Does Anyone Use Contracts For Cookie Orders?

Business By CookieMakinMomma Updated 25 May 2009 , 5:06pm by CookiezNCupcakez

CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 May 2009 , 5:15pm
post #1 of 37

I know contracts are standard for cakes and other large orders, but what about if you get various smaller orders? Are contracts even used much in the cookie industry? I will be starting a cookie co. that sells decorated sugar cookies as well as mixed trays for weddings, parties, casual orders, etc. My minimum sugar cookie order will be 2 dozen (starting at $48 ) and mixed trays a minimum of four dozen ($29) and they both go up from there. I feel silly asking someone to sign a contract for thirty bucks worth of cookies but I want to do things right. Any thoughts? Also, if anyone has a sample contract for cookies I would love to see it.

36 replies
CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 May 2009 , 6:19pm
post #2 of 37

Oh yeah, forgot I had this. This is how I am thinking of charging, based on various cake contracts I have seen. I know it sounds really lenient, but I just need a starting point. Any input would be awesome.

Payment

For orders less than $75. The full amount is due within one week of placing the order to reserve the date. Payment may be in the form of cash or check. Failure to pay by the due date will result in the cancellation of your order. Should you have to cancel your order any time up to two weeks before the delivery date, any money you have paid will be refunded. If you cancel within 2 weeks of the delivery date, you will be refunded 50% of the money paid.

For orders over $75.
A non-refundable deposit of $40 is due within one week of placing the order to reserve the date. The full amount of the balance is due 2 weeks before the delivery date. Payment may be in the form of cash or check. Failure to pay by the due date will result in the cancellation of your order. Should you cancel your order after payment has been made and production has begun, you will be refunded your money, less the cost of supplies purchased, expenses incurred, and the deposit for the cookies. If you cancel your order within 1 week of the delivery date no money will be refunded.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 14 May 2009 , 6:20pm
post #3 of 37

I am wondering the same thing, sounds like we're doing the same kind of business.

I will probably end up making my own which will be VERY short compared to the the cake ones I've seen, I'm hoping to get it all on one page. I do however, want to cover my butt in case someone orders 100 intricate wedding cake cookies and cancells at the last minute. It will have something similar to half down at time of order, then full payment before they receive the cookies. I think it's smart to cover our bases.

I just prinited out the 16 page one that Doug (I believe) made up and I will use some of what pertains to general bakery things but just leave out any cake related things. I'm wondering if I can get 16 pages down to one, lol!!!!

I will try to work on it tonight and then let you know what I come up with.

Heidi.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 14 May 2009 , 6:21pm
post #4 of 37

Oohhhh, I really like your wording so far! Keep it coming!!

Kitagrl Posted 14 May 2009 , 6:56pm
post #5 of 37

I pretty much use contracts for delivery orders and rarely for pickup orders. Once in awhile I do, but hardly ever. Usually they pay a deposit and pay the balance when they pick up so that's pretty easy..just exchange the rest of the money for the product...they are there to see that the product is what they ordered...haven't had a problem with that yet.

I mean, if I order a floral arrangement, I don't sign a contract...so...I don't worry about it unless its delivered...or a huge order and the person expects a contract.

CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 May 2009 , 7:31pm
post #6 of 37

Thanks Heidi! It's good to know my scheme is shared by others! icon_cool.gif

Kitagirl- I agree with you, I just wasn't sure what the norm is. I know I'll need at least half up front to cover costs but it seems silly to ask $15 now and $15 later. I tried remedying this in my two-price-bracket method but maybe there's a better way to approach smaller orders. I was actually thinking of simply handing this to the customer as part of my Pricing & Policies as opposed to making them sign something. Large orders (assuming I'm lucky enough to get them!) I suppose should have a more formal contract, but at what point would I consider them large? $50? $75? $100? (as a point of reference, $75 would be about 3doz sugar cookies or 10 dozen assorted) Ugh, too many details!

Kitagrl Posted 14 May 2009 , 7:48pm
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieMakinMomma

Thanks Heidi! It's good to know my scheme is shared by others! icon_cool.gif

Kitagirl- I agree with you, I just wasn't sure what the norm is. I know I'll need at least half up front to cover costs but it seems silly to ask $15 now and $15 later. I tried remedying this in my two-price-bracket method but maybe there's a better way to approach smaller orders. I was actually thinking of simply handing this to the customer as part of my Pricing & Policies as opposed to making them sign something. Large orders (assuming I'm lucky enough to get them!) I suppose should have a more formal contract, but at what point would I consider them large? $50? $75? $100? (as a point of reference, $75 would be about 3doz sugar cookies or 10 dozen assorted) Ugh, too many details!




