I've been baking for a hobby for 3 years for family and friends, but just started a business about 2 months ago. I just got my first customer complaints yesterday. I sent her a pic of a cake(not my work) and said I could do something similar. When I say that I assume I have some creative reigns to change things around. She asked for a pic the night before and she said the color doesn't look anything like the pic so I apologized and offered $5 off. Since I already started adding decorations. Then she told me it was to boringso I added more to it. Then when I delivered I forgot one of the toppers at home which was totally my fault so I offered $10 more off. So I lost $15 and I was barely charging anything for it anyways. So My question is what do you do in situations like this, do you immediately offer money back or just apologize? And have you made mistakes before like forgetting toppers and such?
Well, look at it this way, you learned a lot from this one cake.
I would say- 1. Don't ever send a pic of someone else's cakes and tell a client it will look like that. It's very difficult to copy someone else's work. 2. Don't assume anything. Always ask your client if they want to give you artistic license and make sure it's in writing if they agree to it. 3. You need to get yourself more organized because forgetting a cake topper is no bueno. Cake toppers are usually the focal point of the cake and the reason people pay extra for custom.
Don't beat yourself up but do take some time to get organized and research cake business practices and pricing because $15 off should not leave you with nothing.
Also, I wouldn't send a customer a pic of a cake half done, that's just me. I have posted pics on Facebook of toppers and such that were done to give a client a sneak peak. But, half done cakes are not always pretty, know what I mean?
Good luck to you :)
I agree, jinkies. If I ever send a sneak peek pic, it's of the best thing on the cake. The cake all together will be exciting, and the "best part" will give them something to look forward to. To send them a pic of the unfinished cake, you're essentially sending them the worst part.
and, yes, if $15 is the only profit you're making, you're not gonna have a business for long.
What they said.
I agree with both @Jinkies and @Brookebakescake You will not stay in business long if $15 cuts into your profit enough to leave you not making much. One thing I do is take inventory several days before something is due to make sure I know what all I'm taking. I always make a few extra decorations take extra cupcakes (if the order is cupcakes). I've never forgotten anything because I plan ahead a great deal. I even label boxes with what is in them so I can open the box and take quick inventory of what's in there before I walk out the door. "You plan to fail if you fail to plan" is my motto. I'm not saying I don't make mistakes and most of us do. Being organized, planning ahead, having good time management, proper pricing in place and having a predetermined refund policy so your not figuring things out on the fly again is the best way to avoid or manage mistakes better. Also I always stress that I will try my best to match the colors to the sample but I can't guarantee an exact match. I would never send a picture of my work incomplete. we did a sample of a fondant decoration to show my friend to make sure we were on the same page because she did not provide a reference. But never once have we sent in progress pictures. This was a learning opportunity and we all have them :)
Thanks everyone for the advoce. Like I said befor I'm still new to the business side of things so this order was definitely a lesson, and I'm def gonna start charging more. Also how would kindly say you can't send a picture cause she's not the first person to ask?
smile and say, "you'll see it when I deliver it" or "you'll see it when you pick it up"
Regarding photo inspiration from people this is basically what I say:
Every cake is an individual creation. No two cakes will be 100% identical. Differences in styles, skills, color variance within different products with different ingredients will yield slightly different looks. Even lighting in an inspiration photo will change the look dramatically when viewing a cake in person. What elements of this inspiration photo are what draw you to this cake? We can really focus on x, y, z.....but know that my x, y, z may vary slightly since my interpretation may be different. Know that I will aim to make your cake to reflect the things that you are drawn to while using my experience as a guide to making sure that the overall product looks good both practically and stylistically.
If someone asks for a photo say that you don't send those ahead of time because the cake won't be complete, and the photo won't do it justice. If they persist, use my friend's line, "I'm sorry, it just isn't possible for me to do that."
If she wasnt happy, I would have offered a small discount on the 'next' cake, because it sounds like she was getting a pretty good deal anyway. And if she took you up on your offer, then you get the chance to redeem yourself and keep the customer.
rr2sweet, check out the beautiful cake at the bottom of page 2 of this thread:
there's actually a before and after shot of it that just goes to show that the most beautiful cakes got there by degrees and revealing this progress does a disservice to the finished product so don't be bashful about standing your ground --
best to you