I just run my business(if you want to call it that lol) out my home so I am not relaly a business savvy person. Do you make clients pay for their cakes when they order them? Or do you make them pay half and then the other half at pickup/delivery time? Or do you let them pay all of it at pickup/delivery time? Just curious what everybody else out there is doing! Thanks!
I picked a dollar level of $75. Anything under $75 could be paid in full at time of pickup. Anything over $75 required a 50% deposit with final payment due at time of pickup.
Wedding cakes had to be paid in full 2 weeks prior.
Commercial clients (businesses) had to give me a company credit card or issue a check in advance. I had a SHORT list of commercial clients who I permitted to be on Accounts Receivable, meaning I rec'd a 50% payment up front and the other 50% would be sent to me from their accounting dept within 30 days from delivery. (Like I said .... this was a SHORT list of catering clients!)
You'll get lots of ideas and suggestions, but bottom line is you pick a method that works best for you and how you choose to operate.
I get a deposit on all of my cakes. For all occasion cakes the deposit holds the date and the balance is due a week before delivery or if its not much of a balance I have taken it at the time of delivery. Wedding cakes always a deposit and the balance is due 3 weeks prior.
cake orders under $100 require full payment at time of order. orders over $100 require 50% deposit at time of placing order with the balance due 2 wks prior to delivery and 3 wks for wedding cakes. signed contracts are required for ALL orders.
Payment in advance three weeks before or the oven doesn't get turned on. If it was a last-minute order and I still felt like doing it, I'd require payment in cash in advance, no bouncy bouncy checks, thank you very much.
33% deposit at time of order, paid in full two weeks before cake is to be delivered.
Short notice orders, paid in full cash or money order.
Payment in advanced. That way you won't loose money for those who never
pick their cakes up or those who change their minds.
I learned the hard way, when I got stuck with cakes that were never picked up. Full payment for all cakes under $100 and 50% deposit for cakes over $100, with balance paid at least 1 week before the event.
I have only run into two customers that said, I don't want to pay upfront and I kindly told them that is my policy.
Thanks so much for the advice ladies! I am going to give it a try with clients paying 50% at the time of the order and then the other 50% at pickup/delivery time. I am just worried lately that with the economy like it is that people won't show up to get their cakes. Thanks again!
I dunno, I think with the economy most people aren't going to leave you with a deposit and not pick up their cake. haha.
I have a more "risky" method than some but so far its worked great.
I take a $50 deposit to reserve the date and the rest is either payable 10 days in advance (if a delivery) or in cash when they pick it up (or can pay online before pickup if they want to use plastic).
I always confirm the cake the week in advance too. Ever since I started doing deposits several years ago, I've never had anyone stand me up, and I've only had two people back out (before I made the cake) due to problems and I kept the deposit.
So its worked for me, I guess, so far! I chose the $50 deposit so that it would not "break" the customer if something did come up and cause them to have to cancel. I realize part of that is to atone for any orders you have to turn down on their account...but its okay for now.
I require payment in advance via PayPal. I give the client 48 hours to make the payment, during which time I will not give up their date to another customer. Since I started this, I haven't had any problems with payment.
This policy has evolved over the last couple of years. When I first started, I accepted payment upon delivery, but after I had to chase payments down from customers several times, I went to the advance payment via PayPal system. I had to institute the 48-hour rule when several customers didn't pay their bills after a week or more, and didn't tell me they had changed their minds about ordering from me until I called them to remind them to pay.
I don't do wedding cakes, so my cake orders generally are not very high-dollar, which is why I do not do deposits.
All cakes under $399 must be paid for in full prior to delivery. Anything over, a deposit of $300 or 50% of the order whichever is higher when they order then balance due 2 weeks prior to event. No exceptions. And I do not accept checks. Cash or Credit cards only.
I too learned the HARD way. Payment in advance for small events (under 150.00) wedding cakes/large events 50% deposit remaining 50% due 1 month prior to event. Equipment deposit also due with final payment.
50% down at order and 50% at delivery is a good practice. Also, determine if they cancel what if any you will refund and put in writing on your invoice at order. This may depend on when they cancel (i.e. 3 days or less before delivery which is likely you have purchased items and began making sugar paste flowers.).
Do what's right for you.