5 Questions You Should Ask Before Accepting an Order
There's always a special feeling of excitement when someone reaches out to you to place an order for their celebration! Whether it's a cake for a birthday party, cake pops for a bridal shower or cupcakes for a retirement celebration, there are some key questions that require answers BEFORE you accept the order. DO NOT say 'yes' right away! Instead, ask the following 5 questions to help you make an informed decision:
1. What day and time do you need the order?
This is a key question! First, you should always check your calendar for prior commitments to know whether or not you can have an order ready on time. If you're already booked, you're booked. Taking on additional orders in this case will most likely cause unnecessary stress. Of course, having as much notice from your potential client is ideal, but the truth is that many people wait until the last minute to make arrangements for custom desserts. Based on your availability, you may choose not to accept orders without at least 2 weeks notice. I know from experience that accepting orders with tight deadlines can be especially rough! If your calendar is clear and you feel that you have enough notice, proceed to the next question...
2. Are there any food allergies or sensitivities?
The answer to this question will start to gauge the difficulty level of the order.
IMPORTANT: If you don't have experience baking for food allergies or sensitivities, it's in the best interest of your potential client that you NOT take the order! The most common requests are:
This is not a complete list, so caution is a MUST. If you're comfortable with the response to this question, proceed to the next question...
3. Is there a specific design and/or theme?
This is another question whose answer will further gauge the difficulty level of the order and your confidence as a cake artist! If you ask this question and the potential client doesn't have any ideas in mind, you can prompt them with the following questions:
How many people will realistically be eating cake, cake pops, cupcakes etc?
The answer will determine the serving size/quantity.
How many tiers would you like to have?
Ask this question if you're being asked to make a cake and the potential client requires more than 20 servings.
What color(s) and special accents would you like to have?
Here is where the small details start to emerge and you'll need to have confidence in executing the vision. It's very important not to over-promise at this point, especially if you don't have much experience.
The answers to these questions will start to give you an idea of an approximate price for the order.
IMPORTANT: In some cases, the potential client may ask you to duplicate something that another cake artist has created. This can be especially frustrating if you feel like your creative license has been revoked! Keep in mind that those who contact you should be attracted to YOUR style. Use discretion in modifying the suggested design to be more original and keep your potential client in the loop!
If you remain confident, proceed to the next question....
4. What cake and icing flavors would you like to have?
In most cases, your potential client will lead with this information based on what they love or what they know the celebrant loves. Like the previous question, the answers here will help you determine the inner complexities of the order. Ask yourself: Will this flavor combination work well with the design/theme? If not, you'll need to make some recommendations to bring the potential client's request into alignment. If so, proceed to the final question...
5. Are you aware of my deposit policy?
I recently heard a gut-wrenching story from a fellow cake artist who completed an entire order (all-nighter and all) only to have her contact deny the order after it was finally done and ready to be picked up...
Yes, you MUST have some kind of deposit policy in place to ensure that you're not working at risk! Payment of the deposit shows that the potential client is serious about the order. Some cake artists may request a 50% deposit with the balance due no later than 24 hours before delivery/pick-up. Some cake artists require that the order is paid in full once the order is place if it's under a certain dollar amount. Whatever the case, make sure that you have a deposit policy that works best for you!