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Too harsh?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Back on July 3, I was contacted on line by a potential customer asking about pricing on my cakes.  I got back with her and we discussed design options and pricing.  She told me it all sounded great and she would get back to me.  I pencil people into my calendar and give them 2 weeks from the date I do a quote to get me a firm answer/deposit and then take them off the calendar if they haven't paid a deposit.

 

Two weeks later, I had heard nothing so I emailed her and asked if she wanted to place an order.  She told me she decided against it because the family was spending their $$ on a vacation.  That was fine.  Done deal.

 

About 6 weeks later, at the end of August, she contacted me again with a new party date and theme and asked for a quote.  I got it to her, she said she wanted it, I did an invoice/contract and emailed it to her.  I told her she needed to sign the contract, and send it back with the deposit.  I heard nothing for two weeks.

 

I contacted her again and asked her if she wanted the order.  She said she did, but couldn't print the invoice and asked me to mail one to her.  I did.  She wrote back that she couldn't write me a check right now (not sure why) and could I accept cash.  I said I would but of course, cautioned her against mailing cash.  She asked if we could meet up at a location between us (we live about 20 miles apart, so I drove the 10 miles to meet her at the time, place, date she specified).  She never showed up.

 

When I got home I contacted her and she was all apologies but no reasons why.  She said she'd mail the payment right away.

 

I sent her another reminder at the end of September, and she said she still wanted it and would mail it.

 

As of yesterday 10/23, nothing has been received.  She wants the cake on 11/23.  My policy is payment in full one month before the cake delivery, so I emailed her this:

 

Dear Customer,

 

I just wanted to let you know I'm going to have to cancel your order due to non-payment. My invoice clearly states that payment in full is due one month prior to the cake delivery, and since I've received no deposits/payments, I am not going to be able to fulfill your order.

 

Now I'm feeling mean.  Was I too harsh?  I just don't want this lady as a customer anymore, honestly.  I have a busy cottage food business and really don't need her order to make ends meet next month, and I feel like I've gone out of my way.  What would you have done?

post #2 of 14

i don't see anything harsh about that--she's already in to you for time, postage, printing and gas--i think you said it great.

 

cut your losses right?

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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post #3 of 14

what is it about cake designers that we are such people pleasers? Geeze, I would have done the same thing, convinced myself that I have to play hardball if I want to run a business, then feel bad afterwards. I wish we were not like that.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by shebysuz View Post
 

what is it about cake designers that we are such people pleasers? Geeze, I would have done the same thing, convinced myself that I have to play hardball if I want to run a business, then feel bad afterwards. I wish we were not like that.

 

that's interesting--my first response that i edited out was--send her an invoice for the gas you wasted--:lol: 

 

but to answer your question both traits are necessary for a successful business-- as a designer we want to draw out exactly what will make the client happy--ring their bell--

 

we just have to be able to whip that hat off and whip on the -- 'you gotta do this my way' hat also--for all the important business aspects that enable you to conduct business and make you happy like get paid.

my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
post #5 of 14

It's very clear that the cake is not her priority.  I can see you chasing her down for delivery info, etc., as the date got closer.  Better to cut this one and move on.  Your e-mail is great--to the point and not emotional.  If she sends/brings money, just return it and tell her that you're booked with PAID cakes for that day.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by maybenot View Post
 

It's very clear that the cake is not her priority.  I can see you chasing her down for delivery info, etc., as the date got closer.  Better to cut this one and move on.  Your e-mail is great--to the point and not emotional.  If she sends/brings money, just return it and tell her that you're booked with PAID cakes for that day.

 

Agreed.  You made plenty of attempts to work with her.

 

Liz

Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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Follow me on my Twitter handle: @Sugar_Iowa

Or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SugarFineBakedGoodsAndConfections

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post #7 of 14
I think you were polite while firm and that's all you could have done.
elsewhere.
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elsewhere.
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post #8 of 14
Not too harsh at all, I would have responded with a similar email.

Actually I probably would have been less lenient regarding accepting the payment, if she couldn't write a check but wanted to pay in cash she could drive the cash over to my location. If she insisted on meeting in the middle I would add my regular delivery charge ($1/minute, including drive time to/from and waiting time) to the total due.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.  :)

 

I get all tough on the inside about how I'm going to be and then soften up and then feel bad if I have to say no.  Ugh!

 

And Jason, next time someone asks me to meet, I WILL charge a mileage fee!

post #10 of 14

I personally would avoid this woman like the plague. She's giving you the complete run-around and wasting your time and money (printing invoices, petrol etc). If you do end up making the cake for her, she'll probably turn around and complain that it was a) dry b) not what she wanted c) damaged in transit d) all of the above. I'm sure you don't need her business that badly to keep persuing her. Might have to write this one off to experience.

post #11 of 14

You did the right thing and you did it in a very professional manner!

Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsaun View Post
 

"........ I just don't want this lady as a customer anymore, honestly.  I have a busy cottage food business and really don't need her order to make ends meet next month.............."

:judge:   'nuff said.

~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
3D Figures
(1 photos)
Cupcakes!
(12 photos)
Fishing / Hunting
(10 photos)
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post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisyblue002 View Post
 

I personally would avoid this woman like the plague. She's giving you the complete run-around and wasting your time and money (printing invoices, petrol etc). If you do end up making the cake for her, she'll probably turn around and complain that it was a) dry b) not what she wanted c) damaged in transit d) all of the above. I'm sure you don't need her business that badly to keep persuing her. Might have to write this one off to experience.


Agree.

post #14 of 14
I wouldn't have bothered with contacting her at all, but what you wrote was fine.
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
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Birthday Cakes
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