Cake Decorating Blog

11 Tips for Successful, Stress-Free Cake Deliveries

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.

woman packaging a yellow 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.

Caramel cupcakes in cupcake box

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.

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11 Comments

John Ferrell

You said that the cake should be delivered to the event 2-3 hours early. If I was having an event I would want to know that I would be receiving the cake beforehand. I would want this so that I knew that I would be that much more prepared.

Reply
Ashley Turns

I am in charge of bringing the cupcakes to my nephew’s birthday party, and since I’m not much of a baker, I thought I would find a great same day delivery service. I really like how you mention a great baker will be sure to pack a kit with everything they may need to repair the cake. I’ll be sure to make sure that the same day cupcake delivery service I choose has a kit with everything they may need to make sure the mini cakes look just as scrumptious when they arrive as when they made them.

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CarolineK

I was hoping for tips on how to pack and carry the cakes in a car, but nothing mentioned at all. Perhaps that’s covered elsewhere on the site, but I’ve not found it.

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Pat Yokl

I use that bumpy thing that is used under rugs or for shelf lining to put under cakes or anything I bake. That way it doesn’ t move in the car.
I also turn up the airconditioning very high. I do always bring a repair kit.
For cupcakes I use a molded plastic liner in the boxes because the ones with just
The holes are too difficult to remove the cupcake from without messing up the icing.
I try to never allow other people to pick up the cake or cupcakes because no matter careful you are to give precise instructions they either don’t Listen or they don’t understand.

Reply
Kara Joy

CarolineK – We have a mini-van we transport our cakes in. I try to put them towards the center of the van as it is more stable, especially for stacked cakes. I also make sure there is nothing that can go flying into the cakes and do damage.
If you don’t have a van, make sure to get the cakes as level as possible.
Also, be sure to secure the cake boxes so they don’t slide around. A lot of times, we’ll have enough boxes that they secure themselves. Other times, we use a rolled, clean towel or something similar next to the cake box.
In transit, don’t do anything to distract your eyes from the road – eating, talking on the phone, etc. Keep the speed limit and ease on the brake when needed and take turns and curves carefully. Most importantly, keep an eye out for other drivers, leaving plenty of space between you and them. (I learned this one the hard way).
If you deliver early, take these precautions and bring your emergency kit, you should be fine.

Reply
Gerty Gift

Thanks for the article. I really like that you included having several emergency contingencies, such as someone who is helping with the actual event as well as extra cake supplies for the occasional accident. This is a great resource available for those who have to transport cakes frequently.

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Raily Smith

This post is really helpful, I was looking for some good cake suggestions to finalise my order when I came across this post. Thank God I did.

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Millie Hue

Next week, we’ll celebrate the anniversary of our parents. They don’t know it yet, but we have been planning about this since last month. For the cake, we agreed that we’ll have it delivered to the venue so that we will now worry much about how to transfer the cake from the bakery to the location of the event. It’s interesting that, when delivering a cake, they should be able to make sure that the structure of the cake is secured properly to avoid destruction. I hope that is the case when we find a bakery to deliver one to us. Thanks!

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dafmatok

Looks amazing! I’ll definitely give it a try.

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Vivian Black

After watching several episodes of a cake decorating show last night, I felt inspired to try some cake decorating of my own. I’m glad you talked about the importance of bringing an emergency cake supply kit if you plan to transport your cake your cake anywhere. Thank you for the tips regarding cake design and delivery!

Reply
Nikhil Patani

Most delivery concerns can be diminished if you know your cake is securely structured.

Reply

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