OK. I have just read some of the forums, and I feel like a real idiot, I have been asked to do my 1st wedding cake it is in Aug she emailed a picture and I gave her a price. The problem is I told her she could pay me when I set up the cake.(really stupid) Right? So after reading some forums I am really nervous now about getting paid. Am I suppose to ask for money upfront ,or 1/2 or what ? I have only had little cakes from people I work with give me orders and they have always paid when i dilvered the cakes.But this one is the wedding cake, the grooms cake, and an additonal sheet cake.Should I call her back or what? I also have no order form, everything was done over the phone and email> HELP I really need some feed back. THANKS :
Whats said is said and I wouldnt go back on your word. For future reference though, make a contract, get a deposit and require it to be paid in full by a certain date (before you start baking).
In this event, if she doesnt pay when you deliver, pack back up again and they will have no cake. You will be out the cost of supplies but at least they are not getting something for free. Likely however, they are going to want thier cake and will not let you leave without your money. Dont fret. When taking to the couple again remind them of the price that is due on delivery or suggest that they can pay in advance so that they dont have to have somebody meet you when you set up at the reception (they couple themselves will be too busy this day to be there likely).
I know you said one thing, but since you still have two months before this order I would condsider replying back to her and asking for the money before the delivery or as was said above atleast suggestioning she pay before hand.
If you decide to go with the orginal plan please tell her you need it in cash or a money order. Do not accept a check at that point. I would only accept a check if you have time to cash it before delivery in the cake to make sure the funds are in the bank.
You will be out the cost of supplies
No, you'll also have donated hours of your time.
First off everyone makes mistakes so don't beat yourself up over this one. If you're doing someone's wedding cakes they will pay you or they won't have cakes! So in that regard you will be fine.
So for the next one write up or copy a wedding contract inserting your own information as needed and get a deposit for supplies you'll need then make sure you have a final payment, cancellation policy included.
Does she know you are new? Honestly, If I were in your position, I would whip up a contract spelling out what is ordered and when, ask for 1/2 deposit now (to hold their date) and the remainder due 2 weeks before the wedding. Spell out when the cut-off is for changes and if there is any cancellation fee, etc.
And if they didn't sign, I would not do the cake. She had to have known when you didn't ask for any money that you were new. I would just be honest because there is no way I would take the chance of spending all the time and effort, in addition to your ingredient/gas/electricity/materials charges, and take a chance of getting shafted.
Think ctucker gave good advice.
Here's a contract thread for next time:
....And remember, experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted...
I also agree with ctucker.
Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way. We all have.
I would just follow up with her via a contract and email stating the facts and have her sign it and drop it in the mail to you. I have told a few brides they could pay me at set up but to be honest, it is so crazy around that time that they can easily forget and then you are stuck in this awkward situation of finding someone who can pay you. And what happens if they aren't there when you are setting up or the person who has the check isn't there when you are setting up. I have always asked for payment a week before the wedding..
I also agree with ctucker - great advice.
I would still do a contract now even if you still don't get paid until delivery. Contracts also protect the customer. If I were the customer I would want a contract as well.
Not trying to be snarky but why is it unreasonable to ask for partial payment in advance? I realize they had a conversation and if she was going back and saying she wanted to charge MORE, I would think that was unreasonable and agree that what's done is done.
But why would the bride object to putting a deposit down and paying for the cake in advance? That is standard practice - and not just for cake but for the flowers, caterer, venue, etc.
I guess I feel like she has a bit of wiggle room since if the bride has been calling bakeries or other vendors, she must realize deposits are a way of life. And to be honest, if she refused, wouldn't that make you wonder why? I think those who say 'lesson learned' are thinking that going back is unprofessional and perhaps it is. But I think this would be a really, really big thing to have to look back on and think "Wow, lesson learned. Out $75 for supplies and 15 hours of my time."
Of course, this could all work out perfectly too....not saying bride is definitely going to default but I wouldn't want to take the chance and I would just suck it up, admit I had made a mistake in not asking for it at the time of the order, appologize and move on. If they don't want to pay, I would pretty much say "Whew" because there is a reason people don't like to pay deposits.
