Please! I Need Advice, Pronto! (Long)

Business By Clovers Updated 27 Sep 2009 , 12:49am by Clovers

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Clovers Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:14pm
post #1 of 50

Okay, for ease of understanding, here's a date breakdown:

Tasting - August 27
Deadline for contract and deposit - Sept 20
Cupcake delivery date - October 1
Their reception - October 3
My brother's wedding - October 2

Alright, so in August I got an email from a bridesmaid who was responsible for finding cupcakes for her friend's wedding (who lives in another province). The BM and another came for a tasting on the 27th. They picked three flavours that they liked, wanted them done in the wedding colours (plum purple, burnt orange and golden yellow) and they wanted a cupcake stand and royal icing flowers on each - for an order of 250. I told them I could do it, but need the contract and deposit back latest September 20th and that they would have to have delivery on the Thursday before the wedding as my own brother's wedding is that Friday and I'm his best woman... hectic week to say the least.

Initially my intention was that I would take the day off my regular job on the Wednesday to bake and decorate because the profit would be enough to cover the day off and make me money. Deliver them Thursday morning then head down for the rehearsal for my brother's wedding.

Skip ahead to today. I just got an email from the BM (2 days after my contract and deposit deadline). They want to know if they can drop it off to me sometime this week and can the order be changed to 150 instead of 250, and if not let them know, though they want to limit costs.

My issue now is that if I took the day off work to do them, I would only be making enough profit to cover the lost wages (since they only want 150 now) and if I stay up late to do them I have to cram 13 dozen cupcakes, baking and decorating into one night and part of an already busy morning, and hope I can make the wedding colours, which I've never done before. I also would have to make all the royal icing flowers and I'm not home this weekend to start, since I have to go out of town for my final dress fitting for my brother's wedding.

I want to tell them that I can't do it, but feel bad that I would be leaving them with nothing at their wedding (which by the way will be their second wedding in a week, they're getting married first in Calgary then throwing a second one where I live). Please, what do I dooooo?!

49 replies
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tiggy2 Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:30pm
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If you don't want to do it I would inform them that they missed the deadline for the contract and deposit and the date is no longer available. If you do want to do it I would tell them changes can not be made at this late date since I have already purchased supplies for the original quantity and since they missed the deadline for the deposit it is now a rush order. If they don't like it they can go somewhere else.

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Lenette Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:32pm
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Well, I will preface by saying that I have been in a phase where I am tired of customers thinking they can dictate things to me.

IMO (given my current mood) they can't be too worried about it since they didn't return the contract to you on time. Also, if cutting the order makes it not worth your while then I wouldn't do it. They have time to find cupcakes but have procrastinated. Who waits this late to take care of the dessert for a wedding?
Their lack of planning, not your emergency.

I would relax and look forward to my brother's wedding. You can enjoy his day without being exhausted from this other order.

HTH and I wish you the best no matter what your decision is. Do what is best for you! icon_smile.gif

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-K8memphis Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm
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I'd say get over your feelings of feeling bad for them--they din sign the contract--they aren't playing ball and you're gonna do a lot better without a headache like this. You now have a much greater potential for having a good time at your brother's big celebration of love.

Not to mention three day old cupcakes for a wedding is asking for trouble in my mind.

Just say, "So sorry I'm booked now."

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Clovers Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:39pm
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The thing is, I think I wouldn't have a problem doing them the night before, if I would maybe do 2 flavours instead of three and ice them all white. Then I'm not fussing with mixing three different colours, making three different flavours of cake...

I mean, I could use the money, since my brother's wedding is costing me so much...

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Clovers Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:45pm
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K8Memphis - when they did their tasting I made the cupcakes three days in advance, so they knew they would be made that far in advance.

Also, the bride can't sign the contract because she's out of province, so the bridesmaid wants to sign it - but whoever signs it is responsible for full payment.

I have definitely learned my lesson in allowing the contract due date to be wayyy too close to the event date.

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tiggy2 Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 3:51pm
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If you do decide to do it I would get full payment in cash now.

