Final Payment Runaround

Business By Lenette Updated 12 Jun 2009 , 3:34am by sweetlayers

Lenette Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 4:34pm
post #1 of 23

I am running into this issue more often lately. I have set that final decisions for cake and payment are due 3 weeks prior to the wedding. Now, most of the time it isn't an issue but I have 2 couples that are making me re-think how to handle this.

I try to be nice, if a client is forced to make calls to get the final head count and such I have been willing to give them a few days. I recently gave a couple an additional week and still haven't heard back. Another lady's payment was due Saturday, she told me she sent it Friday and nothing. She lives 15 minutes away so it would have been here had she mailed it.

First, I don't have time to chase folks down and email/call 3 times to get payment. I hate doing it. Plus, I have bills to pay myself and it is throwing me off for that.

How strict are you all about your deadlines? I tell ya, I'm about ready to cancel this one order. Do you drop them after the first infraction?

I don't want to be difficult and I know they would be hard pressed to find someone to replace me at this point but I have things I need to do too.

Any thoughts on this?

22 replies
alvarezmom Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 4:41pm
post #2 of 23

I'm sorry yourhaving such a hard time with this.

I dont have my own shop or rent space out so I couldnt tell you what I do.

I could say I would do this or do that--but that is easier said then done.

I will say this.... It is not your problem if they have a hard time finding some one else to do their cake if you decide not to do it. That is not your problem. It's in our cake nature to want to be nice and wk with ppl.

I dont know... Maybe you could send them a letter or a phone call/email and let them know if payment is not received by X day/time then you will cancel their order. You could also say that you will keep X amount of their deposit.

G_Cakes Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 4:42pm
post #3 of 23

Wow sorry to hear your going through this...

What I would do is offer one final phone call, if they signed a contract then I would remind them of what is in the contract and offer that if payment is not received IN HAND by (you specify time) then you will consider that they are in breach of contract and cut them loose.

Sounds a little harsh I know but you have to figure it out this way... I don't think your utilities company will wait for their money and probably cut you off so why should you have to wait?

Good luck with them and keep us posted!

loriemoms Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 4:57pm
post #4 of 23

With me final payment is due two weeks before the wedding. Party cakes 50% is due at time of cake order and then rest due at pickup.
If I dont have my 50% two weeks before the party, I call them and tell them no cake will be baked until I get that 50%. That gives them time to get out of it they want or pay. (they usually send a check in a day or two or just give me a CC number on the phone) I also email them an invoice.

For weddings, six weeks before the wedding, an invoice is sent through the US Mail. Most of the time, I get payment within a week. If not, then I do it again at 4 weeks. (I can set up quickbooks to generate these invoices and its really easy to just pop them into the mail) If nothing at 2 weeks, I sic my DH on them. He is so good! He calls them at home during the day and says "Please call us a soon as possible, it is concerning your wedding cake". This completely freaks out the brides! I am not kidding! So they call and he tells their payment is due and he is very open with them and tells them we wont put the cake in the oven till we have full payment. most of them just give a CC number, but some send in a check in a day or two. But since mailing out the invoices, we don't have to do this very often anymore. I had one bride that brought me cash the wednesday before the wedding simply because she had overbudgeted her self, but thats the worse I ever had happen with weddings.

Since putting in the 50% due for party cakes at order, I haven't had any no shows! Had a few before then!

Good luck!

Kay_NL Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 5:07pm
post #5 of 23

It only took me 1 no-show to implement the 50% due for party cakes at time of order! I don't do wedding cakes usually so my advice is NOT from experience at all!

I would tell them straight out, the money is due, if I don't get it within 2 days then I will not have enough time to make your wedding cake so will have to cancel your order.

Rylan Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 5:15pm
post #6 of 23

Leave a voicemail, "Good morning, I am looking through my schedule and noticed that I have not yet recieved a payment from you. Please give me a call before xx/xx/09 or I will assume that the event is cancelled". If you want to be straight forward just say, "If I don't get any payments before xx/xx/09 I will be forced to cancel your order".

I don't sell cakes but if I did, that's what I would say.

Rylan Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 5:18pm
post #7 of 23

Leave a voicemail, "Good morning, I am looking through my schedule and noticed that I have not yet recieved a payment from you. Please give me a call before xx/xx/09 or I will assume that the event is cancelled". If you want to be straight forward just say, "If I don't get any payments before xx/xx/09 I will be forced to cancel your order".

I don't sell cakes but if I did, that's what I would say.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 6:42pm
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenette

First, I don't have time to chase folks down and email/call 3 times to get payment. I hate doing it. Plus, I have bills to pay myself and it is throwing me off for that.

How strict are you all about your deadlines?




You got that right. Not your job. Very strict deadlines. I'm not in this to coddle and remind, and nudge along and say "hi, I kind of sort of, if it's not toooo much trouble, or if you even want to, give me the money you owe on your freaking cake!!"

That's why we have contracts, and saved emails and screenshots of conversations, and calendars and all that to copy and paste and send to them as reminders. One time...maybe twice if they really need it. There comes a time when it's "this is last reminder, and your cake will not made period without final payment. Please refer (again for 8th time bride) to your contract and the due dates."

Deb_ Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 7:05pm
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenette

First, I don't have time to chase folks down and email/call 3 times to get payment. I hate doing it. Plus, I have bills to pay myself and it is throwing me off for that.

How strict are you all about your deadlines?



