Getting A Contract Before The Sketch???

Business By BuncoHappens Updated 4 Feb 2010 , 2:47am by BuncoHappens

BuncoHappens Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 5:27pm
post #1 of 18

Currently I'm not doing things in the right order and I know one day I'll get stuck! I have a few contracts now but I didn't get them until I did sketch after sketch and the tasting.

I have a bride that I'm working with now and I've already done 5 sketches and we've scheduled a tasting for next week. Still no contract! But...how can I expect a contract from someone who hasn't seen a sketch of what she'll get? What should come first......tasting?

Obviously I'm very new to actually selling my cakes. I got a call from a bride today and she is not exactly sure what she wants as far as a design. What is my next step??

Thanks so much for any advice!!

17 replies
arosstx Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 5:44pm
post #2 of 18

I sketch AT the tasting, while we are talking. Just a rough one, not super detailed. It gives them an idea without you having to spend SO much of your time drawing and drawing.

And the sketch (a copy) leaves with the person only AFTER they book the cake. None of this, "can I have the drawing to show ________?"

loriemoms Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 6:29pm
post #3 of 18

I think I am wierd, but at the tasting we talk about the theme of the wedding, what the bride is interested in doing, what shapes she likes, colors, general stuff. I tell them the tasting is for them to taste the cake, get to know each other, and such. I do go over what Extras cost and about delivery and rental items. The contract doesnt have a price in it, it has a clause about seeing attachment and the attachment is the invoice that is drawn up for the base price or if the bride said she wants fondant, etc, that added. Once they book, they come back for a second consultation and then we go over design, more detail on the prices, and such. The invoice is then updated. This gives the bride a chance to look around at photos and ideas. Most of my brides book a year to 6 months before the wedding and have NO idea what they want in a cake So they seem happy with the way this is done. No pressure. I used to try to get a design at the tastings, but really a lot of brides just don't know yet. I have some that walk in with a photo and we are all set, but most not.

I would NEVER give a bride a drawing without a contract and deposit.

leah_s Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 6:51pm
post #4 of 18

2 meetings? No way. Design consultation, is one hour, I fill out my information form, make sketches, they pick one out, they eat cake, I review the invoice, they like it they sign a contract. Done. Next.

thecakemaker Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:12pm
post #5 of 18

I'm with leah_ on this one.

I'll send them my contract and base prices prior for them to review and decide if they're interested in meeting with me. They give me an idea of what they're looking style and size wise sometimes sending me pictures. We meet and taste and go over everything - draw it up and sign.

mommabuda Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:35pm
post #6 of 18

I agree with leah_s... one hour tops and if they can't figure it out in that time, they can go somewhere else... lol... well, maybe a little longer sometimes. I normally don't have to do tastings but if I did, they would be offered during that hour. I don't feel like I should get to know the bride or have them get to know me... if I had to explain how I charged, it would take at least the full hour and they would be so flipping confused by the end of it, they wouldn't remember a darn thing anyways. Just get colors, theme, general idea, flowers & how many to serve then go from there.

loriemoms Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:45pm
post #7 of 18

Like I said, a lot of people wouldn't want to do it my way. I like it. I get to know what is in the brides head, helps me design a cake she loves. My tastings are 20 minutes long, second meeting is sometimes about that time. Some of them even do it through email. They like coming back, they feel special. Not like they are in some sort of cake factory. But again, its not for everyone.

jammjenks Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:51pm
post #8 of 18

Not once have I ever sketched a cake for a bride.

Tastings usually take about 40 minutes. I tell them on the phone/email to bring a picture with them if they know what they'd like it to look like. Most of them bring a pic, some of them pick one from my website.

cakesbycathy Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 8:08pm
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

2 meetings? No way. Design consultation, is one hour, I fill out my information form, make sketches, they pick one out, they eat cake, I review the invoice, they like it they sign a contract. Done. Next.




That's how I do it. icon_smile.gif

I've only had one tasting appointment with a bride where we didn't finalize the design. But her wedding was a year from then, so there was plenty of time to work out the design for the cake.

I also do not give out sketches until I have a deposit. A 50% non-refundable deposit.

kellertur Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 8:16pm
post #10 of 18

~ I made that mistake once, never again...but I was lucky. The local baker she took MY design too recogized my style/sculptural work I do and called me. She refused to make the cake. It's refreshing to know not everyone is cutthroat in business. The bride later called me but I said I was "unavailable". icon_wink.gif
To quote the old tv show In Living Color:
"Homey don't play that game..." icon_biggrin.gif

cgm_cakes Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 8:38pm
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuncoHappens

Currently I'm not doing things in the right order and I know one day I'll get stuck! I have a few contracts now but I didn't get them until I did sketch after sketch and the tasting.

