Wtf?! How Do I Respond To This.....

Business By MikeRowesHunny Updated 7 Apr 2009 , 12:50pm by -K8memphis

MikeRowesHunny Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:37pm
post #1 of 34

without losing it?!

I have just received this email:

We received the contract and I have just read through it everything looks fine. John was a bit taken back about paying 50 percent deposit, since John is a business man and had his own company for years and he has never paid half the amount before receiving the product. We are happy to pay a deposit but think paying half now is a little too much. Once we have signed the contract we are bound by the contact to pay as soon as the Cake is delivered . If you could let us know we would appreciate it.

Ummmm, did they not read my payment policy very clearly stated on my website?!

How do I word a reply that puts it nicely but firmly, without sounding snotty (which is how I feel right now) - help!

33 replies
indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:50pm
post #2 of 34

"Thanks for contacting me with your questions. Evidently John has not dealt with the food industry very often because it's pretty much industry standard to get a deposit of this size. Unlike, for example, a pair of shoes that can be replaced on the for-sale rack if the transaction is canceled, food products expire and must be thrown away if the transaction is canceled. Also unlike shoes which can be sold hundreds per day, a caterer, a venue, a cake maker, a photographer, can usually only book one, maybe two events a day. The deposit is to cover the lost opportunity costs should the event be canceled (i.e. I will turn down quite a bit of business because I have reserved this date for you.)

If he is not comfortable with my terms, I understand, and I thank you for considering us for your event. The date remains open on my calendar until a 50% deposit is received with a signed contract."

-------------------------------------------------
Or you can just do the short version:

I'm sorry he is not in agreement with our policy, which is industry standard. Thanks, anyway, for considering us for your event."

juleebug Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:57pm
post #3 of 34

I would also point out that you can't modify your policies for each client or you wouldn't know which way was up. Since her fiance is a business owner, he surely can appreciate that policies must apply to ALL customers.

Then I would restate the payment terms EXACTLY as you have them on your website.

"Wedding cakes require a 50% non-refundable deposit at the time of signing your contract with us to secure your date, followed by the balance (including the refundable stand deposit if applicable), to be paid in full at least 2 weeks before the wedding date."

I would also emphsize that until the deposit is received their date is still open.

Auryn Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:08pm
post #4 of 34

I agree with Indydebi's long explanation.
This guy obviously has never ordered anything custom because I am a business owner and a 50% deposit is industry standard with anything custom (regardless of it being perishable or not), and actually 100% payment is usually normal when placing orders that have to be shipped.

The number of companies that do cod is becoming non existant.

Deb_ Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:11pm
post #5 of 34

Looks like *John* could be a problem even if they agree to your deposit terms. Note where it says..............................................................

"Once we have signed the contract we are bound by the contact to pay as soon as the Cake is delivered ."

Do you not require full payment prior to the Wedding/delivery date? It sounds like he doesn't expect to pay you the balance until the cake is delivered. What if *John* decided he doesn't like the finished cake and then withholds final payment.


My response would be "I think you will find my terms to be the Industry Standard. Thank you for considering me and best wishes."

You don't need the headache this *businessman* will give you.

paolacaracas Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:11pm
post #6 of 34

Not only I agree with Indydebi, I think if she don't agree and you loose the client, it's better for you, this is a bad sign that this will be dificult clients untill the end

bakery_chick Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:13pm
post #7 of 34

I agree with the last two posts. I like the idea of comparing it to shoes and letting them know that you are reserving the date as well. They are paying for the guarantee that they will get a cake on that date.
You might want to say something along the lines of ...
I am sorry that you do not agree with my company policies. I do not feel that these requests are unreasonable because they are industry standard for almost all professional bakeries(caterers). I understand if you do not feel comfortable terms and would prefer to terminate our business dealings. Please note that if you would like to go ahead with the contract, I cannot keep the date open until I have received the 50%.

