Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

I am just starting out my cake business and I am making a cake for a complete stranger next week. I have heard some horror stories about people making cakes and the client never showing up for pick up. This girl seems legitimate, but I am still concerned since I have never made a cake for a total stranger before. I know I could charge a deposit, but since I work out of my house I don't know how I could receive the deposit from this girl.
I just really need some insight on this. I am curious to know how you guys deal with situations like this where you don't know the person whatsoever. I know this won't be the first stranger I make a cake for. I did tell her that I only accept cash payments. Thank you in advance!

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Seems to me you have a difficult one here Kate.  If you only accept cash, then they can't post you a cheque for your deposit.  Does this person live very near to you?  Could she drop a deposit off to you or you collect it perhaps?  If that's not an option either, then you are going to have to take them on trust.  Most times it will work out fine, but don't be surprised if you get stung at some time in the future.

How did you discuss this client's requirements - face to face?  In which case you could have taken a deposit at the time.  If the arrangements were over the phone or by email, then to some extent, she is trusting you to do the job she wants, as much as you are trusting her to pay for it.

I strongly suggest you figure a way out of this problem before you make many more orders for people you don't know.

We discussed everything through the phone. I am only accepting cash from the particular person since I do not know them. I don't want to deliver the cake and then get a bad check from the client. I never thought about asking the client to send me a deposit check in the mail. She lives 30 minutes away, so we never cross paths in order for me to get a deposit. How do you get deposits from strangers? I need to figure out how to do it in the future.

What about a email transfer Kate. That is what I have done.... fast, simple.  I get a % down 3 mnths or so ahead then full payment anywhere from 1 week to a couple of days before pick up/delivery.  If she lives 30 min away, she could always drop off cash at your house,  could she not?  Are you charging for delivery over a certain distance if customer doesn't pick up? 

If you're talking about Paypal... I have thought about that, but isn't there a fee? I suppose in the future I could also meet them halfway and get a deposit. Call me crazy, but I don't want a stranger showing up to my house. I'm just paranoid lol! Paypal does seem to be a great option.

Well Kate
If your going to be in business, short of close friends & family, everyone else will be a stranger. There are many who prefer to pick up there cakes. As far as $$$, I don't mean PayPal. I mean sending you $$ to your email address. I'm in Canada, perhaps you don't have that where you are. Cost $1.50 to do through your bank.

I used to stress out about this too.  I ordered a credit card reader for my smart phone.  Set up an account tied to my checking account.  When people call and order a cake, I simply tell them there is a deposit required before i will accept the job.  Most are very willing, they see you as more of a professional and they will recieve a notification to their phone with all of your information.  This puts their minds at ease as well.  We don't like making cakes without confirmation and they don't like giving their money to strangers without confirmation.  The card reader is a very simple process and you can key in the information if they can't meet you in person...hope this helps, it helped me greatly.

Is the card reader called "The Square"? I have thought of getting that one.
Never heard of this Sweet P's. Great idea. I'm just a hobby baker, so wouldn't have looked into those types of options. Great advice. :o)

If it weren't for my kids, I wouldn't know half the stuff out there available for up and coming business people.  The service I have is through Intuit.  It's called Go Payment.  The device for swiping the card is free, takes about 7 days to recieve it and comparitively, they charge a smaller % as their fee.  I haven't acually swiped a card yet, all of my business has been conducted over the phone.  Before I used go payment, I recieved an order from across the country for a relative of theirs local to me.  I accepted a check by mail and I think we both were flying on faith.  I worked out, but I don't want to have to go through that again, especially if it's a high end cake.  Have a great day!

AHhhhh our children.....

Both my adult children keep abreast of "stuff".... sometimes I appreciate it..... sometimes I don't..... hee hee. :o)

Do you have a paypal account? That way you can take a credit or debit card for deposit and not have to worry about cash. It is free and easy to use. That is what I plan on using when I finally get a business going.

I use the square and love it. But for those who don't like giving there card info over the phone I take money orders or checks. Then i mail or email a confirmation that I have received the funds. ( If it a check I wait till it clears before sending a confirmation.)

Kate Rhodes said:

Is the card reader called "The Square"? I have thought of getting that one.

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