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What would you do?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

So I have been talking with a client for a while now. We finally nailed everything down and I sent over the contract to be signed and returned with a 50% deposit (Which reserves her date & the remainder balance is then due 2 weeks before). The event is not till the second week of February . The client told me early on that another family member would be paying for the order. Throughout our planning I had hoped that the client had been in good contact with the person paying due to the fact that the final cost wasn't your typical order icon_wink.gif

Soooo today I get a message from the client saying that after looking over the contract (Which BTW states everything we have talked about before/ nothing new) and talking with the person paying - That the payer wants to know if they can send in the check for the full amount post dated for 2 days prior to the date of my "payment in full due2 weeks before" deadline.

I of course want to give the whole thing the benefit of the doubt, but of course we all have to be skeptical & protect ourselves. I mean this is our business, right?! icon_wink.gif

I responded telling her that I could work with them if they chose to do it that way... however their date would not be reserved officially till the check clears. I also reiterated that it was a better scenario to pay half now/ half later so that their date will be locked in, as well as so that I can order materials.

Thankfully, right now, I do not HAVE to have this order, and I think that if the order did fall though, it still would be early enough where I wouldn't be out anything. I'm not going to stress over it, but I wanted to see what you all thought, did I handle it OK? Should I have done anything differently? How would you respond?

Thanks so much for your thoughts!
Erica C.

www.sweetflamingo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweetflamingo
Twitter: SwtFlamingo
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Erica C.

www.sweetflamingo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweetflamingo
Twitter: SwtFlamingo
Reply
post #2 of 39
Sounds like a good response on your part. I would have done the same thing, making sure to clearly illustrate the potential scenario where someone else books their date before their check clears and they end up scrambling to find someone else who will make the cake with 2 weeks notice.
post #3 of 39
I agree, you did the right thing and Im reading this and am also skeptical about the check business. but, thats just me. i dont accept checks for this reason. everything is done in cash so that I can asure that im covered if, i get supplies and they cancel. you always have to cover yourself bc ppl will try to take advantage when they can.
I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
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I can do ALL things Through Christ who strengthens ME!!!
CAKE IS MY LIFE!!!!
Reply
post #4 of 39
I am sorry, but as long as we have been on here and have heard similiar situations with bad outcomes (bounced check, still waiting on check 2 days before event), why do we still insist on playing with fire?
post #5 of 39
To provide a different perspective, we've accepted a few hundred personal checks over the years we've been in business. There have been 3 bounced checks, and we were able to recover all the funds owed (plus the NSF fee) by simply contacting the customer and letting them know what happened.
post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by msthang1224

I agree, you did the right thing and Im reading this and am also skeptical about the check business. but, thats just me. i dont accept checks for this reason. everything is done in cash so that I can asure that im covered if, i get supplies and they cancel. you always have to cover yourself bc ppl will try to take advantage when they can.



And you are so right, that late of payment requires CASH ONLY.
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

I am sorry, but as long as we have been on here and have heard similiar situations with bad outcomes (bounced check, still waiting on check 2 days before event), why do we still insist on playing with fire?


The check would be post-dated 2 weeks and 2 days before the event, still enough time to cancel the order before work starts if the check bounces and the customer doesn't make up the payment in cash.
post #8 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

I am sorry, but as long as we have been on here and have heard similiar situations with bad outcomes (bounced check, still waiting on check 2 days before event), why do we still insist on playing with fire?


The check would be post-dated 2 weeks and 2 days before the event, still enough time to cancel the order before work starts if the check bounces and the customer doesn't make up the payment in cash.



Exactly! If she would have said 2 days before... I would have said heeeeeck no, and good bye!
icon_biggrin.gif
Erica C.

www.sweetflamingo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweetflamingo
Twitter: SwtFlamingo
Reply
Erica C.

www.sweetflamingo.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweetflamingo
Twitter: SwtFlamingo
Reply
post #9 of 39
Jason many individual cakers don't have a bunch of liquid capital available to purchase product for a large wedding cake. Usually you need that deposit to order things that might and most likely take more than 2 weeks to arrive. I would hate to order something specific for their order and they not come through with payment or bounce the check and you chase funds when you should be working on their order. I don't agree with ever accepting checks especially since every bank account now comes with a visa/mc check card. People who pay for goods with checks are generally trying to rob Peter to pay Paul because the funds aren't available at the time they try to write the check. Check writing is passe' with the exception of paying rent on your home or retail space. Even utilities now have online payment option. Now if a caker doesn't accept credit cards then I guess checks and cash are the only options. But now days it is easy for anyone to accept credit cards and debit cards. The OP has already gone against her own contract which tells the client they can push and push. If you give people an inch they will take a mile! Don't play with fire!
post #10 of 39
I have to disagree somewhat with the arguments against checks...Personally I require payment three weeks before because that's a little safer in terms of anything bouncing, but it's also true that in 16 years of doing cakes in a small home-based business I've only had one bounced check. I've had people try to push the due date for payments, but three weeks is pretty firm.