punkinpie Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:17pm
post #8 of 34

When special ordering many things you have to pay a significant down payment - usually half. I wonder what kind of business John is in? It is always interesting what kind of excuse people come up with when they don't want want to outright say they don't like a policy. I think they believe it is the polite way of saying they don't agree (or have the money).

all4cake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:18pm
post #9 of 34

Seems like ol' John, being a business man and having HAD owned his business, would realize everyone has their own policies and they can't be adjusted for every tom, dick, harry and JOHN as they see fit. "no shoes, no shirt, no service" well that's not my policy....mine is no shoes...'cause they cause ingrown toenails, no shirt...'cause it makes me feel confined, no service? well, I can do the shopping by myself just fine and use the self-check out TYVM...is my policy

KitchenKat Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:21pm
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Quote:

"Thanks for contacting me with your questions. Evidently John has not dealt with the food industry very often because it's pretty much industry standard to get a deposit of this size. Unlike, for example, a pair of shoes that can be replaced on the for-sale rack if the transaction is canceled, food products expire and must be thrown away if the transaction is canceled. Also unlike shoes which can be sold hundreds per day, a caterer, a venue, a cake maker, a photographer, can usually only book one, maybe two events a day. The deposit is to cover the lost opportunity costs should the event be canceled (i.e. I will turn down quite a bit of business because I have reserved this date for you.)




I agree with indidebi except for the part that goes

Quote:
Quote:

Evidently John has not dealt with the food industry very often




personally i feel it's verging on sarcasm. (Sorry Deb!) I would just say "I understand that John is a businessman too but the food industry is very different from other retail enterprises"... and then go on with the rest of Debi's draft.

Homemade-Goodies Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:23pm
post #11 of 34

Your policy was stated on your website, whether or not they took notice before booking you, hon - don't give an inch. Stick to it, and if they don't agree...let 'em go!! It'll be only headache from those two, I'd wager! Hang tight!! icon_biggrin.gif

kansaslaura Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:31pm
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Quote:

I agree with indidebi except for the part that goes

Quote:
Quote:

Evidently John has not dealt with the food industry very often



personally i feel it's verging on sarcasm. (Sorry Deb!) I would just say "I understand that John is a businessman too but the food industry is very different from other retail enterprises"... and then go on with the rest of Debi's draft.




Debi... sarcastic??? Surely you jest!! icon_razz.gif

icon_biggrin.gif

Cakeatier Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:31pm
post #13 of 34

Both My husband & myself are also "Business people". We run a company that obtains building work permits for clients which includes drafting up their plans for them. We have been asking for a retainer of at least 50% for years know & not that many people complain about it. If they do we just tell them that when they are ready to do the job to please contact us & we will be happy to do their job. Most people take their time but usually end up sending in the retainer. I don't know what kind of business he is in but I' pretty sure that in this day & age every business person wants to make sure potential clients are serious about what they are buying & not just shopping around. I would tell them this is my policy & if you don't like it find someone else. Put the ball back in their court & don't worry about it.

mcook1670 Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:35pm
post #14 of 34

You might have people start initialing that they read your policy when they sigh the contract. I won't worry about whether or not if they like the cake upon delivery. They came to you looked at your work and said yes we want you to make our cake. So obviously they're comfortable with you capabilities.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:35pm
post #15 of 34

Oh, I agree. They seemed perfectly nice when I did the tasting, my only allowance for him is that he's Dutch (read freak), and so not used to dealing with custom anything! I think I too smell a groomzilla on the horizon.

Here is my draught, sound OK?:

Dear xxx,

I'm sorry, but that is my policy and it is standard in the cake industry. My policies are clearly stated on the website in more than one place:

"Wedding cakes require a 50% non-refundable deposit at the time of signing your contract with us to secure your date, followed by the balance (including the refundable stand deposit if applicable), to be paid in full at least 2 weeks before the wedding date."