Sometimes for really small orders (which I try to avoid) I just ask for payment up front. Once in awhile (I have a tasting cake, 8", someone ordered) I end up just letting them pay when they pickup but that's VERY rare...the only reason I didn't this weekend is I didn't think to ask for payment when we were talking so I just left it.

I think sending them your policies might be a good idea, without actually signing anything....

I wouldn't consider them "large" until you had a big delivery for a wedding or shower, or corporate. Until then I don't see anything wrong with "Half now, half upon pickup". Sometimes for orders over $200 (cake) I ask for $50 now and the rest upon pickup. I take cash or local checks...the local checks I cash at the customer's bank.

Some people like contracts...I prefer less hassle and I don't like to put the customers through hassle either, if I can help it. So far its worked okay.

CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 May 2009 , 8:30pm
post #8 of 37

how does this sound?

Orders under $50: all up front

Orders $50 and over: half now and half at pickup/delivery

For orders over $200, I think I'll follow your lead and make it more like $50 up front, however I don't think I'll make it a formal policy. Instead I will make it more of a case-by-case basis. It will simplify wording things as well as make me sound flexible to the customer. ("well, I guess I could cut you a break..." icon_wink.gif)

I agree, signing a contract is rather formal and a hassle. Since I don't want to get that big as a business, keeping things simple is probably my best bet.

Kitagrl Posted 14 May 2009 , 8:49pm
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieMakinMomma

how does this sound?

Orders under $50: all up front

Orders $50 and over: half now and half at pickup/delivery

For orders over $200, I think I'll follow your lead and make it more like $50 up front, however I don't think I'll make it a formal policy. Instead I will make it more of a case-by-case basis. It will simplify wording things as well as make me sound flexible to the customer. ("well, I guess I could cut you a break..." icon_wink.gif)

I agree, signing a contract is rather formal and a hassle. Since I don't want to get that big as a business, keeping things simple is probably my best bet.




I kinda go with my gut feeling...also depends on how far in advance the order is. For a cake that is placed 4 or more months in advance, sometimes I only take $25 so that if something comes up the customer won't lose so much money. Average I accept $50. Smaller orders are half or prepay. All of the above are picked up and not delivered...the deliveries I feel need a contract so that the person knows exactly what is going on, since often you won't even see the customer when you deliver the goods.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 14 May 2009 , 8:54pm
post #10 of 37

Oohhh, this is all so interesting! I'm so glad you asked CMM!

What I was thinking, is that I would pick a number/price that would totally piss me off if someone ditched out on, maybe around $100, and then for orders over that I would require half down/half later. If it's an order for say flower cookies that aren't personalized with a name or logo I could always resell them, but maybe there will be a different option for someone who wants EI logos or birthday cake cookies with someones name on them.

Or maybe it will just be a deposit for those personalized ones and none for general ones. I'm not sure. I think that if a person comes in and makes special requests of frostings, writing, decoration, bags/bows, they should be prepared to pay some up front, do you think? I wouldn't go to a screen printing place to get my logo on kitchen aprons (can you tell what my current project is, lol) and not assume that they would require some kind of payment up front, right?

But like you mentioned, I don't want to put anyone off of my bakery because they had to sign a two page contract for some cookies. I just don't know!! My sister-in-law is a contract lawyer so maybe I'll ask her. Even if she can't help with the specific bakery things at least she'll know what I can and can't legally put in there.

As soon as I start a rough draft I'll share it with you.

Kitagrl Posted 14 May 2009 , 8:58pm
post #11 of 37

I would always always take a deposit of some sort, ever time...or prepayment.

I got burned...once. Never again. haha.

I have a good friend just getting into making cookies and she doesn't take deposits yet, and she has a customer right now having her make sample cookies and giving her the runaround...hopefully she'll start taking deposits soon.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 14 May 2009 , 9:07pm
post #12 of 37

What do you think about just sticking with half now half later for any and all special orders? That way there is no wiggle room, no questioning later if it was the right thing etc....that's just what it is. And if there is a sign posted somewhere where the customers can see it, just something small taped to the counter, they can't argue and say they didn't know, right? All I have to say is "it's our policy" and leave it at that. Or is half too much? But I'm assuming most of my special orders aren't going to be over $100 so $50 shouldn't be too much to ask, right? Am I on the right track or is this way a bad idea?

