Need A Good Response For Late Payers.

Business By jenmat Updated 29 Jul 2010 , 5:37pm by jenmat

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 6:13pm
post #1 of 17

So I have a bride whose wedding is on 8-21.

I emailed her invoice on July 2, with a due date of July 21. She emailed right back saying basically "thanks, but I have until the 21st to pay this, as states in my contract, so you won't be getting your money until that day." I say, of course you do, but you need the invoice in order to pay it.

Fast forward to today, and you guessed it, I have yet to receive payment. This has begun to happen more frequently (2 other brides this summer.) The contract she signed says "The Client will have a grace period of 2 calendar days-not business days- after the stated payment due date before a late fee of 5% per day late will be assessed."

So far, the brides have paid the late fee with nary a whisper, but since it is happening more frequently, I need a response that is stern, but still friendly, as they haven't committed any felonies. icon_rolleyes.gif

I just know that this bride will give me a bit of trouble, and I don't want to approach it with hostility.

And word-wizards out there want to take a stab at it?
TIA

16 replies
jillmakescakes Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:07pm
post #2 of 17

"Late-paying-bride,

As previously discussed, the final payment for your wedding cake was due on July 21st. As payment has not been received, a late fee of $XX.XX has been assessed, with $xx.XX additional being applied each day thereafter. Payment will need to be made no later than July XX in order for your contract to remain in effect. After July XX, your order will be removed from the schedule without the possibility of reinstatement. Please remember that all deposits are non-refundable.

Sincerely,
ticked-off-baker" icon_smile.gif

By writing as much in the third person as possible, it makes this less of a personal issue and more of a business issue. Notice I never said "I will cancel your cake", but rather, "YOUR cake will be cancelled"

If you'd like to make it more friendly, you could write in more in first person, but I think that might make the bride(s) think that you might be easier to push around.

Doug Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:15pm
post #3 of 17

a little late now, do not have a grace period. Just allows them to string it along as you have experienced.

rather, going forward, future contracts should simply say:

if payment in full is not received by the close of business on the due date: _________, this contract shall be null and void, with all payments made to date forfeited. All payments must be by cash, money order, or bank certified check.

-----

in this case:

Dear (dolt of a bride < don't say that even tho' you want to; just put her first name)

Your final payment in the amount of $xxx was due today by the end of business. As I have not received it, I have to remind you that you have until X:XXPM this Friday to submit your final payment without any penalty.

As per the contract you have signed, beginning this Saturday, and continuing every calendar day thereafter, a 5% late fee will be added on a DAILY basis until the final payment is received. This means that $XXX will be added each day to the cost of your cake.

I hope that you will avoid having to pay a late fee by submitting you payment before X:XXPM this Friday, 23 July. Please remember that payments must be (forms you accept).

I'm looking forward to making this cake and your day special and would hate to have bad feelings over a late payment and the associated late payment fees spoil the joy this cake will bring.

carmijok Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:28pm
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillmakescakes

"Late-paying-bride,

As previously discussed, the final payment for your wedding cake was due on July 21st. As payment has not been received, a late fee of $XX.XX has been assessed, with $xx.XX additional being applied each day thereafter. Payment will need to be made no later than July XX in order for your contract to remain in effect. After July XX, your order will be removed from the schedule without the possibility of reinstatement. Please remember that all deposits are non-refundable.

Sincerely,
ticked-off-baker" icon_smile.gif

By writing as much in the third person as possible, it makes this less of a personal issue and more of a business issue. Notice I never said "I will cancel your cake", but rather, "YOUR cake will be cancelled"

If you'd like to make it more friendly, you could write in more in first person, but I think that might make the bride(s) think that you might be easier to push around.




what she said! Next time in your contract, have this all outlined so you can refer to it if need be.

KHalstead Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:32pm
post #5 of 17

I love the wording jill used, gets right to the point.

In the future I agree with Doug (not a surprise) in that there should be no grace period, the final date for payment IS the final date for payment.

I have a $25/day fee added on for every day the person is late and once they pass the due date I DO apply this fee and at that point only cash is accepted. I allow them up to 7 days (14 days before the wedding) after the due date (that is another $175 added to their bill at that point) for them to pay in cash, once I hit the 2 week mark they have NO CAKE!

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:33pm
post #6 of 17

what she said! Next time in your contract, have this all outlined so you can refer to it if need be.[/quote]

All of this is in my contract- (6 page contract to be exact).

Thanks for the responses. I think it is a great point to make sure to keep it third person. Less emotional.

I think I may adjust my contract to no grace period like you suggested, Doug. No need to bend over backwards, this is business.

cutthecake Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 7:47pm
post #7 of 17

Am I reading this correctly?
The bride has a 2-day grace period before a fee is assessed, but she can string payment along until the wedding day? I don't see where there's a payment deadline (meaning no cake if payment is after this date).

tanstaafl Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:02pm
post #8 of 17

You definitely need to have a cut off date, after which they are removed from your calendar and all payments made are non-refundable.

By having the late payment fee, you are telling them that it is fine if they pay whenever they want, so they will. There was a study mentioned in a book, Freakonomics, which showed that daycares that charged additional fees for late pickups typically had more parents picking up their children late. They felt justified in doing so since they were paying for the time. Same principle applies.

tiggy2 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:06pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecake

Am I reading this correctly?
The bride has a 2-day grace period before a fee is assessed, but she can string payment along until the wedding day? I don't see where there's a payment deadline (meaning no cake if payment is after this date).