This is my (and others) standard policy because due to the considerable time put into every custom wedding cake I make, I can only do one wedding per week. The deposit is to cover the advance purchase of non-perishable ingredients & supplies, plus the lost opportunity costs should the event be cancelled (i.e. I will turn down quite a bit of business because I have reserved this date for you. - I have already had another wedding enquiry for that weekend to which I have yet to respond).

Once you have signed the contract you agree to pay the remaining balance no later than 2 weeks before the wedding (I never accept payment on delivery for wedding cakes), I will not make the cake if I have not received payment in full by then - again a standard policy among cake artists. I have never had a couple question or complain about this policy (yes, even the Dutch ones), because, as I've said, it is the norm for wedding cakes (and expensive celebration cakes).

To be honest, I have already cut you a break by extending the early bird offer - that was really only for weddings that were booked (i,e deposit paid), before 31st March. I really should be charging you full price now.

I am sorry that John is not comfortable with my terms, I understand, and I thank you for considering me for your event. As of now, the date remains open on my calendar until a 50% deposit is received with a signed contract.

Regards,

Cakeatier Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 2:45pm
post #16 of 34

I think your response covers everything. You have restated you policy & that you are not the only person to do this & you have put the ball back in their court by stating that the date is still open. I think it is a wonderful response.

all4cake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:01pm
post #17 of 34

What would be really awesome....is if you accepted the other inquiry, booked the date, and responded with

Dear XXX,

While you and John were pondering the validity of my policies, you managed to let another couple book the date out from under you. Thank you for thinking about thinking about me doing your wedding cake.

All the best to you both,

Me

MikeRowesHunny Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:01pm
post #18 of 34

Oh, yeah, the funny thing was that they were complaining to me that the photographer they want requires FULL payment up front. I actually understand that, but they clearly don't!

juleebug Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:06pm
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

What would be really awesome....is if you accepted the other inquiry, booked the date, and responded with

Dear XXX,

While you and John were pondering the validity of my policies, you managed to let another couple book the date out from under you. Thank you for thinking about thinking about me doing your wedding cake.

All the best to you both,

Me




I LOVE the bolded part! And I agree... I would book the other couple ASAP.

cakedoll Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:11pm
post #20 of 34

When I had my custom clothing business, if the customer was in the area, I charged 50% down on a custom piece. If they were out of the area and the piece had to be shipped, it was 100% including a flat rate shipping charge. No exceptions; and they signed a contract agreeing to it.

Many of these pieces had to be altered and were all dyed and painted to what the customer specified, and these were not cheap items. After getting burned a couple of times, I learned fast.

Granted, the items could be resold, but some were so specific that they stayed in the retail store for quite a while. ( one was a 3 piece pantsuit with cocker spaniel cariacatures)

I know of no businesses that deal in custom order items, (at least in this area) whether it be food, clothing, etc. that don't charge a 50% deposit.

I think you response is perfect. Like Cakeatier said, it puts the ball back in their court. They can either play the game by your rules or not.

For all you know, the groom might have tried this same ploy with other bakers and couldn't succeed with them, and you were next.

What would be great is if you ended up booking the date before they responded!

Carolynlovescake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:11pm
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjovibabe

Oh, yeah, the funny thing was that they were complaining to me that the photographer they want requires FULL payment up front. I actually understand that, but they clearly don't!




Do they not realize that planning a wedding costs money out of their pockets PRIOR to the event?

-K8memphis Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:12pm
post #22 of 34

I think I would put the nail in the cake coffin and say that the extension on the early bird deal is runs out if the signed contract and retainer is not received by X date (three days or something brief). Maybe you already did though.

I would delete some stuff,

Dear xxx,

I'm sorry, but that is my policy and it is standard in the cake industry. My policies are clearly stated on the website in more than one place:

"Wedding cakes require a 50% non-refundable deposit at the time of signing your contract with us to secure your date, followed by the balance (including the refundable stand deposit if applicable), to be paid in full at least 2 weeks before the wedding date."