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Clovers Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:04pm
post #8 of 50

I was thinking that too tiggy2.

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SHADDI Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:18pm
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I agree with what tiggy2 said.

If your going to do it you want:
the contract signed
payment in FULL (cash or money order) (since it's past the deadline for a deposit)
and conformation that someone will be at place of the delivery when you deliver cause you have another place to be at and can't afford to be late. or better yet have them pick it up by a certain time and if they are not their by that time then they get no cake cause your gone.

but if this was me I wouldn't do it. I'll just say Sorry Since you didn't get back to me by the 20th I thought you went some were else and so I made other planes to help my brother out with his wedding and I can't brake those planes now.

and your not obligated to any thing cause your not under contract.

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catlharper Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 4:32pm
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I agree with Shaddi but I would still do the order, payment in FULL and have them pick them up by a certain time, no delivery. Make it clear that if they are more than 30 mins late picking them up then you will be gone and they will be out the cupcakes AND their money.

Good luck and I hope you have a blast at your brother's wedding!


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cakemaker30 Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 5:25pm
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I would say if you have no contract and no deposit, then they have no order. If you don't want to do it at all then just tell them that you can no longer do their order since they didn't give you a deposit or contract by the date you specified. If you do still want to do the order, since you have no contract from them, I don't think you could hold them to the 250 cupcakes. Would it be an option for you to purchase small royal icing flowers for the tops of the cupcakes rather than making them? I realize that would cut into your profit, but it could keep you from having to take the day off work so it should make up for it. I don't know if that's an option, but I know I can get some of them pretty inexpensive from my local cake supply shop. I would also definitely take the order to them so you aren't sitting around all day on Thursday waiting for them to pick them up because it sounds like they aren't very punctualicon_smile.gif

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cylstrial Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 6:22pm
post #12 of 50

If you're going to break even (because you have to take off work) - just forget about it. Tell them that the the date is gone because they didn't sign the contract and send it in on time. It sounds like it just might be the best route.

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Clovers Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:05pm
post #13 of 50

I emailed them back and explained the taking a day off work problem.

I told them I would do 150 for $300, 2 flavours, all white, no flowers and no stand like they wanted. Or, they could get their original 250 for $460 and in all the flavours and colours they planned but still no flowers or stand.

I'm waiting to hear back.. though I don't know how well that will work since the girl is flying to Calgary today, her mom is planning on dropping off the contract and the deposit. We'll see what they want.

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LaBellaFlor Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:27pm
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I just have to ask, why would you take a day off from work without a contract & cash deposit in hand? They still can change their minds and not order at all. MAy I suggest that you give yourself a little more time for you deadlines if it requires you to take a day off from work. If they don't meet your deadlines, then consider it a non-order...and if they end with nothing, thats on them.

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SHADDI Posted 22 Sep 2009 , 7:32pm
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Don't forget to do a new contract since things has changed. The contract that she has is for the 250 with all the colors and flavors. So don't forget to change that when or if the mother shows up with the old contract to do those changes on the same contract or have a new one ready when the mothers shows up or just attach the new contract to the old one and write on their, Client has change the order to the new changes attached and has agreed and then have the mother sign it in her place of approval.

I hope you asked for Full Payment since Order is only about a week away.

Just my thought and just wanted to make sure you didn't forget about that.
We CCs' have each others back.

Good Luck with this

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Clovers Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 2:03am
post #16 of 50

LaBellaFlor - I wasn't taking the day off work without the signed contract and deposit. Because I don't have either, I'm not doing it. If she were to get it to me and give me the money then I have no problem doing that (I have a very flexible boss and job for things like that). I have definitely learned to leave more room between deadline for contracts and actual day of, but I felt I needed to be more flexible because I knew I was going to have to give them 3 day old cupcakes as it was.

SHADDI - that's a good point, the contract that she will have filled out will likely be for the original amounts and flavours.

It's 10pm now and I haven't received a response to my email, and as far as I know, no contract or deposit was dropped off at my work today after I left (which I told them they could do). Basically, if I don't hear back from her by tomorrow, contract or no contract it's going to be too late. I have a speech to write for my brother's wedding so I'm stressed enough!