I have a bride that I'm working with now and I've already done 5 sketches and we've scheduled a tasting for next week. Still no contract! But...how can I expect a contract from someone who hasn't seen a sketch of what she'll get? What should come first......tasting?

Obviously I'm very new to actually selling my cakes. I got a call from a bride today and she is not exactly sure what she wants as far as a design. What is my next step??

Thanks so much for any advice!!





Hi. First I want to say I looked at your pics and love your fondant work. Everything is so colorful. icon_smile.gif

You definitely want to get some time control in. IMO, it's ok to give some basic pricing structure information ahead of time, but don't give out your sketches until you sit down for a consult. Explain to the bride you like to discuss the wedding in person, get to know her and her personality, vision, etc. so you can come up with some ideas together. It's always easier if they can bring examples of things they like with them. By the end of the consult you may not have all the fine details down, but enough to come up with a base price to sign a contract and final details can be worked out later. I think most of the time you can cover everything you need in one meeting. Charge $25 for the consult and tasting, deducting that from the total the bride owes you if she books with you. That way if brides don't book with you, at least you're being compensated for your time.

Good luck in whatever works to grow your business the way you want it to.

CakeForte Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 8:56pm
post #12 of 18

No "extras" or "special work" until you have a deposit/ contract. You make all of those sketches and she will take it to someone else.

loriemoms Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 10:07pm
post #13 of 18

before you charge for your tasting, please make sure you check out the local tax laws in your state. in our county, we have to charge a higher tax rate if the consumer eats the product while on our premises (that is, uses a fork to consume it rather then take it away in a box) I know, sounds wierd!

btw, I have a lot of people bring me captures from other web sites of cakes and I understand they bring other bakeries captures from my web site. (thus I watermark them) I asked one of the other bakeries one time if I could use his design and he said "Sure...afterall, I stold it from someone else!" hahaha! Sketches though are another story. All my sketches do have my name, my business name and phone number on them. I highly recommend it.

Tellis12 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 10:21pm
post #14 of 18

I schedule a tasting after the bride has seen my website, which contains my base prices. I always ask them to bring photos and ideas of what they like. At the tasting we talk about what she likes in each of the pictures she brings, what kind of feel she's going for, ect. I don't sketch because my sketching skills are completely nil. Half the time brides book after the tasting, not at. Personally I wouldn't put that much work into it until the bride has actually signed the contract. I've had a few not book, one after I met with them, went home and looked up a bunch of things to give her a quote and then I never heard back from her.

loriemoms Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 1:36pm
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tellis12

I schedule a tasting after the bride has seen my website, which contains my base prices. I always ask them to bring photos and ideas of what they like. At the tasting we talk about what she likes in each of the pictures she brings, what kind of feel she's going for, ect. I don't sketch because my sketching skills are completely nil. Half the time brides book after the tasting, not at. Personally I wouldn't put that much work into it until the bride has actually signed the contract. I've had a few not book, one after I met with them, went home and looked up a bunch of things to give her a quote and then I never heard back from her.




That is kind of why I don't do everything the first time. I have a few brides who book at the tasting, but many go home, think about it, then send everything in. especially these days, brides are taking a longer time to decide. I hear that from every vendor in this industry! I know it takes more time, but man the brides get SO excited about coming back in and just talking design. Especially when the wedding is just a few months away. A year before, they are more into "Gotta get things booked" mode.

PinkZiab Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 5:29pm
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

2 meetings? No way. Design consultation, is one hour, I fill out my information form, make sketches, they pick one out, they eat cake, I review the invoice, they like it they sign a contract. Done. Next.




Ditto... it's a one-shot deal for me, bing bang boom, we're done. If they want another session, they are going to have to pay my hourly rate (which they would NOT want to do--I'm expensive lol). I've never had to have more than one meeting with any client.

Tellis12 Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 5:33pm
post #17 of 18

One thing I'll just point out is that the more tastings you do the more you'll know what works best for you. I've only had a few tastings and I've already learned a ton of thing to do/not do.

BuncoHappens Posted 4 Feb 2010 , 2:47am
post #18 of 18

Thanks for the advice. Now I have something to go on and make a plan!

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