Customer From Hell

Business By clairific Updated 4 Dec 2016 , 1:46pm by cfao

clairific Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
clairific Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 3:17am
post #1 of 10

I need help or advice on how you would handle this customer... 

first off, for over a month now, she has been emailing me pics of cakes and asking for a price. Every once in a while, she slips in the same cake pic. I think she's trying to catch me on a lower price. 

Second, she keeps going back and forth on whether she wants a cake at all, or just cookies. I've realized she is an absolute perfectionist and have sent her a message letting her know I would no longer be available to make the cake if she decided to get one because of family stuff that came up, but she had already sent a message saying she didn't want the cake. She was fine with that as long as I could still do the cookie. I have a very busy week ahead, so I made the cookies yesterday and froze them. They are perfectly fine that way and same quality. Today she messages saying she only wants half the order now. 

How would you handle her? I know it's not her fault I made her cookies ahead of time. But what about in the future? Would you refuse service? Lay down guidelines? 

9 replies
ElizabethsCakeCreations Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
ElizabethsCakeCreations Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 4:03am
post #2 of 10

Most important thing is money and contracts in this situation. Has either happened?

Apti Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Apti Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 6:35am
post #3 of 10

Tell her you require payment in full by "--fill in date---" in order to complete the order for the cookies.  {There is no need to tell her the cookies are already done.}  

If you do not received payment in full for the cookies by that date, then there is no order.     If she does pay in full for the cookies, delivery the cookies, take the payment and say "thank you for the order".

If she doesn't order the cookies, donate them somewhere and consider this a lesson learned.

In the future:   

Spend at least 3 hours here on CakeCentral reading threads about pricing in the Business Forum.

NEVER make anything until you have your deposit, a contract, and payment in full before delivery.

clairific Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
clairific Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 12:15pm
post #4 of 10

I was counting this time as a lesson learned. 'Lastly wondering how to deal with her in the future. 

Jinkies Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Jinkies Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 1:47pm
post #5 of 10

I would simply tell her I was booked because I wouldn't want to deal with that.  If you'd like to take orders from her in the future, then follow @Apti ‍ advice.  Tons of threads on here on this subject.  Most cakers (myself included) require 50% deposit to even be on the calendar, then the balance has to be paid in full 2 weeks prior to delivery.  I never start any work on an order until it is paid in full (and it's non-refundable).

The longer you're in this business, the tougher you'll become.  It's not worth the money to deal with that.  Take charge and tell your potential clients, up front, what you expect as far as payment deadlines, then stick to it.  

clairific Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
clairific Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 3:42pm
post #6 of 10

Yeah, she's driving me crazy. I never want to deal with her again. Not to mention, she totally blasted another business all over Facebook because they refused to serve her anymore. 

Jinkies Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Jinkies Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 3:57pm
post #7 of 10

Oh well, there ya go.  Just be booked every time she calls.  You don't need to deal with that  :)

julia1812 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
julia1812 Posted 16 Oct 2016 , 4:26pm
post #8 of 10

Ya...those types of customers can be annoying. I don't even spend time giving out quotes in detail. If someone sends me a picture of a cake like in your case, I tell them what the basic price per serving is and the price for extra decoration/toppers etc and send them a list of flavours to choose. I also let them know that I need a deposit to consider it booked. 

I stopped wasting time on customers who can't make up their mind...It normally doesn't end good and I'm sorry you made that experience. But lime you said - lesson learned. Never start with anything unless you got some money paid for it.

Itsabakerslife Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Itsabakerslife Posted 25 Nov 2016 , 11:24pm
post #9 of 10

I learnt this lesson very recently. Problem customers aren't worth the time or effort. Next time, before I accept an order, I'm going to ask for a deposit for sure. Also, no last minute orders. An unsure customer and a last minute order with no deposit given is a match made in hell. I'm relatively new to all this, and am literally learning all this from my mistakes. Guess I should have read the business section on CC beforehand! 

cfao Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cfao Posted 4 Dec 2016 , 1:46pm
post #10 of 10

A little late on this, but I've had a few of these customers. Guidelines, rules, etc just don't work on some of these people, you could tell them straight out that you don't want their orders and they will still come back. One in particular I had stands out, when she was planning her wedding she was emailing me pics and showing up at wedding shows, changing her mind constantly. It was always "Well how much if I do this or I do that?" and no matter what price I threw at her, it was too much. She finally drew out her dream cake that had everything and the kitchen sink on it, I gave her 1 final price, which was of course too high and I thought I was done with her. Low & behold the week before her wedding the hall she was having her wedding said they had a bride who hadn't found anyone to do her cake yet and could I fit it in. I told them sure and they emailed it over to me, sure enough it was her hand drawn dream cake, I got a good laugh when I saw it. I did the cake knowing this hall adds 25% to whatever they are charged, so after all of her emails she ended up paying even more for being a pita. 

Since then she sends over inquiries 2-3 times a year, for the first couple I would send a quick quote, which was always too high, and I ignored any further emails from her. Her wedding was about 10 years ago and I haven't responded to any of her cake requests since that first year, so sometimes these people don't get the hint lol...every time I see her email show up I giggle and wonder to my self how many other decorators also got her email...again :)

Quote by @%username% on %date%