For Those Of You Who Offer Estimates..

Business By Navyempress Updated 28 Nov 2010 , 9:58am by de_montsoreau

Navyempress Posted 27 Nov 2010 , 8:41am
post #1 of 12

How do you go about actually getting the contract signed and order placed?

So my "plan" was to go over my contract during the consultation so if they decided to book with me they would already know my policies, how I operate, yadda yadda, and then send them home with an estimate good for 2 weeks. I still plan on doing the estimate, but now I am wondering if they do decide a week later to go with me, what is the best way to get contract signed? Through the mail? Have them come back and do it in person? On the net? I am a little worried that I may not have the time to wait around for them to come back and sign the contract and get their paperwork.

I plan to provide a nice folder with copies of the order form, invoice, contract, business card, etc. and only want to give it to them after they are booked because if they do not go with me, it will just be a waste of money.

Do you ever have trouble getting the signed contract into your hands after the consultation is over?

11 replies
indydebi Posted 27 Nov 2010 , 9:07am
post #2 of 12

Nope. Not when part of the contract reads "your event is not placed on our calendar until a deposit and a signed contract is received. Both items must be received before the event is considered booked."

I would accept a hand delivered copy; a mailed copy; or even an emailed (scanned) copy.

I would actually send my contract to them in the initial consultation confirmation email, so they could print out a copy and bring it with them if they wanted. Understand that my contract is a contract ... its not an order form. Those were two separate documents. So the most that ever needed filled out was name and wedding date, plus the "initial here" parts. All of the contact info was on my order forms and the last line of my contract read "This document, along with the order forms, constitutes the full contract."

Navyempress Posted 27 Nov 2010 , 8:07pm
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Nope. Not when part of the contract reads "your event is not placed on our calendar until a deposit and a signed contract is received. Both items must be received before the event is considered booked."

I would accept a hand delivered copy; a mailed copy; or even an emailed (scanned) copy.

I would actually send my contract to them in the initial consultation confirmation email, so they could print out a copy and bring it with them if they wanted. Understand that my contract is a contract ... its not an order form. Those were two separate documents. So the most that ever needed filled out was name and wedding date, plus the "initial here" parts. All of the contact info was on my order forms and the last line of my contract read "This document, along with the order forms, constitutes the full contract."




Great, thanks for the reply! You sure were up late last night. Another question, if you don't mind? Which delivery method did you find your clients used most often?

I am also trying to figure out the best way to get copies of everything back to my brides..

indydebi Posted 27 Nov 2010 , 10:06pm
post #4 of 12

I probably had more mailed than anything.

(I work the 11pm to 7am shift at a hotel .... so I was "supposed" to be working! icon_redface.gificon_rolleyes.gif )

jillmakescakes Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 2:04am
post #5 of 12

don't you know, Debi is actually a cake robot that never sleeps icon_lol.gif

I do send a copy of the contract with my brides after the tasting. I don't have a problem getting them back, although sometimes they do forget so we have to fill out a new one. I'd say its pretty even between mail, email and hand delivery.

cakegirl1973 Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 3:03am
post #6 of 12

I always give them a completed contract to take with them from the tasting. Just like IndyDebi, the contract clearly states that their event is not booked on my baking schedule until I receive a signed contract and the deposit. I don't do order forms. The contract includes a description of the cake design. Haven't had it happen yet, but if they want to change the design, we'd amend the contract.

Some folks sign the contract and make the deposit at the consult, some folks mail it to me, and some folks I don't hear from again after the consult. I like your idea of putting a folder togther--maybe buy the folders in bulk from an office supply store to keep costs down. Good luck and have fun! icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 3:16am
post #7 of 12

I give them the contract, and tell them that until they have sent it back to me signed and with a deposit, and THEN GET A COPY BACK FROM ME WITH MY SIGNATURE ON IT, they're not booked. Don't forget that, because sometimes they send the contract back to me with a deposit but the contract isn't signed. If that happens I email them a copy of the contract and tell them to sign it and return it, and I hold the deposit until I get it back. I don't cash the check until I have their signature on the contract.

I've also had people mail contracts back that then got lost in the mail, so they email me and say "I haven't received the contract back yet" and we have to figure it out from there. If they think that sending the contract back to you is all they need to do it can cause some problems if something goes wrong!

Navyempress Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 3:29am
post #8 of 12

Thanks guys. I found some metallic folders on Amazon that match my colors perfectly and have been stocking up on those. I guess I can give folders out to the ones that book with me at the consult and then once I get the signed contract from the others I can put the folder together and mail it to them.

The folders will have a lot of stuff in them: contract, invoice, order forms, sketch, business cards, and if I "make nice" with other vendors I will put their cards and flyers in there as well.

I am definitely excited! We have been waiting so long to get out of California and I have been in school for the past 3 years taking baking and pastry, business, web design, and accounting classes to get ready. We start looking at houses next month in Virginia!

cakegirl1973 Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 3:33am
post #9 of 12

I always give them a completed contract to take with them from the tasting. Just like IndyDebi, the contract clearly states that their event is not booked on my baking schedule until I receive a signed contract and the deposit. I don't do order forms. The contract includes a description of the cake design. Haven't had it happen yet, but if they want to change the design, we'd amend the contract.

Some folks sign the contract and make the deposit at the consult, some folks mail it to me, and some folks I don't hear from again after the consult. I like your idea of putting a folder togther--maybe buy the folders in bulk from an office supply store to keep costs down. Good luck and have fun! icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 3:54am
post #10 of 12

Navyempress -

I like the idea of providing an estimate that is good for only 2 weeks. It gives the customer the incentive to book sooner, in case prices go up.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Navyempress Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 6:44am
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Navyempress -

I like the idea of providing an estimate that is good for only 2 weeks. It gives the customer the incentive to book sooner, in case prices go up.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




This was a recommendation from one of my business class professors. He said that even though there is a good chance that I wouldn't change my prices after only 2 weeks, it shows the clients that I "mean business" so to speak. I guess if people think there is a time limit on something (like with coupons) they are more likely to use it right away instead of putting it off. We'll see if it actually makes a difference or not.

de_montsoreau Posted 28 Nov 2010 , 9:58am
post #12 of 12

I do the whole thing slightly differently. As I usually visit the couples in their home for the consult. I give them a rough estimate at the end of the consult and promise them an e-mail 1-2 days later. At home, I do my calculations, type a detailed fact sheet with all info on it and send the contract and the fact sheet as pdf with my scanned in signature plus a nice text and any other infos and links they might need per e-mail. My offers are also good for 2 weeks only. The couple then has the choice to either scan and e-mail or send the contract per mail, happens about 50/50, only very occaissionally somebody will drop by personally. Works like a charm for me.

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