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CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 2:27am
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A bit more info: When you make changes to a contract, make sure both you and the client initial each and every change, or at the very least, the bottom of every page. Don't just sign the back, because that can lead to all kinds of trouble ("I didn't want that changed, only this. You changed it after I left.") AND, if someone else is signing on their behalf (in your case, BM's mom instead of BM), then you need to have her write "[BM's name] PER: [Mom's sig]". That makes it more legal that mom is taking the responsibility of representing the BM, and not just doing it on her own. I work for a big law firm in Toronto, so I'm in your province, and I do this stuff all the time.

In your latest email, did you give them a definite time frame for dropping off the contract and money? You really should do that, too, to protect yourself. ("Well, I put it into your mailbox at the house right before midnight, but since you were asleep, I didn't ring the bell.") Just saying "tomorrow" leaves it way too open for interpretation. "Tomorrow by 3pm" is much better.

But I think you made the right decision ... no contract, no money, not on time, NO DEAL! Let her go to Costco or Loblaws and get a slab cake or two.

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jenmat Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 4:17am
post #18 of 50

Oh my- these people sound like they may give you some trouble.... especially since the bride isn't involved.
I did my sister's wedding cake and was her matron of honor. I've never been so stressed, and I could hardly enjoy the wedding day, since the cake had to sit out for 8 hours at the hall. Not exactly the same situation, but I agree with everyone else here- if you choose to give them another chance, make sure the contract is spelled out completely and everything has been handled ahead of time (and take your phone off the hook once the cupcakes are delivered)- otherwise you won't be able to enjoy your brother's wedding, which is SOOO much more important!

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annisa523 Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 6:54am
post #19 of 50

Seems to me you have already invested a lot of energy and time thinking about this order, and yet you're not getting paid for that. You have a good plan in mind, try to relax and put your energy and love into everything you're doing for your brother. He'll defenetely appreciate that.
Best of luck!

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Clovers Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 1:26pm
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Thanks for the input everyone. I still haven't had any reply from the bridesmaid, and the more I think about it, the more it makes me not care anymore, since she left everything to the last minute and now there is no one to even sign the revised contract other than her mother, who has nothing to do with any of the ordering, other than being the drop off girl, so I really can't accept any contract she may bring me because it will need changes. (Oh, and I still have no deposit and it's 7 days away.)

I did feel bad, but they really did leave everything to the last minue, I had been very accommodating all along. She had tried to email me about what to do contract and deposit-wise on Saturday (I don't check 'business' email on weekends) and then flew out to Calgary on Monday, so she can't care that much - since she had my cell number if she cared for an immediate answer.

I think if I haven't heard from her by the end of the day I will email her and tell her than since I haven't heard back and still have no final contract or deposit that the date is no longer available (perhaps tell her that I have filled the space with a paid in full order?)

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Clovers Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 5:53pm
post #21 of 50

Hmm.. it just occurred to me (reading another thread) that even if they pull through with a contract and deposit, they are intending to bring me a cheque..which won't clear in time (it won't even be 5 full business days). I don't like that idea either.

Can someone else me with the wording of the email to send them explaining that it's no dice for them now?

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brincess_b Posted 23 Sep 2009 , 6:25pm
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'since I have not recieved a contract and deposit {or full payment}, I am unable to complete your order. thank you for considering me while looking for your cake.
these other bakeries may be able to help {up to you if you name any good bakeries, ones you know to be booked, ones you dont like, or just put walmart!]

and that is it!

but i must say - if the bride really wants to cut costs, perhaps rather than giving only half the guests cake, she should have a smaller celebration - maybe only one wedding reception? mmm...

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Clovers Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:16pm
post #23 of 50

I received an email from the bridesmaid today (sent last night at 10:46 pm):

"thanks a lot jaime. i am discussing the details with the bride, and will email you as soon as i know. my mom will drop off the contract and money at that point as well. Can she drop it off at your work? sorry, i forget, where is it that you work again?

Thanks a bunch, sorry for the confussion and lateness.


