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Customers like this make me reconsider...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is just a vent really. I'll start off by saying I'm a hobby cake decorator and 95% of my "customers" are family and friends. The rest of my time is spent on a full-time job (40 hrs/wk), planning a wedding, and not to mention my house is currently on the market which means clean, clean, clean all the time! I don't have to time to worry about whether a customer (aka friend....albeit not a close friend) is going to follow through on a cake order!

She emailed me a good 4-5 weeks before her event, which was a smaller birthday cake for her daughter, which also happened to fall on Easter this year. So far so good! Not too time consuming, and notified me in plenty of time. She sent me a few ideas and told me to run with it. I gave her an idea of size/serving size and some different options we could do, to just let me know on the size and flavor. A couple weeks go by, no answer on the size/flavor. I figure she got busy and forgot, so I sent her a reminder. Another few days go by, no answer. I send her another email that states I need to have an answer no later than a week before her event. That deadline goes by, still no answer. Instead of sending her a message again thru facebook...I try her email thinking "maybe something is wrong with her facebook?" This time I give her until the Monday before her event (again...I need time to prepare for supplies, baking time, etc as I have many other things going on besides a cake "business"). No answer. By the time Easter rolls around, I spend the whole day worrying that she's going to get ahold of me wondering when she can pick up her cake and I have no cake to give her! And now, the day after, I have not heard a single thing from her. No "Sorry I changed my mind" or anything!!

Ultimately, its really not that big of a deal. Although, I would have really been furious had she called on Sunday expecting a cake and then gone around bad-mouthing my "business" aka hobby after I couldn't give her one. I just wonder how you can commit to something (as far as I was concerned, she was past the "just inquiring" stage and really was committing to the order) and then not even give a heads up of "hey, I changed my mind." Grr, just had to get this off my chest.

And yes I know what some of you are thinking..."Get a deposit ahead of time!". I'm just glad I hadn't bought any supplies. And I'm glad she didn't already give me the size/flavor (so I didn't have it all done) and then just plain not show up. Ultimately, the only thing I lost is another chance to practice. Its just customers like this that make me never want to go past this being a hobby!
post #2 of 11
you are NOT alone! after I was first decorating I had this same thing happen...BUT, the outcome was worse icon_sad.gif not only did they NEVER contact me back about servings/flavors/where to go with the cake, etc. but they called 10pm the night before icon_surprised.gif yes, i'm not even kidding. I politely told them I did not make the cake because I had left numerous messages and no one got back to me...how was I supposed to know what to do! and this lady had every excuse in the book. so, don't feel bad...it's one slight bad experience and you move on. stating what you need up front is a big help tho icon_wink.gif
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
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post #3 of 11
it sucks, a simple, thank you Im not interested anymore would have cost her nothing, but I must say I dont go to that much trouble, one email reminder is all they get from me and then if there is no response then I forget about them.

I dont do any cakes withoutthe order placed a week in andvance and a deposit paid, and that is stated in the signature of every email I send out, so even if they arrive on my doorstep expecting a cake I would not feel bad at all!

you need to set a few ground rules , even if it is a hobby, and you will enjoy it even more!!
post #4 of 11
Always get a phone number from potential customers, if they haven't provided one that's the first thing I ask. This whole situation could have been settled with a single phone call.
post #5 of 11
I'm just a hobby baker who makes cakes for friend's birthdays as a gift and for family gatherings.(there is a CFL in my state . I work a FT job with lots of overtime so I dont try to sell cakes. )
Last year I made two friends each a carrot cake on their birthdays .
The one asked me to make her another one for Thanksgiving well in advance . Two weeks before she gave me the money to buy the ingredients . So far so good. I didn't mind.
The other person I consider a good friend. She mentioned how much would it be if she bought one of my cakes. So weeks go by and she says nothing . We were out of town shopping late on a friday night and we didn't get home until after 1 am. About 8:30 that night she ask me If I could make a cake for her . I said when did you want it .She said Sunday .
I just couldn't believe she waited to ask me since she knew that I was leaving the next morning to go almost 200 miles to visit my family for Christmas.
This person usually has some sense about her .
post #6 of 11
Oh, man >_< on the bright side, at least you DIDN'T have a prepared cake 'just in case' that she hadn't turned up for. I do understand not taking deposits - I'm relatively new to all this, and I only bake from home around my full-time job too, for friends and family. But I do think that ONLY baking for friends and family also reduces your risk somewhat of being messed around. People are less likely to do things like this when they know they're going to have to see you at work the next day XD
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post #7 of 11
That stinks that she was so casual about it.

BUT...you're right that we should be telling you to get a deposit. But I will also say to remember that not everyone who talks to you about a cake is a client. I see a lot of people on here who get all worked up becasue someone mentioned in passing that they might want a cake for this or that, and they then run out to buy the supplies to make it. An inquiry is just an inquiry until you have the payment, it isn't a booking until you've been paid.
post #8 of 11
i totally understand. I also have a 40+ hour a week job and do cakes on the side. Only i made a 3-tier zebra cake for a lady who had a family emergency and asked if i could freeze it a week. well the closer it got to the time i started texting her and she never responded at all. needless to say to keep the cake from going to waste i took it to work and let them enjoy it. lesson learn.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

That stinks that she was so casual about it.

BUT...you're right that we should be telling you to get a deposit. But I will also say to remember that not everyone who talks to you about a cake is a client. I see a lot of people on here who get all worked up becasue someone mentioned in passing that they might want a cake for this or that, and they then run out to buy the supplies to make it. An inquiry is just an inquiry until you have the payment, it isn't a booking until you've been paid.



Amen! I know someone who has mentioned twice that she wants me to make her cake (and I know she really wants me to do it because she's brought it up twice). I have given her one reminder that she needs to get in touch with me, and sort out the details including putting down a deposit real soon since the date is less than 2 weeks away. The last time we spoke she said she wasn't sure how big of a party she wanted-- and thus couldn't decide how much cake to get. I have no intention of bringing it up again. I am quite certain I will not be doing that cake if I don't hear from her by Saturday. I am preparing myself now to be strong and not cave in when she comes whining after she realizes that I'm putting my foot down.

People often think because you run a home bakery they can treat it as anything less than a business. I tell them, if you wanted a photographer or event planner for your event would you wait till the last minute and risk having them already booked on your day? This isn't Walmart where you have cake just waiting to be picked up.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by myxstorie

Oh, man >_< on the bright side, at least you DIDN'T have a prepared cake 'just in case' that she hadn't turned up for. I do understand not taking deposits - I'm relatively new to all this, and I only bake from home around my full-time job too, for friends and family. But I do think that ONLY baking for friends and family also reduces your risk somewhat of being messed around. People are less likely to do things like this when they know they're going to have to see you at work the next day XD



this is actually not true...I have seen numerous stories about people being taking advantage of more-so because it is a family member or coworker. deep down inside they are thinking they can get away with things because of your relationship and that you should be flexible. if this hasn't happened to you yet...well good! icon_wink.gif but be prepared when it does.
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
Reply
It's not "just" cake...it's my life!
WI State Representative for Icing Smiles...start 'Baking a Difference" today!
Reply
post #11 of 11
Oh my lord, friends and family are the WORST! They'll give you way more trouble than strangers!
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