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1.5 hour late for delivery

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
So I just started my cake business and got my first cake order about four days prior to the event.

Everything that could go wrong went wrong the day of the event. While I was making the cake decorations I found out that our dog was missing and it took me thirty minutes to find him. My main decoration that I spent an hour and a half broke when I was finally ready to set it in the cake. Thankfully, i made extra flower decorations to use as a topper for the cake. My frosting was not setting up (I think it got too hot at the kitche).

This is my first paying customer and first delivery. I underestimated my time. I was suppose to deliver between 3pm and 3:30pm. By 3pm, i tried contacting my client but got no answer. I texted her to let her know that I am running late. At that point I was not even done with my decorations. I had three other people trying to help me to get the cake decorations on the cake as quickly as we can.

I didnt notice that she called my phone. So when I finally left the house, I was already an hour late for my delivery time. I was calling her while we were driving but she was not answering. She finally answered on my 6th call and she was really mad and upset and frustrated. She told me at that point she didn't want the cake and that she didn't want to talk to me because the party was over at that time. I apologize to her stating that I underestimated the time I needed. She told me to meet her at her ex husband's place to deliver the cake.

So when we got the address she gave me, her ex husband already pulled up at their driveway but did not acknowledge us. So I contacte her again and I asked her what she wanted me to do. I told her I am giving her a full refund of the money she paid me. She told me to just leave the cake with her ex husband and we'll talk about it later.

I feel so embarass about the situation because I work in the same building as her and felt bad that I did not deliver on time.

I know that I have to prep most of the work two days in advance. I still have a full time job, so I'm doing the business on the side for right now.

Any advice on what else I could've done better?

Also, I have a question about charging clients. For this cake, I only charged her for 30 servings when the cake pan size that she wanted was for 40 servings. I also did not charge her for the fondant decorations I made. When she first approached me, she was hinting that it was expensive and that for the estimated amount the cake better taste good and should really look good. She alao hinted that she originally wanted to just buy a store bought cake becausw it might be cheapee. I only charged her $120. It was a pillow cake covered with pink fondant and the flower fondant decorations. The topper was supposes to be tiara but it broke the last minute. Was I over charging her?

What is your policy for rush ordera? Or do you accept rush orders?

Should I still accept orders from people I work with? I am asking this because I am worried that I will have a bad name because of what happened. I don't know if she will say something to the other people that we work with in our building since almost everyone knew that I was making her daughter's birthday cake.

I am going to see her tomorrow at work and planning on giving her money back since I didn't see her when I delivered the cake at her ex husband's. How should I handle the situation? I know I am going to apologize profusely for what happened.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 50

Call her today and tell her you will be refunding the full amount and apologize.  Tomorrow, first thing give her the cash.  She probably will tell others about the cake problems, if people still want to order with you fine, if not fine.  You can't do much to control that.   Then you should step back and re-assess your business...get your serving sizes per pan size set,  determine your pricing structure.  If people don't like the price you want for the cake they want, you can change the size or design to meet their budget or they can go elsewhere.  It doesn't have to be a big negotiation.  You probably shouldn't take rush orders since you have a full time job.  Others who don't have another job could better able handle a rush order.  And mostly you need to do some better organization/planning so you can meet the deadline.  Baking ahead and freezing the cakes, preparing the icing ahead and having that already, making sure you have all the supplies well ahead of time, getting your flowers done ahead of time, etc, etc.  It might also be helpful to keep a time log of all the cake steps that you do (shopping, prep, baking, icing, decorating, etc, etc) so in the future you can better plan the time it takes. 

post #3 of 50

first of all --only apologize once

 

i'm still thinking about the other questions...

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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #4 of 50

Hello, and welcome to CC!

 

I really hate that this is your 1st post here because your replies are going to be filled with some pretty tough love.  So I hope you take all this as a learning experience and attempt to grow from it.

 

From the customer's perspective, it doesn't matter all that other stuff you typed.  All they hear is excuse after excuse.  It doesn't even matter that you totally undercut yourself and did a massive disservice to the other bakers in your area by undercutting that much.  The customer paid for a product that you agreed to make.  You did not deliver that product.  It also doesn't matter that you have a full time job.  You were paid for a product that you said you could deliver.

 

The bottom line - You represented yourself as a business, but you don't have any idea what you are doing.

 

My advice is you need to not take another order for a cake until you've done your homework.  If you google search any of the questions you asked in your above post, thousands of threads from here on Cake Central would pop up, giving you lots and lots of advice, perspective and complete how-to's on how to start a business, make a cake, handle customers, manage timelines, make decorations... the list goes on and on.  We are a wealth of information, and all that information is already here.

 

I'm sorry you crashed and burned so badly!

post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatmcakery View Post
...I didnt notice that she called my phone. So when I finally left the house, I was already an hour late for my delivery time. I was calling her while we were driving but she was not answering. She finally answered on my 6th call and she was really mad and upset and frustrated. She told me at that point she didn't want the cake and that she didn't want to talk to me because the party was over at that time. I apologize to her stating that I underestimated the time I needed. She told me to meet her at her ex husband's place to deliver the cake.


 

 

ditto to everything denetteb said!

 

i try to set up deliveries for two hours before the event so that i have wiggle room to find the lost dog, get stuck in traffic etc.

 

so going forward you want to build some good wiggle room in your delivery schedule

 

and if you were an hour late for the delivery time when you left and she says the party is over--that was a really brief event?

 

i don't know that seems like a close call but it's probably the way i am reading it

 

maybe you live real real far away from the venue?

