Delivery Etiquette

2014-07-20 07.28.13

At some point in your business, you’re going to need to deliver your products somewhere. Assuming you survive the ordeal, here are a few Dos and Don’ts to make your delivery experience that much better:

DO:

  • Take a repair kit in the car with you. A little plastic box which has spare dowels, a piping bag, a few piping tips, a small spatula, a spare sugar flower or two, glue stick, small container of egg white powder (so you can make royal icing on the run), scissors (to cut ribbon or flowers), baby wipes (for cleaning fondant). Basically a little box of tricks you can have on hand in case everything goes to hell on the way there.
  • Wear your company clothes to deliver – either your (clean) company apron, a t-shirt with your logo, a hat. Something which makes you look more professional and is company branded. If you don’t yet have those, at the very least ALWAYS be neat and clean and have your hair pulled back.
  • Take extra business cards and samples (if you have some) with you. Delivering is a great opportunity to network with venues. Even if you’re delivering to a person’s house, it’s nice to bring them a little extra treat or a spare business card for them to share with a friend.
  • Bring along: a printed cutting guide (I like the Cake Slicer app for this purpose), instructions for disassembling the cake if it’s complicated, a picture of whatever internal structure it’s got, and any storage instructions. When you give this to the venue, take a note of who you gave it to (get their name) and write that down somewhere.
  • Take a picture of the cake where you left it. This might save your butt later and you can use it as a social media post later (and tag the venue, it’s good networking.)
  • Invest in a little flat trolley on wheels that lives in your car along with the emergency repair kit. Sometimes you’ve got to walk a LONG WAY and it’s easier to put a cake on a platform and wheel it in. (Here’s an example of what I mean.)

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DON’T:

  • Use bad language or be anything other than polite and accommodating.
  • Talk smack about your clients, no matter how freaking annoying they are.
  • Show up looking like you just rolled out of bed.
  • Show up in some sort of manky looking car. I’m not saying go and buy a Ferrari to deliver in. I’m saying showing up in a flea infested hunk o’ junk that drops its carburetor in the driveway of the venue is not really a good look.
  • Show up late.
  • Drink any alcohol to calm your nerves before you go. Save it for AFTER you’ve delivered it safely.
  • Assume they will understand anything about the care of cakes, and don’t assume they will have a table already set up for you. CALL AHEAD a few hours or the day before to introduce yourself, check if there is a cake table, and ask what time they need you to arrive. A little bit of kindness to the venue will get you very far when you show up and need a hand.
  • Assume that everything that’s supposed to be there will be there. SO MANY TIMES brides told me they organised flowers for their cakes, and then I get there and it’s a random pile of half-dead blooms that are not arranged at all and suddenly I was a florist as well as a cake maker.
  • Run off like a bat out of hell. Sometimes we’re just so damn relieved to get rid of the thing that we drop it and run. Take a second to make sure you’re happy with it, say a polite goodbye to the venue people, and walk away calmly. When you get in your car, scream at the top of your lungs to relieve the pressure and THEN you can run like hell.
  • Do as I did and leave a delivery..and then reverse into a parked car and smash it, especially when the parked car belongs to the son of the groom. Also don’t do that on the day you take your employee with you so you can teach her how to do deliveries. Trust me on this one. It’s horribly embarrassing.

Of all the parts of my business I hated, deliveries ranked as #1 on that list. I’m not a drinker but if I WAS, I’d have gone through a heck of a lot of bottles of vodka. I actually had my husband do a lot of my deliveries for me, as he was much calmer and far more sane than I was about it – not to mention he was stronger physically AND emotionally to deal with it all! Inevitably you’re going to have to do some deliveries yourself – so hang onto this post for when the time comes so that it all goes a little calmer and smoother for you.

If all else fails, pre-purchase the vodka. 

6 comments on “Delivery Etiquette

  1. Wearing the proper shoe is also important. As I was walking in a parking lot carrying a box of cookies on a very very hot day in Florida the heal of my shoe melted off. My client went hysterical laughing as she saw me stumble and then start to hop…not to drop the cookies and not to burn my foot . I’m a fan of colorful sneakers now!

  2. As always, love this!
    Any suggestions on where i could find some kind of generic delivery form to fill in the details.
    Usually im in a frazzle by the end and hand writing instructions on a piece of paper sorta looks unprofessional.
    Id love to have a form i can just print out and fill in the blanks needed for each cake so i don’t forget anything either.

    1. Sarah, Make it a part of your process at the beginning. Once the order is booked in and a deposit is paid, write that out (or use a form and fill it out). 🙂

      I had a very generic delivery form which I printed a ton of then hand filled out for each order, it just had:
      Client name:
      Event:
      Delivery instructions regarding storage/serving:
      My contact information:

      And then I’d attach a cutting guide. 🙂

      Michelle

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