Kitagrl Posted 14 May 2009 , 9:11pm
post #13 of 37

Sounds good to me!

My orders sometimes add up to more and my deposits are nonrefundable so I don't do half for the larger orders but yeah I would say half is very reasonable for custom work.

350BakerStreet Posted 14 May 2009 , 9:52pm
post #14 of 37

I take payment in full, everytime. Of course, I have a website that requires that you pay for your order, so that makes it easier on my end. If you were to do a wedding for say $200 or more, and it was way in advance (like a month or more) it might be a good idea to write up a "catering" contract for your cookies. Otherwise, I think it probably isn't a good idea. I just did a $300+ order and it was paid up front. If they want them, they will pay.

CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 May 2009 , 10:04pm
post #15 of 37

350BakerStreet, your cookies are AMAZING! No wonder people are willing to pay your price, you have a beautiful product!

Makes me want to go back to the kitchen until I can keep up with the big kids... icon_biggrin.gif

350BakerStreet Posted 15 May 2009 , 10:46pm
post #16 of 37

Tee hee...did you just call me a BIG kid?! Awe shucks! icon_wink.gif I still feel like I'm just starting out. It's been three years this month since I started doing cookies. I remember when I first started, my son was a month old and I only had two cookies, the chic hearts and rubber duckies (which aren't even on there anymore, haha). It takes time, but you'll get there. If you need someone to test them on, I can pass along my address icon_biggrin.gif

cylstrial Posted 15 May 2009 , 10:54pm
post #17 of 37

IMHO, if it's an order over $100 - you should have a contract. That way you're covered, and everything you have agreed to is all in writing. I think you all have some really good idea's about what to do! Thanks for starting this thread!

Lita829 Posted 15 May 2009 , 11:07pm
post #18 of 37

I currently don't ask for a contract...but I think that I will start. My business is just starting to pick up but I think that its a good idea. I real like some of the examples given by previous posts. I just might have to borrow some of your ideas for wording the contract icon_biggrin.gif

This is a good thread...thanks for starting it thumbs_up.gif

CbyA Posted 15 May 2009 , 11:08pm
post #19 of 37

350BakerStreet WOW! your website looks very professional and your cookies AMAZING! congratulations! Do you have a shop or you work from home? Cbya.

350BakerStreet Posted 16 May 2009 , 12:31am
post #20 of 37

Thank you and thank you icon_wink.gif I work from home...in a separate kitchen in my basement. We just moved here on Christmas eve, so I'm still working out of the upstairs "family" kitchen until I can get the cabinets installed. I got some old cabinets from the in-laws that I'm refinishing. I don't suggest it...a LOT of work and time! Hopefully I'll be done by next Christmas, lol!

As for the contracts, I think it's a good idea to have one. Since I use PayPal and have the online order form (I use CityMax.com to build my site...trying to build a better one with my cakes too, hence Baker Street), I'm pretty much covered. If you have a PayPal account, writing up an invoice is a good idea too, then you can accept credit cards without an actual merchant account. Just another thought.

Lita829 Posted 16 May 2009 , 12:43am
post #21 of 37

Thanks for the advice 350BakerStreet icon_smile.gif . Once I get my tooshie in gear and create a website, using PayPal sounds like an awesome idea thumbs_up.gif .

BTW....CONGRATS on your move and personal business kitchen!! For the time being, I can only dream......

HeidiCrumbs Posted 16 May 2009 , 1:40am
post #22 of 37

Ok, here is what I have so far on my order/contract form. And it may sound strict, but then there is no room for questioning, nobody can give me a hard time and whine about having to pay half up front when the order is placed. It's in black and white and then I always have the option for not requiring it for excellent repeat customers or close friends and family that I trust.

"A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the order total is required when the order is placed. The date will remain open until the first half of the payment is recieved. The remaining balance needs to be paid before or at the time of pickup."

"I understand that by signing this contract I agree to have paid for half my total upon order placement and the balance when the order is picked up. Failure to pay the balance will result in NO COOKIES FOR ME."

Aside from typo's and grammar errors, what do you think? Too repetitive? Bad Seinfeld reference? I just don't want someone to say "well I didn't realize I needed to pay....." I will have my editor friend proofread it and make it sound pretty before I actually use it.

The order form that I want to use is one page with my logo at the top, date and person placing the order, date of event, date of pickup, half the page is empty for special instructions and area to trace cutter, then the contract part is at the bottom with a place for a signature.

