope you two didn't have a fight with the fall out from the idiot friend.

MKC Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 4:02am
post #11 of 22

His friend threated to sue me if I didn't reimburse him...I said "go ahead". I'm not easily scared by people like this.

Unfortunately, I am labeled as the wife who was not accomodating. I tried so hard to make everyone happy but his friend crossed the line a few times.

When he changed the design without asking the bride....the bride got angry at me because Her dad told her I had made the change on my own....then I showed her the signed contract with the final design chosen by her dad!

Their venue had a fire and they had to find a new venue at the last minute. I made it clear to them that I would only travel long distance if I had access to the kitchen at the new venue ( to assemble the tiers...the 6 tiers). The friend said that I would...then I called the venue and they confirmed that outside suppliers do not have access to the kitchen. I would have had to assemble my tiers from the back of my car!!! This story is full of back to back problems.

Anyway, I've learned to trust my instincts now! And to say "no" from the start.

Apti Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 6:10am
post #12 of 22

I admire you even more after the details above.

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 8:18am
post #13 of 22

I'd say brides who won't listen to your advice (or think they no better) and turn up with a group (even when you told them, just 2).  I had an American bride come in with her mother in law (who I was expecting)...and her fiance and her mother who had literally just got off a plane from the West Coast of the USA and was completely zonked.  I rumaged around the house looking for extra chairs and thankfully had a bit of leftover sample from a previous consultation but it was a bad start.  Then she started talking about how the cake 'isn't what she was expecting - it's not like the cake back home'.  Surprise surprise...this is England!  I offered to do bake a special recipe for her if she could provide it (subject to a test cake of course).  Nope.  Then she said she really wanted an angel cake-type cake...covered in fondant.  I explained that this was imposible (and why) but nope, she was clearly disappointed.  I had alarm bells going from the get-go and thankfully, she didn't order but I am still curious to know if she managed to talk another baker into making a fondant-covered angel cake...

leah_s Posted 24 Jun 2015 , 10:35am
post #14 of 22

If the bride shows up for her consult with he home day care kids in tow, that's a bad sign.  Really happened.  I sent her packing.  Didn't even get to a chair in the consultation area.

indydebi Posted 26 Jun 2015 , 11:57am
post #15 of 22

Anytime they used the word "simple".  The next question out of my mouth was always "What do YOU call 'simple'?"

On the catering side of things, anytime I got someone who told me "Oh I work in food!" and tried to sound like they knew all about food.  Being some assistant in an elementary school cafeteria does not make you a food expert.  This bride never even got a quote from me and I just stopped even trying to sell myself to her halfway thru the consult (as her mom complained about the foods I had made for FOUR PEOPLE FOR FREE because it wasn't what she wanted.  I'm sorry .... do you see the word "restaurant" anywhere on my shop window?)

annakat444 Posted 29 Jun 2015 , 9:35pm
post #16 of 22

I learned recently if they try to micromanage your icing or cake recipes, I will happen to be booked that weekend! A friend asked if my buttercream will be "smushy" and said "don't put any of that almond in it!" Then when I told her the price she said she was hoping to get the cake for $5 less! When I wouldn't budge she went somewhere else thankfully!

Gingerlocks Posted 30 Jun 2015 , 12:42am
post #17 of 22


Quote by @annakat444 on 3 hours ago

Then when I told her the price she said she was hoping to get the cake for $5 less! When I wouldn't budge she went somewhere else thankfully!

Yes, if they try to haggle of 5 bucks..that's a red flag! Jeesh!

Webake2gether Posted 30 Jun 2015 , 1:23am
post #18 of 22


Quote by @Gingerlocks on 5 days ago

I love this! I see a lot of people posting the same red flags I have. 

Here's a few of the people I try to avoid if possible:

  • people who order last minute..like 2 day's notice.
  • people who ask for a "simple cake" and try to tell me how easy this cake is..and it never is.
  • people who say things like "I want a reasonable price"..translations "I"m cheep and want a 4 tier cake for $75".
  • friend's, family or acquaintances..it always inevitably gets  awkward.

Lol I love the 4 tier cake for $75!!

I've really been reserved about dealing with family. We flat out refused to do anything for certain people that happen to be related to us. Even before things went bad we would always tell them we had all we could take on. If I've learned anything in life it's to trust my first instinct. I know a bad customer is going to come along but thanks to all you willing to share maybe we'll avoid a few in the future :) 

Keep the "bad" customer stories coming and in a few days I'll compile a list and post it on here. Credits and all lol. 

MnSnow Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 10:13pm
post #19 of 22

I had one that wanted a graduation cake for 200.... No problem!!

 

Then she wanted to pay me with a puppy....NO!!! 

Pastrybaglady Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 10:19pm
post #20 of 22

I really did laugh out loud at the puppy payment!  But I do have to say purebreds are really expensive, if it was German shepherd that would be equivalent to $600+!

Jeff_Arnett Posted 9 Jul 2015 , 10:58pm
post #21 of 22

I usually know I've lose the client when the first words out of their mouth is "How much do you charge for a.....?"  I understand people have to work within their budget, but if price alone is the deciding factor between my cake and one from Wal-Mart or some other bakery, then I know the qualities of scratched baked, real buttercream iced and precision done decorating are really not the primary interest.  And I move on.....

Apti Posted 10 Jul 2015 , 1:15am
post #22 of 22

a puppy!!!!!    that's a good one.

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