I have a regular customer who really likes my cakes and orders frequently but is usually late with cake payments most of the time. Today I made a cake for her and she did not pay me. The cake was for a party in celebration of a new business venture she is pursuing. I attended the event and even ordered some products from her. I waited around for the opportunity to collect but she didn't mention it although she did mention all the other things she was going to buy today. I know I will see her tomorrow but that's not the point. What get's me is her lack of consideration for me, besides I did not have to attend her event but I did. The least she could have done was pay me or at least say to me that she forgot the money or that she didn't have it. What should I do? How can I avoid this in the future? I need help, I think I'm too nice and need to learn how to be more business minded despite that fact that these are so called "friends" Iam dealing with.
Thanks for your advice in advance.
I haven't had this happen yet but I know from reading on here that many people put it in writing that payment MUST be recieved x amount of days prior to the event. If she asks you again just say you are "formalizing" your business and since she is one of your first customers, she gets x amount off her first "official" cake order. Then smack a contract down in front of her and specify that you need pay in advance. Then if you don't get it, you can call the day or so before and say"well the contract states payment before and I haven't recieved it yet, if you want to run over now with some cash, I will start the cake" I do plan on starting to do this myself soon, but I am only on my 4th order, so not yet. LOL
I've not had this problem yet either, but usually when folks are ordering their cake from me, I tell them how much it costs and let them know they can pay me at pick up or delivery. Sometimes my friends offer to pay in advance, but again I tell them they can pay when they get their cake. I also print out a little invoice and mark it paid when the transaction goes down.
I would give your friend a call to let her know how much you enjoyed your outing and ask her when you can expect payment. If you give some people too much room, they take advantage of you. Good Luck!
Tell her you have a new policy. Your new policy is that you must have money in hand before you hand over a cake.
You don't go to the grocery store and walk out with a coke them come back and pay for it a week later. You can't walk out of the mall with clothes with plans to pay tomorrow.
We pay before we leave stores because that is what we are trained to do. So it is not unreasonable for her to pay you before walking out with the product. Time to train her.
If you don't step up and say something to her now, and put a stop to it, then she will keep doing it. If she gets away with not paying you until the next day, then the next time it may be a week, and so on.
You can make yourself unavailable next time she needs a cake. I know it could mean less business, but who needs clients like that? I can imagine the whole process of your baking and decorating, you are probably fuming from the time you get the order til you get paid and who knows when that will be? You deserve better. Let her order from a bakery. Of course she will prefer you to serve her every whim and decorated cakes on credit. But you can take away that option.
If she is persistent you could gently explain that it is a burden on you to carry all the expense past when the cake is eaten.
Believe me, her giving you an excuse or an apology probably wouldn't make you feel better. Having the money in the bank would.
I won't repeat what has already been said, about getting payment "BEFORE" delivery, which is most important.
It is also important because it allows YOU peach of mind. There is to much negative energy surrounding the cake payment process. How can you be expected to work your best with the constant worry of getting paid looming in the back of your mine? Not well, so do yourself a favor and act like a business. These practices are installed in all of us since childhood, you want something, you pay now. Dont' sell yourself or the process short.
I waited around for the opportunity to collect but she didn't mention it although she did mention all the other things she was going to buy today.
Why didn't YOU mention it?
and I hope you didn't pay HER for the stuff you bought if she neglected to pay you.
For future orders, just tell her you had a bad experience with a regular customer and now you are requiring all orders to pay a deposit in advance and final paymet prior to cake being made. She'll never have to know that she was the "bad experience"
You seem like a nice person that does not want to appear pushy or insistent or rude, but honestly, I think she is taking advantage of you. There really isn't any need to make up explanations. I'm assuming she will pay you for this order, but when she orders the next cake, I agree with the idea of writing up an invoice and handing it to her and have her sign something. And politely remind her that you will be requiring payment before or on the day of delivery. Don't apologize, and don't ask her if that's okay.
I understand if you have a long-standing relationship with her and she may be offended or think the rules don't apply to her, but again, you really don't owe her an explanation. She is purchasing something from you, and it just makes sense to get paid promptly.
Thank you all for the advice. This has been a very valuable lesson. I can be friendly with people but when it comes down to my cakes business is business. I called the woman this morning but she was not home so I left a message on her cell phone telling her that I would not be attending the meeting she was expecting to see me at today and that she needs to come to stop by my house to pay me for the cake. Well I was in church when she called me back and she left a message on my phone saying that she was going to pay me last night after the party but didn't know if I was still awake. She called me many times over until I got home. I guess the message I left on her phone demanding payment made her very apologetic. Next time I definately will ask for up front money.