(not trying to disagree with you guys - just thinking of OP getting stiffed )
Since it's a wedding cake order that sounds like a large amount of cash involved. I would contact her and tell her that you would feel more comfortable as a baker to draw up a contract for the order since it will be a good sum of money involved. Tell her the contract would protect both parties. You can explain that the contract will explain your duties to her as her baker and her duties as a buyer. Just explain it in a way where she feels like you have her 'best' interest at heart and she shouldn't have any problem with it.
I'd also just tell her since this is going to cost X amount I would like to get a retainer fee. Since you told her she could pay for the cake at the wedding that would be fine so long as she at least gave you a retainer. I'm sure she has checked around and already knows that the 'norm' is to pay a deposit on most things related to a wedding.
Hopefully you told them cash at delivery and not a check. Even for small cakes if I decide to take payment when the cake is picked up I tell them cash only - that way you won't have to worry about the check bouncing after the fact. Good luck!
I agree with ctucker as well; however I think you can get some money without being offensive.
As previously stated:
Draw up a contract spelling everything out, pricing, cake design, flavors, times, contacts, etc. Explain in your email or phone (preferred) conversation that you just wanted to make sure that everything was in order and confirmed with her so when you start working cake you don't have to weed through emails for the fine details.
I would also include an area that states who is supposed to pay you "upon delivery".
I would also outline the deposit and final payment dates and how they "should have been".
This may spark a question on her part, and she might give you a deposit to make sure you hold her date.
The average contract will state in there several times that a deposit is required to hold the date and is non refundable.
However, if you don't get a deposit and just so happen not be paid you have a contract if you need it.
Hopefully you won't.
i know it would be hard for you to get there and then have to take your cake back if they don't pay but be sure you stick to your guns.
They likely will pay you but incase they don't you have to show them you mean business. If they offer to pay in advance be sure you say yes.
it has been said so many times on this site and will be said many times more...
no money = no cake
First, don't beat yourself up. You are new and you are learning. You haven't gotten stiffed yet. You still have time.
CALL the bride and let her know that, not to worry, you are still doing her cake but realized that you don't have a signed contract that confirms all the details of the wedding cake. Let her know that this is to protect both of you. Also, very nicely let her know that while you had originally said that she could pay you at the set-up, you realized that you will need a non-refundable deposit of 50% to cover the cost of your supplies and ingredients. She can pay you remainder at delivery.
IF she gives you any hassle, drop the bride.
I would draw up a contract and mail two copies to her with a scetch of what you're going to do to "confirm" the conversation you had ... one copy for her and one to sign and return to you. On the contract have the usual (well, the "from now on" terms on it, but cross it out and initial it based on your phone conversation). This way she sees you are doing her "a favor." In the letter with the contract with instructions to sign/return, I'd mention that as stated on the phone CASH/CASHIERS CHECK payment is due upon delivery (nothing leaves my trunk till payment is received and it won't be a personal check, so there's no chance of it bouncing). You may not have mentioned the cash/cashiers check over the phone, but it shouldn't make a difference if they are good for it anyway. You can then remind them them that they will be very busy on the wedding day and may not be available upon delivery. Since this is the case, you'll need to know who is going to meet you with the funds (It's easier to say "where's so and so" than "do you have the cake payment? No? How 'bout you? You? You?). You can then offer that if it would be easier to pay prior to the event, you can except personal checks up to two weeks prior to the delivery date. They may say it's just easier to give you a check earlier than fuss with giving it to someone to give to you, blah, blah, blah. Chalk it up as a lesson learned. BTW - whoever they have meet you with the funds should also sign off on the delivery indicating all is good before you leave!
Very good advice thus far. I would go ahead and draw up the contract and get the deposit AND have her pay in advane of the wedding. If in fact you do decide to let her pay upon set up, cash only!!! Make it clear that no payment=no cake.
Hi. I am not a business, but I understand the concerns with getting paid after you already said she could pay you when you set up. I, myself, would feel like I look "scatter-brained" and unprofessional if I tried to go back now and ask for a deposit and final payment before the event date.
However, I do have a suggestion that might help in this situation (that I don't think sounds too tacky). Could you contact her and tell her that you were thinking that with the "busy-ness" of the wedding day, that it might be easier on her to square up payment before the wedding date (say 2 weeks before)? You might want to tell her you're new, and are working on creating your contract that would outline the details of the cake, dates, delivery/acceptance, payment schedule, etc. If you can get a good contract drawn up ASAP, you can even tell her that you have completed one and that she can be your first formal customer, if she wishes.