This is my (and others) standard policy because Due to the considerable time put into every custom wedding cake I make, I can only do one wedding per week. The deposit is to cover the advance purchase of non-perishable ingredients & supplies, plus the lost opportunity costs should the event be cancelled (i.e. I will turn down quite a bit of business because I have reserved this date for you. - I have already had another wedding enquiry for that weekend to which I have yet to respond).

Once you have signed the contract you agree to pay the remaining balance no later than 2 weeks before the wedding (I never accept payment on delivery for wedding cakes), I will not make the cake if I have not received payment in full by then - again a standard policy among cake artists. I have never had a couple question or complain about this policy (yes, even the Dutch ones), because, as I've said, it is the norm for wedding cakes (and expensive celebration cakes).

To be honest, I have already cut you a break by extending the early bird offer - that was really only for weddings that were booked (i,e deposit paid), before 31st March. I really should be charging you full price now.
I am sorry that John is not comfortable with my terms, I understand, and


I thank you for considering me for your event. As of now, the date remains open on my calendar until a 50% deposit is received with a signed contract.

Early bird offer deadline is April 7, 2009.

Regards,

all4cake Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:17pm
post #23 of 34

daggum....if I order car parts...not even custom parts...I have to pay for it UP FRONT IN FULL...when I order something from places like Lowe's...I have to pay for it UP FRONT IN FULL....

people drive me batty....hearing about it drives me batty...that would explain why...

I reckon I'm batty

MikeRowesHunny Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:28pm
post #24 of 34

UPDATE: just heard back from the bride. She says SHE understands and it's not her gripe but HIS. SHE will pay the deposit on Thursday into my UK bank account. I'm not sure who is paying the balance or how though (yet!).

So now I have to go and do a currency exchange - but at least I'm getting paid! I told her that if her fiance is going to become a groomzilla then the deal will be off - I don't entertain those anymore than I do bridezilla's!

juleebug Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:51pm
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjovibabe

I told her that if her fiance is going to become a groomzilla then the deal will be off - I don't entertain those anymore than I do bridezilla's!




thumbs_up.gif GOOD FOR YOU!

Cakeatier Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 5:19pm
post #26 of 34

I told you they would come around. You have to stick to your principles & once people realize that they usually come around to your way of handling things, especially since your cakes are worth it.

cakedoll Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 5:53pm
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

daggum....if I order car parts...not even custom parts...I have to pay for it UP FRONT IN FULL...when I order something from places like Lowe's...I have to pay for it UP FRONT IN FULL....

people drive me batty....hearing about it drives me batty...that would explain why...

I reckon I'm batty




No kidding!!

To Bonjovibabe: Good for you for adding that little bit about the groom!

Mike1394 Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 6:22pm
post #28 of 34

I think the response should read something like. icon_biggrin.gif Does John know how to put flour, eggs, and sugar in a bowl, and make it come out looking like the most beautiful cake you have ever seen before? LOLOL

Good Luck,
Mike

indydebi Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 8:28pm
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kansaslaura

Quote:
Quote:

I agree with indidebi except for the part that goes

Quote:
Quote:

Evidently John has not dealt with the food industry very often



personally i feel it's verging on sarcasm. (Sorry Deb!) I would just say "I understand that John is a businessman too but the food industry is very different from other retail enterprises"... and then go on with the rest of Debi's draft.



Debi... sarcastic??? Surely you jest!! icon_razz.gif

icon_biggrin.gif


icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Oh this is too funny! I read CasualKitchen's response and said to myself, "Me? Sarcastic? Surely you jest!" and then I scroll down and Laura has literally taken the words out of my mouth!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Chef_Stef Posted 7 Apr 2009 , 7:52am
post #30 of 34

Make sure they also FULLY understand that final payment is due on whatever date, or you'll be going through the same conversation with them then, too.

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