So she still doesn't get it that she really left things very late. So this was my reply:

"Your mom can drop the contract and money off at my work (*insert address* beside Rexall). However because the deposit is so close to the
date of the event now, there will not be sufficient time for any
cheque to pass in time for me to get supplies, so I will only be able
to accept cash. As well, the deposit and contract will have to be
received no later than 5pm tomorrow (Friday) in order for me to be
able to get supplies as I have to get them out of town and I am away
this weekend (and will be picking up supplies while I am away).
Unfortunately, I can not guarantee I will be able to fill your order
if the contract and deposit is not received by that time"

I'm trying very hard to be fair, because I'd hate to turn away the extra cash (only because I'm strapped this week). But seriously?! The wedding is next Saturday, they are taking delivery next Thursday. I'm not even home from tomorrow until Monday night. I figure she won't even get the email until late tonight at best. And she literally has til 5pm. I'm out of here if not 2 minutes before 5 tomorrow.

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Auryn Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:04pm
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Honestly, I don't understand why you are stressing yourself out and bending over backwards for people- strangers I might add- that obviously don't care very much.

They don't care about the order and they obviously don't care enough to treat you with any decency.

If I were you, I would email her and let her know you can no longer do her order.
If they make the order smaller you won't be making any money- whats the point of being stressed out for strangers when you could just go to your regular job and make the same amount of money??

If you do decide to do it, make a brand new contract with all the changes

But I still think your shouldnt do it.

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Clovers Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:48pm
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You're right. I guess because it's a small town...

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CanadianChick Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 2:30am
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oh, honey no!

Do NOT explain your personal life to them (taking time off work for their order). None of their flippin' business.

Do NOT say "sure, drop it off where I work" again, none of their flippin' business.

you want to be professional, act professional and require that you are treated professionally.

no contract, no cake. Last minute change, if you want to do it, you say what you're willing to do. And charge extra.

And you NEED to give yourself more time than that to get final payment, IMO. Payment was due on Sunday for a large custom order to be delivered less than two weeks later? heck no!

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cylstrial Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 2:50am
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So what happened Clovers? It's Friday and it's past 5. Did they show up with the cash?

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Clovers Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 1:28pm
post #28 of 50

Nope - in fact, she hasn't even replied to that last email that I had sent. (By the way CutiePie, I did put specifically 'tomorrow (Friday) by 5pm', and thanks for the contract signing advice. I work for a law firm too (but MUCH smaller than a TO one!) so I have that part covered.. not that it mattered this time!)

As for the very short deadline - I was trying to leave myself a huge out because I, at the time, was in a position that I may have had to move to a new town for a job in the time between the tasting and the wedding so I wanted to give myself a way to bail out without too much drama, so I made the dates for deposits closer to the date than I would have, with a clause that the contract can be null and void for any reason at all by either party up to and including the date of the deposit due date (knowing I would know by the 20th whether I was moving or not).

I think I will send her another email this evening confirming that the date is no longer available, just so that it's clear and in writing that I am not providing them with anything.

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cownsj Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:13pm
post #29 of 50

Good Grief. Are you sure they are Lucy holding the football and you aren't Charlie Brown about to try to kick it?
Actually, I think you've done very well in how you've handled it all. I'm just so sorry you've had all this stress over it. And the poor bride doesn't have a clue her friend is messing things up for her. I'm guessing they'll end up running to Walmart or where ever and just buying up what they can in the way of cupcakes and/or cakes.
You just focus on your brothers wedding now and look at this as a Godsend that you have been given the time to be able to just relax and find full enjoyment for his big day. Sometimes I think we are given these "opportunities" to have the time off to enjoy other things, even when we didn't realize it's what we really wanted or needed.
Congrats to your brother and his bride.

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cakesbycathy Posted 26 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm
post #30 of 50

Your email needs to be short and sweet:

"Since I did not receive the deposit and cash by Friday, September 25th at 5pm I can no longer make your cake."

That's it. No need for any further explanation. And when they call and email and beg you to do the cake since they won't be able to find anyone else at the last minute, stand firm!!

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