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Policies on deposits/holding the date

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

What are your policies when it comes to holding a date for someone or a deadline for a deposit?

 

Currently, if someone makes an inquiry on a cake and we make an agreement as to date, design and price, I prepare an order form/invoice/contract and send it to them.  I "pencil" them in to my calendar for that date and give them 2 weeks to get me a deposit (or payment if the cake is less than $50).  I send them a reminder email a few days before the 2 weeks is up, and then, if I don't receive payment, a deposit, or at least an email asking for a couple extra days, I take them off the calendar.  If I have someone on my "waiting list" for that date, I move on to them.

 

Does this seem reasonable?  What do you do?  If during that two weeks someone else inquires about that day, is it "tacky" to contact the first customer and ask if they're still interested?  I am transitioning from cake artistry as a "hobby" to preparing to open a storefront someday, so I'm shifting to "for fun" to a more legitimate business model.  I'd appreciate feedback and/or advice!

post #2 of 12

I personally don't hold any date without a contract and 50% or full amount if it's $250 or under. If they are out of town and can't meet in person, I'll prep an order form and PayPal, and I give them a few days, if they're in town, then I hold the date until we can meet up to show them some sketches and collect retainer/payment and fill out contract.

"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsaun View Post
If during that two weeks someone else inquires about that day, is it "tacky" to contact the first customer and ask if they're still interested?

Exactly why I don't hold dates, I wouldn't want to have to do that. As soon as I get a request, I answer with all the pertinent info, and make sure I end the email in a manner that insinuates the ball is in their court as to whether they'd like to proceed, and then I file the email into a folder called "Requests", underneath my in box. That way, it's truly on them to move to the next stage, and it's out of my line of sight so I can concentrate on the next emails that will be coming in. Make sense? I don't want to keep track of who asked for what and who "might" want this or that. I've built this little business of mine up to the point where I think if people want me bad enough, they'll jump right on it and get things taken care of, you know? I don't want to sound snotty, but that's how I see it. I'm going to treat everyone the same and take every order as seriously as the next, but until it's an actual paid order, it's out of my mind once I've answered questions and given instructions as how to proceed next.

"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
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"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture View Post

Exactly why I don't hold dates, I wouldn't want to have to do that. As soon as I get a request, I answer with all the pertinent info, and make sure I end the email in a manner that insinuates the ball is in their court as to whether they'd like to proceed, and then I file the email into a folder called "Requests", underneath my in box. That way, it's truly on them to move to the next stage, and it's out of my line of sight so I can concentrate on the next emails that will be coming in. Make sense? I don't want to keep track of who asked for what and who "might" want this or that. I've built this little business of mine up to the point where I think if people want me bad enough, they'll jump right on it and get things taken care of, you know? I don't want to sound snotty, but that's how I see it. I'm going to treat everyone the same and take every order as seriously as the next, but until it's an actual paid order, it's out of my mind once I've answered questions and given instructions as how to proceed next.

Makes perfect sense and the way I want to handle my business.  I struggle with treating my business as a "business" since I'm still operating out of my home (legally icon_smile.gif)!  I just want to transition in the RIGHT way right now and start off on the right foot...and that includes NOT being a doormat! 

post #5 of 12

Good for you. The first time you held a date because someone was soooooo sure they wanted it, and you lost out on someone else that was ready to pay, you'd kick yourself. :(

"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
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Reply
"I can do that, because this is my sandbox and I've got the bullsh*% shovel." ~Dianne Sylvan, Author and Lunatic
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
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Reply
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture View Post

Good for you. The first time you held a date because someone was soooooo sure they wanted it, and you lost out on someone else that was ready to pay, you'd kick yourself. :(


Amen!

post #7 of 12

I too will not hold a date with out a signed contract and deposit. I make it very clear to the customer that until I receive the contract back, with deposit that they will NOT be officially booked. I also have in my contract that NO changes can be guarenteed after two week before the date. It seems to light a fire under the serious customers and takes all the guess work out of it for me. :) 

post #8 of 12

I've had my shop open for 3 months now. if a cake is under $100 then there is no deposit but they sign a contract. No date holdings unless they sign and book. for cakes over $100 i divide the total cost by 3 and thats my deposit. with the economy being so bad it really helps a lot of people when they can order and pay at pick up. i havent been burned yet but if its under $100 i'm not loosing very much money because i also sell other items in my store front. Some people sell cake crafting items but i sell bakery items like danishes, cup cakes, cheese cake. It really helps supplement the income if i'm having a slow month on orders.

post #9 of 12

I don't reserve any date or any cake without a deposit.  When I meet with a bride, I will guarantee the same price if they pay their deposit within 3 weeks, otherwise, the price could change.  For any other cake, a $100 deposit is required and the cake must be paid in full at least 1 week before their cake is due. 

post #10 of 12

Would any of you be so kind as to post your contract for us newbies to use as a guide as to how to set up our own order form and payment expectations and deadlines and so forth? It would be really appreciated :) Its so hard to figure all this out and I have grown addicted to this site for the last week or two and really value the info people are so kind in giving! Great help ~ thank you to everyone on these forums! I have really learned a lot! Its so scary starting from home and having such high hopes! I am also having trouble getting my name out there and getting orders....any advice for advertisement for a beginner? How do you get wedding cake orders when you have never made one but know that you can do it even though you have no way to prove it?! lol thanks so much icon_smile.gif
 

post #11 of 12

do one. plain and simple. Make a smaller version on a wedding cake and take pictures. building your portfolio is very important. i live in a small town and a lot of people still read the newspaper. I advertised in it, on facebook, and on the local radio. word of mouth is also great.

post #12 of 12

I don't hold dates without a deposit. and I've had to send contracts back to brides who are too slow if someone jumps in front and sends their deposit in.

 

If you find a contract online make sure to have an attorney to look at it, because not every clause or condition is legal in every state. If you have someone sign something that's unenforceable in your area you might as well not have them sign anything.

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