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last minute orders...ARGH!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
are killing me!! i seem to only get orders on wed or thurs for cakes for friday or saturdays!!!

is this normal?? i keep saying that i'm going to say NO to these last minute orders....but then I'd never have any!!!

i had NO orders for this week....until last night at freaking 8:30!! now one wants the cake for friday and another wants it on saturday!!!

i've thought about adding a 'surcharge' or something for cake orders less than 48hrs notice....but there is no way for these people to find this stuff out!! No website or business or anything. They are usually people being referred from my friends and coworkers!!

but i guess normally people don't usually plan ahead for cakes....esp if they had planned on going to walmart!!!

just wondering if it is normal to get such last minute order ALL the time?
post #2 of 15
I'm in the same boat. I didn't have any for this week, now I'm up to number four! I don't want to turn people away, but I don't feel I can do my best with such short notice.

I think I'm just OCD enough that if it was me planning an event, I would be planning weeks in advance and certainly wouldn't wait for the last minute to order the cake.

I don't really think there's any answer to this for those of us that don't have a true business. We're at the mercy of our customers. icon_cry.gif

usaribbon.gif Samantha
post #3 of 15
I have a girlfriend that gets last minute orders all the time. This is on top of her advance orders. She has a hard time saying no since she is trying to build her business and the money is a very good thing for her.

I focus on cookies and get tons of last minute orders. Mine are usually next day requests. I always say no to orders with less than 72 hour notice. I've had calls for same day requests. I work full-time and the cookies are more for fun than money for me. Don't get me wrong, the ka'ching I make off the cookies is great - that's what I use to continue building my cutter collection (I'm a total addict) and shoe collection.

I had one lady ask for 200 cookies in the same week. This would have been a $600 plus order - with about a $500 profit. Tempting as it was - and I didn't have any other committments and would have had plenty of time to do them with my schedule day off - I turned her down. My girlfriend here at work asked why, I just didn't feel like doing them. I think I was PMSing at the time and wasn't in the mood. Now ask me this week and I just might say yes. LOL!!!
post #4 of 15
I have the same dilemma some times. I always ask for at least a 48 hour notice. When I dont get it, I let them know that there will be an emergency order fee. If it is something simple and I dont have a lot of other orders, I'll just do it for the regular charge. I have had several people call me in the morning and ask for a cake that afternoon!!! I say okay, but there will be an extra charge. They seem to be fine with it, as I havent lost any orders to the grocery store refrigerator!!! icon_lol.gif
Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
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Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
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post #5 of 15
here it's almost always last minute orders. I take them and that's what's giving me more business. Usually the bakery and the other cake lady here doesn't do them. So I get my usual clients plus the last minute ones. Of course for last minute orders they should not want anything too fancy. I usually do simple borders and maybe a flower or two but that's it. But what I call last minute here is less than 24 hours notice. More than that it's normal around here. But big cakes are ordered long time in advance, normally. But you even get last minute orders with those.

Lorris
post #6 of 15
I would probably still do the cakes, but definitely express the concern to the customer of it being a last minute order. Tell the person you'll charge such and such amount more because you typically require so many days notice. That way they get their cake, you get some extra money for your trouble and they know in the future (hopefully) to order sooner.

I'm a planner myself and can't imagine waiting the day before or the day of to order a cake or anything for an event.
post #7 of 15
I figure if I'm doing cakes anyways - what's one more! Now I do all my baking one day (Thurs) so if they call Thurs eve., they're out of luck! It's not worth breaking out the mixture and making another mess for one more cake. Now this might be bad... but I sometimes ask them what they want before I tell them whether I do it or not! If it's "just a small cake" with character (Barbie?), I might tell them I'm booked up. But if they need a baby shower cake or bridal shower, then I'll usually do it!
I'd rather get those referrals, than the character birthday cakes!
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
well I get lucky in that my last minute order don't usually care how it's decorated, they just want something that taste good!! so i get to decorate how ever i want. i usually ask what their fav. color is and go from there. but since i don't have alot of time to work on them....my decos are usually simple! I would love to be able to attempt some more elaborate/detailed designs!!

but since i'm only getting the last minute orders....i don't really want to say no!! or i wouldn't have any orders at all!!

plus i usually get excited esp when it's someone I don't know who is calling and they start out w/"i heard you make the most delicious cakes" or i was at so-n-so's party and they had the best cake and i was told you made it!!" so i couldn't say to them after they stuff like that!!! icon_lol.gif
post #9 of 15
I would give my right arm to have some last minute orders. If I do get last minute orders, I would definitely take it. I'm still trying to build my business. Now if this was a wedding cake I would definitely charge an additional $1.50 per serving depending on the size needed.

If there is anyone in GA who doesn't want to take a last minute order, I'll do it. icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
post #10 of 15
I must laugh at this cause I can not get ANY orders!! Talk about ARggg!! At least you have orders. I am going to make three cakes next week for church & hope & pray something comes out of it. Just be happy you have orders. thumbs_up.gif
Cake minds think alike.
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Cake minds think alike.
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post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
alright.....now you guys got me feeling gulity!! icon_redface.gificon_lol.gif

guess i should be happy that i'm actually getting orders!!! i was having a bit of a dry spell not too long ago that i was gripping to hubby about!! icon_confused.gif

but they are kinda a pain the rear!!
post #12 of 15
Please don't feel guilty!! I can see where you are coming from. Cause I am a planner. I just thought to my self when I read your post "I wish I had one order."
Cake minds think alike.
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Cake minds think alike.
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post #13 of 15
Don't feel guilty at all. Last minute orders can be a little stressful and overwhelming at the same time. I just wish I could experience that right now. icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 15
I can NOT believe that with your skills and your portfolio that people would ever assume that you can whip one out in a couple days! I'm sure they think you're Wonder Woman! (and you haven't proven otherwise yet!) Sometimes I can take a whole month to come up with a concept for a cake. I don't really do a lot of orders on a regular basis. I tell all my friends I do Wedding Cakes, and they know I'm not just piddling around in the kitchen. They ask me how much advance notice they should give me and I tell them 1 or 2 wks.

However......My DS turning 9 had asked me about his cake 2 days before his bday party. I thought we had discussed it and that he was having hamburger and hotdog cupcakes!!!!!! (I had already made many to send to school and for the family on his actual birthday.) So I had to figure out a baseball cake design using the materials I already had! I was still decorating as the guests were arriving, but I made my boys help paint the bats and the people in the stands and put the bases on the cake.
post #15 of 15
Okay, this is how I feel about last minute orders....I NEVER charge extra just because they are ordering last minute....I either can do it or I can't. Usually if someone's having a party, the cake isn't usually the first thing people think of like it is for us. I've picked up alot more customers because I was able to whip up a nice cake in a short amount of time. These are the customers that usually remember me for future cakes.

I had a customer walk in to my shop last year & ask me for a birthday cake for his sister...it was my birthday & I had just stopped in for a sec & he caught me going out the door. It was about 10:00am & he needed it for 7:00...I almost said no, but thought what the heck. He told me to do whatever so I made a chocolate basket cake with strawberries & a handle. He was so appreciative that I did that last minute for him, that now he gives me his orders for cakes.

So what might seem like a pain in that moment can actually end up very profitable for you in the end.
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