Wishy Washy Clients - Venting

For the last two weeks I’ve been back and forth with a corporate company about creating a fabulous cake for their company’s anniversary party. I provided them with a tasting (which they liked) and a sketch (which they loved) and they said they wanted to book me and requested a contract and invoice last week. With the date only few weeks away I needed to order supplies and start making lots of decorations (the cake was going to be a phantom of opera/masquerade cake so I need to make lots of roses and masks etc…). On Tuesday they said they’d send me the contracts and payment by this Friday – I emailed them back and advised them that I can’t hold dates without signed contracts and deposit and that I really hope they can provide the contracts to me on Wednesday. Again, I was eager to start working and I already did too much for them without a contract, and I was starting to get a bad feeling about dealing with these people.

Just as I suspected, they emailed me the next day and said they decided to go with another vendor…. So were they just giving me the run around or did I offend them by trying to get the contract quicker? Excuse me for trying to confirm – afterall, decorations take time, especially when I juggle with a full time job, and I already invested too much time with them without having a signed contract. Lesson learned.
What do you think and how would you have handled it?

Maria @ http://www.facebook.com/rooneygirlbakeshop or http://www.rooneygirlbakeshop.com

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6 Replies

cakealicious77 ...

Wow, i think i would have been so mad! Its not your fault that you were trying to get a confirmation from them, they probably went with the other vendor because they gave them a cheaper quote. Don’t even stress yourself about it-like you said ‘’lesson learned’‘.The cake in the end probably wasn’t as good as yours anyway!!

Kara's Couture Cakes ...

Many other businesses don’t understand that caking is different from even caterers in the food industry. Our work is much more of a process. I don’t think you did anything to be offensive. You need to support your business with good and standard practices, and that’s what you did. Where ever they may have gone to, they probably will not be as happy. I learned this lesson a couple times before I changed my standard operating procedures.

Now I only sketch with $50 non-refundable deposit and it gets my watermark as well as a notice that it is my design, they are not allowed to keep it, and that I have sole rights to what they see on the paper. I do apply the deposit to the final cost of the cake when they book, though.

You can’t work without commitment from a paying customer. You defended your business, your time, and your efforts. You told them exactly what was needed to firm a contract, and even if they were just giving you a run around, you’re only out the cost of the samples and the time to sketch. Lesson learned, but always do what is right for your business and for you.

Jenniffer White ...

I am sorry they backed out on you; I know it hurts. The only thing you did wrong:

_ I already did too much for them without a contract_

I require a 50% deposit to hold a date and if the event is less than 90 days away I require the full amount upfront. I don’t buy ay supplies or start making any decorations until I have that deposit.

Maria @ RooneyGirl BakeShop ...

Thanks ladies! I can always count on you for words of encouragement!

Fun Fiesta Cakes ...

I know just how you feel – I’ve experienced something similar, but not with a corporate client. You did NOTHING wrong – so don’t second-guess yourself.

Look at it as part of a growing experience – next time just make sure you explain to the client that in the cake business you need a confirmation and a deposit way in advance because the decorations are labor-intensive and require time to dry. With the exception of the actual cake – everything else needs to be done in advance. Perhaps if they understand this concept, they’ll react faster.

Hot Mama's Cakes ...

That’s so irritating!!! i’m sorry that happened to you. It’s such a waste of your time. I hate spending time on a sketch just to have the client back out.