You got that right. Not your job. Very strict deadlines. I'm not in this to coddle and remind, and nudge along and say "hi, I kind of sort of, if it's not toooo much trouble, or if you even want to, give me the money you owe on your freaking cake!!"

[b]That's why we have contracts,[/b] and saved emails and screenshots of conversations, and calendars and all that to copy and paste and send to them as reminders. One time...maybe twice if they really need it. There comes a time when it's "this is last reminder, and your cake will not made period without final payment. Please refer (again for 8th time bride) to your contract and the due dates."




Ditto to the above. If you have a contract and they don't stick to the terms it's their problem. It's not our job to chase them around.

My final payment is due 30 days before event. On day 29 if I don't have payment in hand they get this e-mail from me...........

I regret to inform you that due to non-payment as per our contract your order is canceled.

They lose their 50% deposit, end of story. I've only had to do this a couple of times.

As Jamie said if you go to the trouble of drawing up a contract then use it and stick to it. This is business. So to answer your question........I'm VERY strict about my deadlines, that's why I have them in place.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 7:10pm
post #10 of 23

That said, dang I love making cakes, and I love the customers who have their shizz together and make what I do FUN!

Sometimes I think I sound like a hag in threads like this, but dang it, those PITAS make it necessary to cover our butts, and be solid as a rock with deadlines and policies.

leah_s Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 7:18pm
post #11 of 23

I'm also quite strict with the payment deadlines, but I almost REQUIRE them to use Paypal. That way they can still make a payment at midnight three weeks prior and still be within the contract terms. I also don't allow changes after three weeks. In the last month I've had two weddings who tried to downsize - nope!

marmalade1687 Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 8:23pm
post #12 of 23

If the couple have to make calls for the final head count, and they are off by say 10 people, then really, how much difference is that going to make in the cake size? I can understand if 70% of their guests have not RSVP'ed, but if that is the case, they should have been calling around much sooner! icon_confused.gif

I am pretty strict in my deadlines too - I nearly canceled a wedding a couple of weeks ago because the bride "forgot" to answer any of my emails or phone calls concerning final payment until I called and told her that I needed it in 24 hours or else syonara baby (sp?)!

Lenette Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 9:39pm
post #13 of 23

Thanks to all of you. Now that I have this biz I am seeing more and more that I am too nice. I really need to toughen up. Sheesh!

Got hold of one couple and told him $$$ by 5 tomorrow. And still nothing from the other. Will send them a final note shortly.

Thanks for letting me know how you handle things! icon_smile.gif

miny Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 10:01pm
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

... those PITAS make it necessary to cover our butts, and be solid as a rock with deadlines and policies.




Stupid question, what is PITAS? It's the 3rd time I see it and I can figure it out icon_confused.gificon_redface.gif

sweetsbystacy Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 10:08pm
post #15 of 23

PITA = Pain in the a**

artscallion Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 10:08pm
post #16 of 23

Pain in the asters

mellee Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 10:09pm
post #17 of 23

PITA means "pain in the a$$." Hee

miny Posted 8 Jun 2009 , 11:59pm
post #18 of 23

Hahaha, no wonder I couldn't figure it out icon_lol.gif I thought it was a culinary or baking term.....boy, was I off!!! icon_redface.gif Thank you for the enlightment. [/b]

sarahcupcake Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 1:57am
post #19 of 23

Oh my goodness I am laughing so hard right now with the PITA thing! I also love the post about not allowing changes to be made three weeks before the date. This is the issue I have trouble with!

Loucinda Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 1:38pm
post #20 of 23

My contract is 30 days before the event, cake must be paid in full. (and no changes to the cake after that date also) Luckily, I have not had a problem YET.

cakesdivine Posted 9 Jun 2009 , 3:06pm
post #21 of 23

Um question...why on earth would there be any deviation to the size of the cake once it is designed and the price set? It isn't like a cake will serve the exact amount of people they request...It is usually either just over or just under their requested servings...most folks do a general rounding by the nearest 10 servings so why would you hold out for guest count? A cake design has X number of servings so regardless of how many people they have in attendance that cake is still going to serve X number of people.

I am with Leah on this, no changes to design, size, within 3 weeks of event, and if there is a change less than 2 months prior I charge a change fee of $25.

Now as far as final payment or any payment actually I only accept payment through paypal or cash. I use paypal as my credit card processor for all 4 of my businesses. I send a email reminder 1 week prior to final due date. If they miss the due date I call to remind the very next day and remind them of the late fee now added to the balance due. If they still don't pay I send them a cancellation of order email informing them that their order has been cancelled due to breech of contract and no refund is available. I have only had to do that once in the last 20 years, and they came up with cash the day they received that email plus the contract reinstatement fee of $50 and the late fee of $25. NO CHECKS EVER! It will always bite you in the butt!

Mabma80 Posted 10 Jun 2009 , 4:51pm
post #22 of 23

It's a business you're tying to create, or are running. You don't order a cake from a high end baker and hear them "ooing and awwing" whether they should be hard on the customer for the payment. You love to decorate cakes, but you are also hoping to make money in the process. It's business not personal. THat's what I always say. ESPECIALLY if there is a contract. Don't be afraid to say, "Hey, you didn't pay me after the deadline I gave you. And I gave you many chances (written/verbal) and no payments." You have to stick to your guns or you'l be considered a "push over".

sweetlayers Posted 12 Jun 2009 , 3:34am
post #23 of 23

Send a google invoice with the subject heading "To Be Paid in Full within 24 Hours".

I've only had to do that once, but it worked. Payment received within 30 minutes!

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