Customer Telling You How To Make The Cake?

Business By CakeMommyTX Updated 17 Apr 2008 , 12:23pm by cambo

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CakeMommyTX Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:12pm
post #1 of 20

Ok just got an email from someone interested in a cake, but they told me step by step how I should build and decorate the cake in the email?
I know this might sound kind of rude, but if you already know how to make the cake then why pay someone else to do it?

I've had customers with an idea of what they want and some with very specific designs they wanted but never anyone who has told me exactly how to build the cake.
They even went as far as to tell me to start with 3 10" rounds with 3 8" rounds stacked on top and then carved down to the shape they want.

I really don't want to make this cake because just based on this first email this customer seems like they might be hard to please.

Anyone ever had this happen too you?

19 replies
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TooMuchCake Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:40pm
post #2 of 20

I haven't had anybody be quite so particular as this person...

If you feel like you shouldn't take their order, don't. First instincts are often right. If they're going to micromanage this even from the baking stage, you're in for a headache for sure.


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beccakelly Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:45pm
post #3 of 20

i've never come across that, but it does sound like they'll be a big pain to work with! i think i would be booked for their weekend.

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ccr03 Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 8:49pm
post #4 of 20

I'm trying to build up my business, so I would proabably consider doing it. But respond to her, "Thank you for the notes, I appreciate them and will take them into consideration while working on your cake."

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costumeczar Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 9:09pm
post #5 of 20

It depends on how badly you need the business...I think that I'd consider not doing a cake for someone who starts out trying to boss you around before you even take the job. That's just kind of strange. I agree with ccr03 about stating that you'll be doing the cake the way that you do it, but that you'll take her suggestions into consideration, otherwise she's liable to get all bent out of shape if you don't do it exactly like she says.

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TexasSugar Posted 14 Apr 2008 , 10:42pm
post #6 of 20

I think it depends on the cake design and if you feel you can do it. What exactly are they looking for? Sounds like from your description it could possible by a whimsy, topsy turvy style cake.

Why would someone want you to make a cake that they can describe how to make? There could be a few reasons. Maybe they aren't really a cake decorator but have read up on that type/style of cake? Maybe they are a cake decorator, but it is for a wedding or a large event and they don't feel they have time to make it themselves? Or maybe they are afraid that would have trouble actual doing it themselves?

I enjoy making cakes for my friends and family and have done a few tiered cakes as well as a couple of wedding cakes. I don't personally enjoy making wedding cakes that much and can honestly say that I currently have no plans to make my own wedding cake (if that event ever happens) and would have to find someone else to make it. If I know exactly what I want, then yes I would spell it out for whom ever I asked to make it. So it could be a situation like that, where they know what they want, but aren't able to make it themselves for a vairty of reasons.

If it were me I'd ask some more questions and set some ground rules before I just wrote off the order. Of course it is up to you and if you don't need this cake order or don't want to do it, then don't. But before completely saying no you may want to talk to them a little more. Sometimes things we say in emails may come out totally different than how we meant it, and instead of being a bossy hard to please person they may be the sweeties customer you may ever have.

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CoutureCake Posted 15 Apr 2008 , 6:06am
post #7 of 20

I think there are still a lot of variables you don't know yet... Maybe she's been trurned down by other bakeries because they don't know how to make that style of cake, so having looked at the cake book she got the idea out of is relaying that this cake isn't THAT complicated, to find a baker that's willing to take it on. Maybe she took a class with Colette or Bronwen, doesn't have her own kitchen, but REALLY wants a shaped cake but the reception site wont' allow it in so needs to find someone willing to do it for her...

There are a LOT of bakeries around here that won't do anything shaped, which is why it's a GREAT niche to have...

I'd honestly say meet with them and you never know which situation it is, but after meeting/chatting you'll have a better sense of what the situation is rather than an email which you might not know what the true situation is.

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CakeMommyTX Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:37am
post #8 of 20

Ok so I emailed her back, I decided I would give her the benefit of the doubt, well.... she thinks my price is too high and she found a recipe for fondant online so she is going to try to make it .
I'm torn between sending her some few helpful tips (we all started somewhere, and a bunch or us started with our childrens cakes) or just calling it a day?

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Starkie Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:53am
post #9 of 20

Maybe you could write her back and tell her it's wonderful that she's going to try it herself, and if she runs into a major problem or needs a few pointers, you would be happy to help her, TIME PERMITTING. (You don't want her taking up all your time with free decorating lessons!) Quite possibly, she could have a disaster on her hands, and she may be asking you to make it anyway (just with not as much lead time!).

Good luck with this one!

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springlakecake Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:58am
post #10 of 20

I'd call it a day!

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aligotmatt Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 11:59am
post #11 of 20

I had a lady call me about a baby shower cake. She wanted one of the wilton bears cakes. So she bought the pan, and the wilton book with the instructions for the cake she wanted, and ahse called me and told me, 'you should be able to do this cake, I bought you the pan, and the step by step instructions, so you should be able to figure out how to make it' She was recommended by somebody, so I sent her to my website to look at my flavors and told her to take a look at the photo gallery. she called me back like 2 days later and apologized for being a loon and said she knew I could handle a cake like this, or maybe design something even better for her. Thank goodness no bear ever came of that!

As for what you should do, I would just write her back and say, 'I totally understand budgets and kids parties, best of luck!'

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Donnagardner Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:01pm
post #12 of 20

Ditto Merissa

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vickymacd Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:20pm
post #13 of 20

Unless it was soooo detailed that she wanted to be clear on it, I wouldn't take the order! Sounds like no matter how well it turns out, she would think she could have been able to make it better than you. I wouldn't want all the criticism that I personally think she would dish out.

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LSW Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:26pm
post #14 of 20

I work at a local bakery and had a customer come in yesterday to order a sheet cake for her son's birthday. She picked flavor and filling and drew a picture of what she wanted the cake to look like, which is going to take the decorator a long time to do. Here's the clincher, she even listed the numbers of the tips she wanted used on the cake!#3 for writing, #18 shell border, etc. How's that for being particular! Sure am glad I'm not doing this one!!!

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bethola Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:28pm
post #15 of 20

Yep! Call it a day!


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FromScratch Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:33pm
post #16 of 20

I'd just call it a day too. You don't need to be giving out decorating lessons unless she is going to pay you for your time. You should be making cakes.. not teaching the public how to make cakes.

I say let her have fun making the cake. icon_smile.gif You never know.. she may fall in love with cake making like we all did. icon_biggrin.gif

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michellenj Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 12:43pm
post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by yourstrulytx

I really don't want to make this cake because just based on this first email this customer seems like they might be hard to please.

Anyone ever had this happen too you?

Yes, I have, and I would turn her away. I guess it depends on how much you need the $$. icon_razz.gif

I think your gut is telling you not to do it, and you should listen to your gut.

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teenteen Posted 16 Apr 2008 , 1:26pm
post #18 of 20

I would let it go. I got micro-managed on a $40 cake early on in my business. It's the pitts! Now, I gladly turn down money if I think they are going to be a pain.

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CoutureCake Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 4:07am
post #19 of 20

I'd call it a day... If anything else you say "good luck with the cake, should anything change before (2 days before the cake is due) give me a call."... Leave it at that, positive, yet that you'd still be happy to work with her (in other words, when she calls panic'd the night before the party...)...

Remember, even if she IS panicing there's an added fee for a "late charge" for the order... She thought it was too spendy before, guess what your overtime hours are worth icon_biggrin.gif ...

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cambo Posted 17 Apr 2008 , 12:23pm
post #20 of 20
Originally Posted by merissa

I'd call it a day!


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