Delivering cakes can be stressful. You have worked for days designing, planning baking, crumb coating and decorating — whew. All this hard work now comes down to the final delivery, which can make or break your cake.
Ease your delivery concerns with these 12 tips for successful cake deliveries:
1. Charge for delivery
If you’re anything like me, you hate asking people for money. You might also offer to deliver cakes for free. To build a business, you need to stop doing these things!
Make sure you always charge for delivery. Deliveries cost you money: They cost in gas, time and wear and tear on your car. It also takes time to plan, prepare, pack, organize what you need to take, drive the cake to its destination, set up the cake and take pictures. Your time is worth money. Charge for delivery!
A good starting rate is $0.55 per mile, with a minimum price around $30.
2. Structure your cake correctly
Most delivery concerns can be diminished if you know your cake is securely structured. To learn more about how to structure your cakes, I recommend checking out Richard Ruskell’s Craftsy class Topsy-Turvy Cake Construction. His class helped me understand a better way to construct all of my cakes, not just my topsy-turvy ones.
3. Plan ahead
Deliveries take time and planning. As you can see here, take the time to plan for the delivery while planning and sketching the cake, long before baking it.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself while planning the delivery:
- Have I been to this location before?
- How long will it take me to get there?
- Will I be delivering during rush hour?
- Are there alternate routes to take in case of an accident or delay?
- Do I have other deliveries that day? Do they coordinate?
4. Contact key vendors early
You can impress other vendors by being organized and ahead of the game. No matter how much you network, you have to show other vendors how you run your business and how reliable and organized you are. It’s only then that they’ll recommend you to their clients.
Call the event coordinator a few weeks before the event to schedule the delivery and ask questions. If you need to coordinate with the florist, call early to arrange the details. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The wedding industry is a small world, and impressing vendors that will refer clients to you can drive big business.
5. Set up an emergency contact person
During the consultation and on your contract, ask for an emergency contact person for the day of the event.
If your customer has a party organizer or wedding planner, they’re the best contact person. For more DIY events, ask for a name and phone number for someone that’s helping with the event — but not the guest of honor, their parents or close friends. You want to have someone who can deal with the situation without stressing out the bride, groom or their close family.
Call your emergency contact person at the same time you call the other vendors, introduce yourself and give them the details about your delivery. Then you’ll be ready if any problem arises.
6. Deliver early
Plan to deliver the cake 2-3 hours before the event. With all of the problems that could arise while delivering the cake, it’s best to be on the safe side. You want to give yourself plenty of time to deliver and set up the cake.
You also want to make sure you are finished long before guests arrive. If you’re setting up the cake outside, make sure your cake will last for this amount of time. Discuss these issues at the consultation, not while setting up the cake the day of the event.
7. Bring an emergency cake supply kit
Bring everything you could need to repair your cake. If you’re not sure what to bring, start with this essential cake delivery kit to learn what bring with you on a delivery. Most cake decorators will tell you that if you bring it, you won’t need it, but if you forget it, you’ll be sorry.
8. Bring business cards
Just a few. Bring business cards to introduce yourself to other vendors or to present to the front desk when you arrive so they know you’re with a business.
Do not leave business cards on the table by the cake unless your customer requested them. However, you can ask the party planner or coordinator to hold onto a few to hand out to guests who ask for them. You want to have them available, but your customer’s event is not the place to advertise. Be courteous and professional and let your cake speak for itself.
9. Get insurance
Depending on where you’ll be delivering, business insurance could be necessary. Some venues and companies require proof of insurance in order to deliver to their business.
Insurance is also a protection for you, for your business, equipment, materials and in case of law suits due to contaminated food or other health issues.
10. Maintain your car
A clean, well-maintained car is a necessity. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with an overheated car and a wedding cake in the back.
Some states require your car to be inspected by a food inspector in order to transport cakes. Check your local food laws to make sure you are compliant.
11. Be careful with customer pick-ups
Some customers may want to pick up their cakes at your bakery. If you’re OK with this, teach your customers how to transport their cake, how to prepare their car and the importance of being cautious while driving.
Cover your bases by having them sign a Customer Pick Up Form that states that you are not liable for the cake once it has left the bakery and that you will not come to fix the cake if it’s damaged in transit. These options should be discussed during the consultation or before the contract is signed.
Have you ever had a cake catastrophe?
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