I would have told the client the same thing...Postdated for two days before the due date is fine, but that means that the cake isn't booked until the check clears even if I'm holding the check. If someone comes along and hands me cash for that date in the meantime, the postdated check is going to be voided out and sent back if I can't do both cakes. It's up to the client to decide whether they want to take that risk.

And now for the lecture...I also have to add that if you're running a business you should have a business account with money in it to buy supplies, and you shouldn't have to wait to get deposits in order to have the money to buy supplies. I'm currently writing a series on my blog about money management for wedding busiensses, since I seem to be seeing a lot of people these days saying they don't have the money for this or that. It's not just cake people, it's all kinds of small business owners. It's one thing to tell clients that you need deposits to buy supplies (sometimes they understand that to be a good reason for a deposit), but another to really have to

Anyway. The first part of the series was last Monday, here it is http://www.acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2012/01/money-management-for-wedding-businesses.html

The next part will be up tomorrow...I thnk that I have it scheduled for every Monday for the next month. It's not hard to build up a balance in a business account, just don't take any salary money out of it for a few months. Only use it to pay expenses, just don't go buy things that aren't business-related. If you're home-based that shouldn't be too terribly difficult, then once you get up and running you won't be desperate for deposits to pay your expenses.
post #11 of 39
You never know what someone's personal finances are like. And especially in today's economy you have alot of cakers who just don't have extra funds available to float in an account. To tell them that they are being unprofessional because they are finacially challenged is just wrong.

The caker who allows the client to run their business is the one being unprofessional. Not all cakers have a spouse to pay the bills while they build their business. And some families are dealing with both parents being currently unemployed. Everyone's situation is unique. You cannot unilaterally say that if someone shouldn't start a custom cake business if they don't have any capital. The reason so many people fight to have cottage food laws is so they can do this to make money and build enough of a business to move to the next level, owning a store front.
post #12 of 39
I have to disagree...Even if you have to build it up slowly, I think that everyone needs to have a separate business account with cash in it so that you don't have to affect your family's finances with your business expenses. When you keep them separate it makes things so much easier. And if you haven't made and delivered the cake you shouldn't be spending any of the money that you collected for it yet. That way if something happens and you have to refund all of the money, you won't have to dip into your personal finances to do it. I always use the extreme example of if I drop dead tomorrow and my husband has to refund every bit of money that I've collected in deposits and payments, he'll be able to do it because it's all in the bank until the cake is delivered. It won't affect my family's finances at all.

Too many people get into trouble with their business finances because they treat their business account like a piggybank. It's not just cake people, like I said, I hear about it all over. If it means that you just leave $20 from each cake that you make in your business account and don't spend it right away, it will build up over time and you'll have that cushion.
post #13 of 39
Wow--these topics do get prickly, don't they icon_smile.gif .
Here's my take--you have a policy in place. Why even consider altering it? If you don't follow your policies, why should anyone else? I think you handled it just fine. No need for second guessing.
post #14 of 39
Costumeczar I agree with you 100%. You need a cushion in the bank, not just in your business account but in your personal one as well. My client's deposit money isn't used to pay for my family's groceries or to pay for my kid's karate class. It's not even my money yet. I think this is why so many small businesses fail in the first year or two of being open. Money management is a HUGE problem nowadays.

And no, people shouldn't start a business without ANY capital...that's not unprofessional, it's irresponsible.

OP I think you handled it perfectly. You're being very understanding and fair with this client and she knows that her date isn't carved in stone until that check clears the bank. That's exactly what I would have told her.
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

People who pay for goods with checks are generally trying to rob Peter to pay Paul because the funds aren't available at the time they try to write the check.



EXCUSE ME? I've never bounced a check in my life, and I STILL write checks. I keep my check book ballanced with EVERY check! I find this highly offensive and a somehow ignorant statement. We're a "pay as we go" kind of family, so yeah...I write checks. I don't like using credit cards except for necessities that I can pay off immediately. My off-line suppliers have no problem accepting checks (from my business account) ...but maybe I should inform them that I'm just "robbing Peter to pay Paul. Check writing in and of itself is not a crime. None of my clients have ever given me a bad check either...if they do, I'll know where to find them.
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