 

just curious

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #6 of 50

here's my suggestion on how to proceed--cafeteria style take it or leave it

 

op knows she screwed up royal

 

imo we don't need to re-tell her that part especially since she is our source of information

 

because she wrote this and informed us -- we could conclude she is fully aware of her failings

 

retelling her that she blew it is redundant and pain that can be avoided

 

imo we should give her help and information on how to avoid another disaster

 

rehashing her misfortune and mishandling is not constructive imo

 

she gets it

 

she's asking how does she avoid this going forward

 

in other words, say like "when you did blablabla, next time consider blablabla"

 

buzzing the field is unnecessary imo

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #7 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the advice!!!

K8memphis - i live 20 minutes away from the venue. I didnt manage my time well. Like you ladies said, I need to be more organized and plan everything accordingly.
post #8 of 50

and for what it's worth $3-$4 a serving is low but it assumes facts not in evidence to decide with certainty that the pricing undercut

 

if she used a wilton pillow pan and baked a two layer cake $3 - $4 a serving is not below market value in many areas

 

for a sculpted cake yes--that's low but it's not completely without respect--she mighta used those pans though

 

she says she did not charge for the decor--she should have--it's her first paid order we should cut her some slack here and advise

 

it might not be a massive disservice--i mean i think it's premature

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatmcakery View Post

Thank you for all the advice!!!

K8memphis - i live 20 minutes away from the venue. I didnt manage my time well. Like you ladies said, I need to be more organized and plan everything accordingly.

 

 

believe me, eatm,  in this one thing i am positive that

 

it happens to the best of us

 

nothing doubting

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

and you will survive

 

i mean lookie at how you are making yourself vulnerable and looking to get advise --

 

those are the markings of a concerned professional--a newbie pro but you'll get there

 

i've done everything wrong at least once icon_biggrin.gif 

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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post #10 of 50

There are a lot of points here that could be said. However, you took an order for a 3D cake (your first) for 3 days before an event, and you have a full time job. Don't do this to yourself again. No wonder the tiara broke- it probably wasn't perfectly dry and hard by that point. You were setting yourself up for failure. Poor time management is pretty much inevitable if there is no time in the first place. 

Please do yourself a favor and do not take an order for ANY cake unless you have a week's notice, maybe more. You can then have time for failure, and can then turn it into a success.

life is short, get a cakesafe.
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life is short, get a cakesafe.
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post #11 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post


believe me, eatm,  in this one thing i am positive that

it happens to the best of us

nothing doubting

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

and you will survive

i mean lookie at how you are making yourself vulnerable and looking to get advise --

those are the markings of a concerned professional--a newbie pro but you'll get there

i've done everything wrong at least once icon_biggrin.gif  

Thank you very much! I really appreciate all the advice/information you gave. I definitely learned my lesson.
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb View Post

Call her today and tell her you will be refunding the full amount and apologize.  Tomorrow, first thing give her the cash.  She probably will tell others about the cake problems, if people still want to order with you fine, if not fine.  You can't do much to control that.   Then you should step back and re-assess your business...get your serving sizes per pan size set,  determine your pricing structure.  If people don't like the price you want for the cake they want, you can change the size or design to meet their budget or they can go elsewhere.  It doesn't have to be a big negotiation.  You probably shouldn't take rush orders since you have a full time job.  Others who don't have another job could better able handle a rush order.  And mostly you need to do some better organization/planning so you can meet the deadline.  Baking ahead and freezing the cakes, preparing the icing ahead and having that already, making sure you have all the supplies well ahead of time, getting your flowers done ahead of time, etc, etc.  It might also be helpful to keep a time log of all the cake steps that you do (shopping, prep, baking, icing, decorating, etc, etc) so in the future you can better plan the time it takes. 

I am definitely re-assessing my business! I will have to be more organize and prepare everything ahead of time to void this kind of situation.
post #13 of 50
Thread Starter 
jenmat - i learned my lesson, i won't be doing this again. Since i'm working a full time job, im planning on not accepting rush orders from now on.
post #14 of 50

It sounds like you charged about a third of the value of the cake. Don't do that to yourself. When you undercharge, you cheat yourself and undercut someone else.

 

Handy tips:

Whenever possible deliver 2 or more hours in advance of the party time.

As mentioned, make delicate sugar pieces days ahead (maybe 2-4).

Finish the cake the day before

When you take the contact number, emphasize that you need a number that will be good the day of the party. (it may be the same number, but reminds them they shouldn't be out of pocket if possible.) In the case of the bride, you also need a back up number for someone other than the bride.

Don't contribute to lowering market values in your area by undercharging. You don't want to be trying to make a living off of selling cake in an area where $3-4 per serving is normal for a 3d cake.  My entire household income is from making cakes and I could not possibly make a living by charging that little.
 

post #15 of 50

this is what i would say at work tomorrow if it comes up and if you feel you might need to clear the air 

 

you could even bring it up if necessary, "oh didja hear what happened? i feel terrible..." (see below*)

 

it is important to get your message out there on the air waves a few times--so both stories have equal footing on the grapevine

 

some co-workers will understand and some co-workers will enjoy the scandal and all will forget by the next news cycle

 

i'd say regretfully but not dejected either. * "yes i really screwed up, i'm a new business--she got the cake and her money back and i learned not to take last minute orders. oh well" or "i learned i'm not ready to take last minute orders" or "i'm not equipped to take last minute orders"

 

oh well as in what can you do about spilt milk type of oh well--it happened it sucked--did the best i could throughout and afterwards--but clearly i blew it--gotta move on type of 'oh well'

 

that's what i would do--just own it -- relate the story briefly and move on

 

and console yourself with cake challenge tv shows that have our fellow cakers, veterans blowing time management when they often have weeks and months to plan

 

it's not an easy business--not for the timid

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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