I am trying to add something to my contract that will cover cancelations of wedding cakes. This is what I have so far......
______Cancellations: Any cancellations 10 days before the date will forfeit 100% of the cake price unless rescheduling is made. (Not sure I like this part either) Rescheduling may incur a fee of 25.00. Canceling more than 10 days before the date (with no plans of rescheduling), will result in a partial refund to my discretion depending on supplies purchased and timing. High priority dates will not receive a refund. Cake funds cannot be applied to other cake orders.
Can you see where I'm going here? I'm not sure how to word it so that all aspects are covered.
I have a bride that paid in full months ago for a date that was rescheduled due to medical reasons...... I'm afraid the medical bill may become too much and have to cancle all together............I may owe her a refund because my contract was not clear for that part at the time.
this is what is going in my new one:
1. A 30% deposit is needed to secure your order. All order deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable to other orders, events, or people.
a. If a date change for the same event is requested, we will attempt but cannot guarantee accommodation. If we cannot accommodate the new date, or the new date is not established by 1 year from the old date, the deposit will be forfeited. If the new date is 6 months or more past the old date, the order cost will be reviewed and recalculated at and subject to the then prevailing rates and policies.
b. In the event of a cancellation, any monies paid beyond the 30% deposit will be applied toward work already completed (as in flowers or figures) and supplies already purchased. The remaining balance is fully refundable.
I don't offer refunds for cancellations. I require a 50% retainer and the remainder is due 4 weeks before the event. If they cancel before the final payment they aren't required to pay, but if they do.. no refunds. My contract states simply:
CANCELLATION OR POSTPONEMENT
If you should require a postponement or cancellation The Well Dressed Cake will try to accommodate you. If you need to postpone your date your new date may not be available.
All monies paid to The Well Dressed Cake are date specific and non-refundable.
I agree with jkalman, I require a $100 deposit and balance to be paid 30 days prior to event. Say they contact you 12 days prior to their event and want a refund, but you have all ready turned away other orders for that date because of their cake order. The chances for another wedding order coming to you at that late date to fill their spot is highly unlikely.
This my first page of my wedding contract....I may go up on the deposit, to save the day.
Wedding Cake Policy
In a effort to assure that there are no misunderstandings, I have outlined some points of potential confusion concerning my wedding cake policies. I ask that you read them carefully and sign them stating that you fully understand my policies.
Date Reservation Fees: To hold the date for your wedding, you must place a $50 date reservation fee.
This is a down payment on your wedding cake or grooms cake and is NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE to another cake order if you:
1. Cancel your wedding
2. Decide to use another baker
3. Postpone your wedding date further than one year from the original date
4. Any other reason that might cause me to turn down other business because I accepted
Equipment Deposit- A separate check is required for equipment deposit. This will not be cashed but returned to you when my equipment is returned. The average deposit is $50-$150 depending on the size of your cake. The equipment must be returned by the Thursday following your wedding. If you fail to return the equipment or it is damaged in any manner, you will FORFEIT your deposit.
Final Payment- All Weddings must be paid for 3 weeks prior to the wedding. I will accept partial payments if you would like to spread out the cost, If your wedding is booked 4 or more months before your date. After that time half is expected when order is placed . After the 3 week lockout date, there are absolutely no refunds given for any reason for cancelled cakes. You may reschedule your wedding within a one year grace period from your original wedding date. The money cannot be applied to other cakes.
Cancellation Policy- If the cake is cancelled prior to the 3 week lockout date , a refund of all payments minus the $50 date reservation fee will be made.
Changes-Up to 3 weeks before your wedding date, you may change the size, style, flavor, or filling on your cakes. After the 3 week lockout date , I cannot change your order.
Sorry fogot to add...why are you afraid of giving a refund? Keep the deposit. But not being flexible to a certain point is just not fair. Things happen in life and weddings sometimes don't go as planned. I was one of those brides that cancelled 3 weeks before the wedding. And never rescheduled thank goodness. Thats why there is a save the date fee.
I don't refund because I have turned down business for the day they reserved and have already done work on their cake by the time they have paid their final payment. I do understand that life can get messy, but it is not my problem. Not that I am not sympathetic, but it's money out of my pocket that could have been there. The minute I get a booking that date is off my calendar and I can't fill it 3 weeks before the event. I have never had a cancellation beyond the final payment. I have offered to keep a retainer as a running credit though.
It's not that I am afraid of giving a refund.. it's just my policy not to.
DO NOT be afraid to run the business like a business. You should set up a "worst case, biggest PITA bride" version and write it in the contract. $100 to save the date, 50% 2 months in advance, balance 2 weeks before wedding. No refunds, no cancellations, no changes.
Then YOU can choose to "play nice", "transfer" or "reschedule". DO NOT try to add in every possible life disaster version in your contract, just the worst. That way YOU have the options. Only you will know in every case how much time you wasted to set up, how much business you lost, etc. Don't let it to a court what is a "good reason" to cancel or refund.
It always seems the most difficult ones are teh PITA, and the one that wants a refund.... <sigh>.
Contracts are written for the benefit of the writer. If they baulk at signing, you can initial and "soften" terms if you like. Many people don't read the contract- you are choosen for baking and decorating skill--- not the wording of the contract.
You can ALWAYS do more than the contract in being "nice" or accomodating, based on YOUR sole opinion.... but you will be forced to do what it says and the interpretation of the signers or court (if it gets there).
I take a nice deposit (200.00) and that is non refundable for ANY reason. You are holding that date for them and possiblity turning other business away. A deposit is very important in my eyes. Although, I've been told you should call it a retainer instead of deposit.
For wedding cakes I require a 50% non-refundable deposit. The balance is due 3 weeks prior to the wedding. After that point no refunds are given.
If the wedding is cancelled after that 3 week point - no refunds.
If the wedding in rescheduled before the 3 week mark, and I am no longer available for the new date, I return any funds (besides the initial deposit).
If the wedding is rescheduled and I am available for the new date, I apply the balance to the new date. But I also require another 25% non-refundable deposit to compensate me for lost revenue.
Thanks so much to all of you. I think this solved my confusion. All very good ideas.