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How to handle late clients for pick-ups?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
How do you handle different customers who are 1 -2 hours late for pick-ups? Do you have a section of your website or email that states your policy on late pick-ups and by how much time is acceptable for their lateness? What should I say on this. I am having a lot of late customers these days. An hour to two hours late for pick-ups. It really throws off my day. All these people pay down half on their orders.
post #2 of 13
The stores around my area close at a certain time. They aren't going to open up for me if I show up at 10 p.m. and they closed at 9.

You should be the same. Say it and mean it!

(bear in mind I don't have a business so don't know how this policy would affect you $$ wise, but perhaps losing a bit of $$ at first with this strict and important policy would let your customers know that you mean it!)
post #3 of 13
I'd start requiring payment in full before you start any work on an order. Give them a time period in which you are available for pick up and if they don't show during that time then no cake for them. Then it's their loss and you aren't losing money because the order is already paid in full. And of course modify your contract to include this policy.
post #4 of 13
I haven't had this happen. I just arrange a mutually acceptable time with each client. Usually my non-wedding clients are told "I will be here until midday, after which I am not available because I am out delivering and setting up wedding cakes". I then advise them that anytime between 9am and midday will be fine for me. Some people arrange to collect it the night before (if I've finished it), and some later in the afternoon when I return. We come up with a mutually acceptable time.

Like I said, no-one has just shown up late. Theoretically, if nobody showed by noon (the usual pick up time window I arrange), I would probably call them at midday to see if they are ok (not involved in a car accident for example), and offer them a time later in the day when I will return to the cake studio, to collect their cake. I like being reasonable with my clients. Its just my personality I guess. Telling a client that they've now lost their cake bc they didn't show on time is not my style.

HTH

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Life's too short to make cake pops.
___________________________________
www.sweetperfection.com.au

www.sweetperfectioncakes.blogspot.com.au/
www.facebook.com/sweetperfectioncakes (come visit sometime!)

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post #5 of 13
I would require payment in full at least a couple weeks in advance. This way, you have the money before you even start making the cake. If late customers becomes a serious issue, you could charge a late fee to those who are a couple hours late. Make sure it is high enough to motivate the customer to arrive on time. No late fee payment, no cake. As long as the customer plans to arrive on time, then the policy shouldn't be an issue. Of course you could bend & alter the policy as you saw fit, but having it in the contract would definitely get more customers to be punctual.
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post #6 of 13
Have them pay in full ahead of time. They know you will wait for them because they have half the money they owe you. Let them know that the time has to be specific because you have deliveries or other things to do and you may not be there otherwise. Seems like people are trying to take advantage of you because you let them.
post #7 of 13
As the others have said, don't even start work until it is paid in full. Set up a time for them to come that is agreed upon by both of you. If they do not show up within 20-30 minutes of that time then have a late fee or not be there. Your time is just as valuable as theirs. Make sure you have this all in the contract. You can always bend a little especially if they call and let you know they are running late. If you will still be there, then fine. If you have errands to run then set up another time.

I know someone that has a client with an attitude that she is better than everyone else. Rich hubby and she does not work. She was always being late, an hour or more. Adding a fee would not bother this lady. She made her contract iron clad about late customers. When this lady was late again, my friend drove several houses down the street and visited with a neighbor. They watched while the lady waited about 30 minutes and then finally left. She was able to pick up the cake about an hour later and then got to the party late with the cake. Needless to say she has not been late again.
post #8 of 13
1. I require full payment in advance.
2. I schedule pick-up appointments in 30 min increments at their convenience.
3. If they miss their appointment without calling, they have to reschedule at MY convenience (& it may not be convenient until the next day!) or pay a late fee.

Of course they initial each of these policies & sign the contract when paying & I remind them when we schedule the pick-up appointment
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Legal, licensed, and insured since May 2011!
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post #9 of 13
I had a customer show up late, with the order paid in full. It was only 2 dozen cupcakes, but She didn't call and she didn't answer when I called. I called 3 times, and left 2 messages, the first saying I had to leave at 10, the second stating I was leaving in 20 minutes. I waited 40 minutes after the last call, then left. She called me about a half an hour after I left, FROM MY DRIVEWAY!!! I told here I'd be home after 3, but she said she needed them at 1, an hour away...I, nicely, politely, told her tough... and I gave the cupcakes to my favorite client the next day. And I will not be accepting another order from her. Her loss, you teach people how to treat you.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #10 of 13
Just piping in with my 2 cents.
I do half down deposit and remainder on pickup usually. The last cake I made, the lady was supposed to be there at 8am. I got food poisoning the previous evening and was unable to finish work on the cake (yuck) so I got up at 5am, still sick as a dog, to finish up. She didn't show up until 2:30. Kept texting me to say "Leaving now" etc. Her van wouldn't start, then she had to run over here for something, etc. I was LIVID. The whole day I wasted waiting for her. HOURS. My husband and kid were waiting with me so we could go out together afterward to the park.
This is a good client but I seem to have problems with late pickups from a lot of clients. I'd hate to not give a cake out, but it feels like that's something that is going to have to happen next time someone does that to me. Maybe start charging a per hour fee for late pickups or something. BOO! Why can't people just stick with their agreed-upon time?
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Tomorrow is always fresh:
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post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. Will implement a lot of these suggestions. I know it will stop the lateness.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivateNameHere

Maybe start charging a per hour fee for late pickups or something.



A couple of people have suggested this, but if you make it a policy, it may well backfire.

Child are centers in Israel had a late pickup problem so they implemented a late fee. The result? Tardiness went UP. (You can read about it in the first cheaper of the book Freakonomics or here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/books/chapters/0515-1st-levitt.htm.)

It seems that the social contract to be there on time was replaced with an economic contract. So all those parents who wouldn't ever consider inconveniencing the staff by being late could suddenly just choose to pay a fee and turn up late!

- Rick
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickMeasham

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivateNameHere

Maybe start charging a per hour fee for late pickups or something.



A couple of people have suggested this, but if you make it a policy, it may well backfire.

Child are centers in Israel had a late pickup problem so they implemented a late fee. The result? Tardiness went UP. (You can read about it in the first cheaper of the book Freakonomics or here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/books/chapters/0515-1st-levitt.htm.)

It seems that the social contract to be there on time was replaced with an economic contract. So all those parents who wouldn't ever consider inconveniencing the staff by being late could suddenly just choose to pay a fee and turn up late!

- Rick



Not just Israel either. The original explanation in the US was that the late fees would pay staff the required overtime. Some parents then started showing up a whole hour late...until the child care management started calling the police to report parents missing or children apparently abandoned. You know, it only took one call per household from the police at 7:30PM when the posted closing time was 6PM to fix the problem.

Some people think that they own your soul when they pay down that deposit...I refuse to do repeat business with such. Your terms must be part of the written contract that you issue to ALL orders when you accept their deposit. I expect that you would have to charge $50 per hour to solve the problem that way.

I personally avoided this by doing all deliveries myself NO pickups.
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