The last 3 cakes that I have done I have been left waiting for the customer to come pick up the cake..which results in me waiting around for them to pay me. If they dont come get the cake then I am out the money.
My husband said that I needed to start telling people that I need the money up front before I make the cake.
I can see taking a deposit on wedding cakes and larger cakes.
I am starting to see his point.
So as a baker, home baker, hobbist, when do you collect your $$$? The cake I made last night, last minute, is $80. Now I am here waiting for the lady to come and get the cake.
At LEAST 50% down to know they are serious
Paid or not, I set a time window for pick up. If they are not there inside that window, I don't wait around.
Any pick up cake over $100 required a 50% deposit with balance due at pickup. I'd give them a pick up time, like between 10:00 and 12:00. At 12:01, I lock the door and go home. Yeah, I have a cake in my shop, but they are out the deposit AND they dont' have a cake for their event. And trust me .... if they've laid out a $100 deposit, they are NOT going to "forget" to pick up the cake!
Any cake I delivered (I didn't deliver any sheet cakes, so this was wedding cakes) required a deposit to put it on the calendar and the balance 2 weeks prior to turn on my oven.
Even on last minute order, they PREpay via paypal right on my website. Money'[s in my account before I turn on the oven.
Thank you ladies. My husband suggested a 30% deposit that is non refundable to help cover my costs of making the cake. I am undercharging as it is. I thought my prices were pretty good but after calculating the time I spend on the cakes (I am a slow decorator) I realized that I dont charge nearly enough and I have the "This is my last cake" syndrome.
In my dealings I always make customers aware that payment is due at time of pickup and I email a few days before etc..unless it is a big order and then I require 50% down..In the 9 years I have been doing cakes I have only had 1 customer cancel a cake 2 days before and left me hanging with a cake and out ingredient money..I donated that cake to the school ...she was also the same customer who came to pickup a cake and told me she forgot her chequebook and grabbed the cake and said I'll pay you later...WTF Needless to say it took me 3 weeks to hunt her down by email to get my money and she is no longer a cake customer ....I have never not had anyone not show up etc...I realize this doesn't work for everyone but it works for me...Do what works for you.
My policy is the cake, regardless of the size or price, is paid in full at least 2 weeks before pickup/delivery. If they order it less than 2 weeks before it's due, paid in full upon order. No one has ever even questioned that policy.
The cakes have always been picked up, it's just the time I wait around. I have some people that are VERY good about coming when they say. Then I have others that are 2hrs late. I just hate the waiting the game because then I am wondering "What if they dont show up?, I'm out that money, I could have been doing something else".
But I will start asking for a deposit. I can not do a $80 cake and then be out the money.
Anything over $100 and payment is due before oven gets turned on, they wait too long, no cake
Anything under $100 they can pay upon delivery/pick up and they're given a window of 2 hrs. for pick ups.....you don't pick up, no cake........ever without prepayment (I put their name down and I don't sell them cakes without payment in full regardless of price.......sounds rough I know)
The cakes have always been picked up, ....
That's not the point. The point is their inconsideration and the assumption that you "never close" and they can come by just any dang time they feel like it.
Let me repeat my story of the shower cake:
Me: What time on Saturday do you want to pick it up?
Them: The shower isn't until Sunday.
Me: I'm not open on Sunday. What timeon Saturday do you want to pick it up?
Them: Gosh, I don't know if it will fit in my refrigerator.
Me: It doesnt' need refrigerated. What time on Saturday do you want to pick it up? I'm open until 3:00.
Them: Can it just sit on my counter?
Me: Your counter .... my counter .... makes no difference to the cake. What time on Saturday do you want to pick it up?
And I guarantee you that come 3:00 and that cake was still sitting there? I would have closed and gone home. I'll also guarantee you that if I have a doctor or dental appt at 4:30, that the doctor or dentist is NOT going to wait around until 6:30 to see if I show up.
YOu can start putting this into your policy by telling them, "Pick ups are between 10 and noon. I have other things to do that day so if you're not here by 12:15, I am leaving and you wont' have a cake. Do you understand that ok? No show .... no waiting ... no cake .... no refund. Period."
Thank you so much for your posts! I have been wondering about deposits and payments. I'm revamping my policy now. Thanks again!
for the 50 millionth time
I get 50% up front with a minimum of $300 at time of booking (so if cake is under $301 I get it all upfront)
Balance due 2 weeks (14 days) prior to event. If I deliver there is a fee of $1 per mile (so if they are 20 miles away I get $40) I have a minimum of $35 on delivery.
If you have a tiered cake, with the exception of my econoline wedding cakes, you must have it delivered. All other cakes can be picked up for no additional cost.
I do not accept checks or money orders. I only accept credit cards, paypal, and cold hard CASH!...LOL!
Regarless of the price of the cake. 50% at time of ordering and ballance due 2wks before delivery or pick up. 3hr window in the am for pick up. If they don't pick up...I don't wait around. My time is valuable.....just like thiers, harsh but exprience has let me to this.
I'm lucky if I get 5 days notice on most of my cake orders........so for me about 90% of my orders are paid upon delivery (since they are less than $100), if you're getting burned start requiring payment upfront and let them know the pickup time and if they don't come, they get no cake and no reimbursement!
Any order less than $100 is due in full to reserve the date. For party cakes over $100 I require a 50% non-refundable deposit and then the remainder is due at time of pick-up or delivery.
Wedding cakes require a 50% non-refundable deposit and the rest is 30 days before the reception.
I give people a time frame for pick-ups and make a point of telling them that I have other appointments and if they are not on time to get their cake they will be out of luck.