Read jills response carefully.

moralna Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:25pm
post #10 of 17

I think that Jill's wording is excellent, but I would add another copy of the contract - or at least the wording that reiterates the late fee per day after the grace period. But you have to add an end date to this where as Jill stated if you do not receive the full payment, late fees and all, her order will be removed from the schedule. If you want folks to respect your contract then so must you.

jenmat Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:29pm
post #11 of 17

thanks guys, the very next clause in the contracts limits the stringing-along to 2 weeks. This is what I sent out...

"Hi late bride~
Hate to have to do this, but as of today, your payment is 5 days late. As your contract states on the first page, item 1.3 "The Client will have a grace period of 2 calendar days -not business days- after the stated payment due date before a late fee of 5% per day late will be assessed."
As per the contract you have signed, a 5% late fee has been added on a DAILY basis until the final payment is received. This means that $16.275 has been and will be added each day to the cost of your cake.
So far, after the grace period, you are 5 days late, which means a 25% total so far. This brings your total to $406.50. It will rise by another 5%, or $16.275 tomorrow.
Please let me know when I can expect the check, as I am eager to order the supplies you will need for your cake and cupcakes.
Thanks.

Then this is what I received...

Jennifer, I'm really sorry about the late payment! I'm getting a bad rap with you with being late for our first appt. from getting lost and now this and I'm usually so organized...I apologize!!

The check was in the mail as of Monday, and I realized the late fee error, so I just made it for 375.00 which is where I estimated it to be at that time with the 2 day grace period. So will I now have to write you another check to pay the difference? It should have came to you today but the people at my office sometimes forget to take the mail at night, and then it sits here for another day. I have mail duty this afternoon, and I know it wasn't there when I took out the mail.


So, at least she recognizes her issue. Now I have to be the bad guy and say, yes, you need to pay it all, and yes, now it will need to be cash...
Sigh, I hate babysitting!

Irish245 Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 8:50pm
post #12 of 17

My contract states the date of final payment (3 weeks before wedding) and if it is not received as of midnight on that date, I can either cancel the contract and keep any money previously deposited or I can choose to go along with the contract if the balance is paid immediately in cash.

I've only had one problem with someone not paying on time. It was a bride and her mother who couldn't decide what they wanted (but had it decided by the time limit of 30 days before the wedding). I sent an invoice 1 month before payment was due and told my husband I just knew they would not be paying on time. Sure enough, right before the mail came on the deadline date, the bride's mother calls me and says, "I just wanted to call and tell you I'm mailing out your check on Monday." I read the contract to her and told her I would need payment by midnight and she started getting nasty and saying she lived 1 1/2 hours away. After trying to be nice, explaining that I had sent the invoice a month previously and that I own a business and have to abide by my own contract, she started getting very nasty and said, "I don't understand why the payment can't be a couple days late!"...so I answered, "Ok, sure your payment can be a couple days late, as long as you understand that your daughter's cake will be delivered a couple days late." She said she would drive the check down....and did. hehehe Maybe not good business but I had had it with her!

indydebi Posted 28 Jul 2010 , 10:34pm
post #13 of 17

No grace period. As you've seen, it just give people the inch they need to take a mile. It's not personal ..... it's business.

I had a client .... high school prom committee that was run by the kids with an adult "advisor". No payment .... no payment. I sent 2 emails reminding her of payment required. I mean, I didn't even have a deposit yet!

About a week or two prior to the event, I get an email asking if they can have 2 kinds of chocolate in the chocolate fountains. I replied.....

"Not at this late date as it takes 4 weeks to order chocolate. BUt that's the least of your problems. Your payment is severely late. If I don't have a check for the full amount in my hands by 5:00 pm tomorrow, Cater IT Simple will not show up at your event."

The advisor brought a check to me the next day.

We cannot permit clients to take us to (as they say in the Geico commercial) "Namby Pamby Land" where we let them run over us and run our business.

And good for you for having a signed contract!!! thumbs_up.gif

KHalstead Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 2:59pm
post #14 of 17

I would respond
"Thank you for acknowledging that payment has been sent, the additional fee required per the contract will need to be paid in full in "cash only" in order to ensure all materials are purchased in time for your cake to be prepared (since checks can require several days to clear before the money is available ). You can bring the additional payment of $XXX.XX in cash to me personally by the close of business on (insert date here), thank you.

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 5:19pm
post #15 of 17

Do most brides make payments on their cakes? I can understand on maybe $1000+ cakes, but anything less, why is that not part of their wedding budget? Even if they are borrowing the money (getting a loan) wouldn't they have the money to pay?

When I got married I had a certain amount of money for the entire event, so when I ordered things I just paid for them. It sounds like a lot of people now are paying as they go, paycheck to paycheck?

Why would you wait until right before the event and then pay interest--how dumb.
icon_confused.gif

Donnagardner Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 5:35pm
post #16 of 17

Payment due BEFORE I start baking......No money......NO CAKE

jenmat Posted 29 Jul 2010 , 5:37pm
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Quote:

"Not at this late date as it takes 4 weeks to order chocolate. BUt that's the least of your problems. Your payment is severely late. If I don't have a check for the full amount in my hands by 5:00 pm tomorrow, Cater IT Simple will not show up at your event."




I have actually used the "you have a problem" thing with one of my other brides, thanks to some other posts from you debi! She tried to respond to my "you're late" email with "we need more cake."
I said, "that is fine, but your problem right now is that you won't have a cake AT ALL if you don't pay me."
I got the payment that day. thumbs_up.gif

I think people right now ARE paying out paycheck to paycheck. Many of my brides are no longer having a budget from their parents and are covering all the costs themselves. While this is great, I do enjoy those that have a fund set aside, however they got it.

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