My wedding billing policy so far has been paid in full 1 month prior, with changes to made up to 2 weeks out from the date.
I now have a bride that is 1 week and 1 day overdue for her final payment. I have emailed her and spoke with her on the phone. Her answer on Monday of this week was "I am so sorry, I've just been dropping the ball on everything lately, I'll send the check today." Its now Thursday, and no check (she lives like 2 miles from me, there's no way it isn't here if it was sent).
What do you do if the bride hasn't paid? I really do want this one- its an easy design, and she's en event coordinator for a local reception hall, which means business for me in the future. This must happen a lot to you people with bigger businesses, but this is my first full year with the bakery and although I have a full summer, I have yet to bill most of them. What are some good policies and how do you enforce them?
if I were you,
I would call her and let her know that you need to have cash in hand by tomorrow at 5 pm.
If not her order is cancelled and she doesn't get the deposit back.
That cake is considered cancelled with deposit being yours. Give them a reminder a week before final payment is due, if they miss the date, call them & e-mail them with your policy, reminding that deposits are non-refundable. 1 more week, then thats it. For me, it's all about setting a standard
... What do you do if the bride hasn't paid? I really do want this one- its an easy design, and she's en event coordinator for a local reception hall, which means business for me in the future. This must happen a lot to you people with bigger businesses, but this is my first full year with the bakery and although I have a full summer, I have yet to bill most of them. What are some good policies and how do you enforce them?
What if you asked her if it would help her out you could pick up the payment? She is close by and you do really want the business that could come from this sale. Just my two cents.
I have had people do it. Really, I'm a big softy and I don't want someone to have to have a grocery store wedding cake.
What I do, is I say something like, " hey, I know that there is a lot going on with your wedding approaching so quickly, and I certainly do NOT want to cancel your order in the midst of that because of lack of payment. Time is too short for me to accept a check, so you will need to pay in cash by tomorrow at 5pm to continue with this order. I am available to meet you at... or you can drop it by to me at this time... "
Since last wedding season and just taking peoples money late, I have now imposed a $25 PER DAY late fee in order to continue with the order. So far, everyone is right on time, even early.
That's a good idea- a late fee. I just put in another email to her saying I have yet to receive it, and I don't want to cancel her order, but I need it by tomorrow.
I have several larger events this weekend, so I can't go pick it up from her, and although I really do want the business, this is ridiculous!
As a side note, I would think that an event coordinator would be more on the ball...since that's what she does for a living. Plus, she probably deals with brides on a regular basis too.
I say this as nicely as possible: You need to get tough. If you are in this as a business then you cannot be a pushover. Honestly, if she is doing this with you, can you imagine what her conversation is with her clients about you? "Oh don't worry if you don't pay her on time. She'll still make the cake." Is that the kind of reputation you want?
You need to firmly but politely tell her you have already extened the payment deadline as a courtesy to her but that if you do not receive cash from her by xx time tomorrow you will have no choice but to cancel her order.
And I don't what that nonsense is about picking up the payment from her! She's the one that is late. She brings the money to you.
When it comes to the money aspect for me - it's business. It's not personal. You don't pay on time, you don't get a cake.
I agree with cakesbycathy. It's business, not personal. write it & click send!!!
I had one this month. I sent two emails reminding them the payment was past due. Each time they responded with revised headcount or a question. With the 2nd one, I responded, "Here's your answer to your question, but that's the least of your concern. If I don't have a check by this afternoon, I'm not showing up. Call me and let me know when you'll be over or call me with a credti card number."
I had a check by 5:30.
hahahaha have I told you lately how much I love you Indy?
And for me the $$ is due 1 month before the wedding and the order is canceled if payment has not been received by 2 weeks before the wedding. This info is on the contract I have them sign and in bold at the bottom of the order agreement I email out. I try to bill them 1 week before its due but sometimes I'm busy. They know the date and the date stands no matter if I remind them or not. I'll always contact before I cancel and very rarely have a true cancellation at that point.
Thanks for the advice everyone. You're right- this is my first full summer booked solid, and I just don't have time to be chasing brides around. I emailed her on Thursday, then did not receive payment or contact today. I have canceled her order, and will just be glad I have a $50 down payment for my trouble!
I think I need to refine my contract to state what happens when a bride doesn't pay on time. I have it clear when final payment is due, but not what happens.