Thanks again to all
maybe you could make a nice LITTLE SIGN SAYING MUST PAY UP FRONT or NO MONEY NO CAKE!!
If you use an order form, add a note:
"Payment is expected when services are rendered"
I use PayPal to collect some payments before-hand. All you need is an email address and an account. You send them an invoice by email, they click on the Pay Now button, make their payment, and cha-ching...you've got money! This way you don't have to meet or wait. You do have to pay a small fee, but the peace of mind is often worth it for me. Especially for a first-time customer.
is that a monthly fee or a one time deal for Pal Pal?
It is a per transaction fee until you have a certain amount of monthly sales. Then I think you can make it a monthly fee. The per transaction is about 3%.
On weddings cakes, I haven't done many, but I start right off, when we're discussing the original order and the pricing, by telling the customer that the total amount needs to be paid in full by 10 days before the wedding date, and I look up the date and give it to them, so they hear it loud and clear. I explain that this is easiest so that no one has to remember to "pay for the cake" at the reception site on the wedding day (it's hectic enough that day), and I don't end up waiting around or hunting around for that one busy person who was "supposed" to have a check for me. Works great. (I also take Visa/MC, but I realize that's not an option for everyone...it does help when they're not wanting to mail a check or I'm not comfortable taking one).
For smaller cakes, I would never hand them the cake without them handing me the $ first...but I've never had anyone do that to me (yet) either.
Be polite, businesslike, and firm.
Rodneyck said it well.
Perhaps because the "day" was centered around her, and you came to the even knowing she was behind... she just didn't mention it knowing you both knew anyway... and she was enjoying the spotlight.
Since you are a nice person.... just simply be honest with her. Tell her you enjoy making cakes for her and want to continue doing them. You have fun and want to see her grow. At the same time you are constantly wondering if you are going to get paid the "next" time. Payments are late, and you've accepted that. You're both in business. This HAPPENS... however, you want to have a good relationship with her. Tell her you want to stop worrying and have the cakes paid up front a few times, as it helps your cash flow. If she is in a bind, you'll do one for free sometime... but payment upfront for a while is the way to go.
She'll go her own way and come back later.
After she goes through about two bakers. Keep an eye open and stay in friendly contact. The business will come to you again. Stronger the second time around.
MY PARENTS HAVE A SIGN UP AT THEIR SHOP--
FRIENDS & FAMILY DONT PAY OUR BILLS
PLEASE PAY YOUR INVOICE WHEN
SERVICES ARE RENDERED
A small note on the paypal thing. YOU are only charged the fees if you have a premier account. If you just have a personal account then you don't get charged the fees to receive money. The drawback they can't use a credit card to pay you through paypal.
I have a personal and a premier account. If they aren't paying with a credit card then I have them send to that account. You have to have a separate checking account for each paypal account though.
OK. How about this scenario. Best friend of over 20 years. Roomies, go to college together, have kids together.......She orders a cake for her work for a retiree. BIG CAKE. Three tiers, lots of detail. She doesn't pay me when she picks it up and says that she will take up a collection at work. Which she does, and keeps it! I have not heard from her since. Very bizarre. I am talking - very best friend - knows all your history and secrets friend. She moved to another town a few years ago and we stay in touch. The retiree party was here in my town. She came into town, took the cake, went to the party, collected the money and went home never to be heard from again. She missed my kids birthdays and even knows I am facing BRAIN SURGERY but hasn't checked it with me at all since she PICKED UP THE CAKE. What is up with that? You can say it doesn't sound like she was a very good friend - but she was. Like a sister for 20 years and now, over a cake, she disappears. I wouldn't even care really - even though I think it was rotten - but at what point do you have to take up for yourself and ask not to be taken advantage of. Of course, that would be hard to ask because apparently she is not speaking to me. I even drove 3 hours and spent an entire weekend at her new home making a cake and helping with her daughter's birthday party. Not one word or even an email reply SINCE SHE TOOK THE CAKE. I am so non confrontational I would classify as a wimp. But, If I don't address it at all it appears we will never speak again. Totally at a loss. ideas that are workable for a wimp?
I would definately make it a policy to collect half the amount due for the cakes at time of order and then the balance needs to be paid no later than two days before the cake is due (a week for major cakes). There is no reason for you to stress out because someone is inconsiderate towards you. I like the idea of the sign that says "Friends and Family don't pay our bills".