Am I missing anything? Too general? Too mean?

350BakerStreet Posted 16 May 2009 , 2:33am
post #23 of 37

I would suggest changing the "The remaining balance needs to be paid before or at the time of pickup" to read "The remaining balance needs to be paid in full no less than 5 business days before scheduled pickup/delivery". Or something to that effect. You don't want losers showing up at your door whining about "Oh, I paid the first half and I only have a little bit more (but not the full balance), and I came all this way to get my cookies...boo hoo...blah blah blah..." If you require the full balance before you start baking, then you don't have to worry about bad customers like this ('cause they will have paid you already), but you're still allowing the break-up of larger payments which makes it more convenient for the good customers. Does that make sense? Otherwise, I think it sounds good (I'd say "great" but I'm not a Seinfeld fan, sorry). icon_smile.gif

350BakerStreet Posted 16 May 2009 , 2:34am
post #24 of 37

...and thanks Lita icon_wink.gif

HeidiCrumbs Posted 17 May 2009 , 1:36pm
post #25 of 37

Lol 350, I put that in as a funny so it can easily come out. I just hate how the wording is so so so serious, that's just not me, so if I can get the legal stuff in with a bit of humor at the end I'd like to. But no biggie if it has to come out.

350BakerStreet Posted 17 May 2009 , 6:19pm
post #26 of 37

Haha...my husband thinks I'm nuts for not totally loving Seinfield icon_biggrin.gif I agree, the legal stuff can be a little off-putting. No harm in using a little humor to lighten things up icon_smile.gif

CookieMakinMomma Posted 19 May 2009 , 2:54pm
post #27 of 37

GAH! Apparently "watch this topic" only applies to the first 36 hours! I'm so glad this thread has been helpful to more than little ole me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350BakerStreet

Tee hee...did you just call me a BIG kid?! Awe shucks! icon_wink.gif I still feel like I'm just starting out. It's been three years this month since I started doing cookies. I remember when I first started, my son was a month old and I only had two cookies, the chic hearts and rubber duckies (which aren't even on there anymore, haha). It takes time, but you'll get there. If you need someone to test them on, I can pass along my address icon_biggrin.gif



Yes, yes I did call you a big kid. We are all kids deep down, especially when you put a cookie in our hands! icon_lol.gif Wow, you started out with a one month old?! And didn't lose your mind?! Bravo! My munchkin just turned 8mos and sometimes I think I'm crazy to try and start up a business. But then, my son is an ornery little cuss. I'd definitely let you test my cookies, but I don't think my husband would like that much. He whimpers if there are no extras for him as it is... icon_rolleyes.gif

CookieMakinMomma Posted 19 May 2009 , 3:03pm
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by 350BakerStreet

Haha...my husband thinks I'm nuts for not totally loving Seinfield icon_biggrin.gif



I'm not a huge Seinfeld fan either, but all I have to do is see Elaine dance and all the mediocre jokes are worth it... icon_cool.gif


350BakerStreet Posted 19 May 2009 , 4:46pm
post #29 of 37

Right on! A fellow hater icon_wink.gif OMG, that dance makes me sick...bbbbaaarrrfff! Sorry, I can be dramatic sometimes, haha.

And yes, it was difficult with a one month old, but he was pretty good. He just barely turned 3 and now he's a total PITA, his favorite word being, "No" and favorite phase being, "No, I can't", as in "No, I can't go to bed". I'd like to think if he had a playmate or sibling he might be better, but I doubt it. Probably just more trouble for me, lol!

I didn't get a lot of orders right off the bat, but with each one I did I was able to put up new pictures on my site and build my portfolio. I still have several cookie cutters that I haven't even used yet. If you haven't found a good supplier for your cutters, please go to CopperGifts.com. They are amazing! The cutters are strong and last a lifetime. Granted they are more expensive than regular tin cutters, but it's totally worth it. Tell them Schannelle sent you icon_wink.gif

HeidiCrumbs Posted 19 May 2009 , 6:12pm
post #30 of 37

OMG, I have a two year old and a 3.5 year old. And 350, it does not get any better if they have a sibling, lol. That was our plan, to get it out of the way, have two and they'll have constant playmates. As of now it is constant screaming, whining, toy stealing etc....and once you turn your back because one did something naughty then the other one is coloring on the walls. It's like I'm raising monkeys sometimes.

OK, sorry this doesn't have anything more to do with cookies, lol. I'm just really glad that we're talking this out, it's really helped me with ideas for my contract.

Heidi.

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