In either case, you should have something in writing and signed though, stating what you both agreed upon.
I see that there is some "wiggle room" here, as someone else had mentioned. It's just that I feel strongly about standing by what I say (yes, even if it bites me in the butt sometimes), and considering it a valuable (hopefully not costly!) learning experience.
I hope to see other's suggestions on how to handle/work around this, because I know this must happen to lots of others.
Thank you for posting this, and I wish you good luck and success! Please keep us posted and let us know how it all turns out!
Thank you all so much for all the good advice!!!! Taking the chance that I sound like a even bigger idiot, where can I get a contract at, do I just make one up or is there one out there I can copy from a web site?I think that I will reread all this great advice and let you all know later what I will do. THANK S AGIAN I really feel stupid, but like Forrest says 'stupid is as stupid does' whatever that means!!![/b]
I would put myself in the brides shoes. Ask yourself if you would want to do business with someone that says one thing then goes back and changes it. I wouldn't.In fact I would tell people that the business is dishonest. A business is as good as thier word. In this case I would follow through with what was agreed to and hope for the best.
I actually made this mistake once. I knew the people. Friend of a friend. She gave me a $100 deposit and she was supposed to give me the remaining $280 at the reception. I was going and even serving the cake. After the cake was served, she asked me if I would mind waiting until the next paycheck, two weeks away. Gave me a sob story about how much the wedding had cost. What was I supposed to do. I had already served the cake! Needless to say, she got a wedding cake for $100. Live and learn!
Moral: Get the money BEFORE you cut the cake!!
It was a nice cake for $100 too!
I really don't see it as going back on her word. That is a little harsh to me.
If she wraps up the details of the cake in a contract for confirmation and sends it to the bride for review and signature, also outlining what the "pay schedule should have been" she may not have to make the request.
The bride may see that page (which would be a stand alone page within the contract info) and decide to at least pay some money for the cake up front.
It doesn't come off as going back on a word it just puts some well needed information in front of the bride.
And if she is not paid she has a signed contract.
I don't think asking for a deposit is wrong. Just tell the Bride that she can pay at delivery (will she be there? I've never seen a bride at delivery?) but that you need a deposit to cover the cost of ingredients.
My personal opinion is let her know you forgot to have her sign the contract with all of the excitement of the wedding. Meet with her and have her sign. Without a contract or deposit, she is free to get a cake from some where else and not even tell you and you are stuck with the expenses. From my personal experience, get the money before you set anything up. I did a reception for a girl's coming out party and the mother made me sit there and wait until it was over due to her running around and doing other things. Not a good idea.
I have one I made up, unfourtanely its in my lap top, which is down right now....but it covers such things Ive picked up in here.
I had to make one, I almost didnt get paid for one cake I made.
Is it possible to simply email her or phone her with:
I realize you are probably extremely busy with the planning of the wedding but I thought of something today. I know I told you that you could pay me for the cake upon delivery and if you would still like to do it that way, great. I was thinking how hectic it is and is going to be on that day for everyone involved and it might be helpful to you as well as to myself to handle the payment before delivery so that there doesn't have to be a transaction on the day of...one more item you can mark off your "gotta finalize" list. Again, I have no problem either way just thought paying ahead would help is all.
I see now, someone has already suggested it.
Without a contract or deposit, she is free to get a cake from some where else and not even tell you and you are stuck with the expenses.
Totally agree. Can you imagine? You walk up there to collect your $, already stressing about "Will they pay, how on earth can I walk out of here and leave them w/o a cake for their wedding if they give me a sob story about the payment?" You enter the reception hall and --boinnnngg--there's already a cake there, she forgot to tell you to cancel the order. ACK.
I agree with the other posters that you can meet halfway without coming off like you don't know what you're doing. A contract firms up the details, reminder that cash only must be paid at the reception hall within xx minutes of your scheduled arrival time or else the cake will NOT be delivered. Explain that final payment may also simply be made in advance by check no less than 14 days prior to the wedding. Yadayada.
Not sure which side of the fence I'm on about requesting a deposit, I do think it would be wise to get one but can see how you would have to carefully word the request to not come off as flaky. Something like "A recent change in policy" might work. Maybe... Regardless the contract should state that upon signing, the order MAY NOT be cancelled after xx date, customer is responsible for the full sum.
There are contracts here on CC in the forums...might even be one in the templates section?? (don't quote me on that!!)