Hounding Down People To Get Their Balance Paid

Business By KellyJo3 Updated 20 Apr 2011 , 1:29pm by JohnnyCakes1966

KellyJo3 Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:08pm
post #1 of 16

I was just wondering if anyone has had this same problem as much as I have lately. I clearly post on my website that balances for cakes under 100.00 are due at the time their orders are finalized and over 100.00 a 50% deposit is made when the order is finalized and the remaining balance is due at least a week prior to their event. (Wedding cake balances are earlier) It also states in bold red lettering that we will not start on their cake until their balance is paid so be sure to check their orders to see when their balances are due otherwise their order will be voided. I also let them know in their orders all of this info. I do not store many products at home, I buy items per cake and I do not want to spend my own money in case they cancel or something. (Which they have up to a week prior to cancel) I am still having a hard time getting people to pay their balances. I have a credit card machine that I can do over the phone and I'm open all week. I feel like I am constantly hounding down people for payments. I was hoping someone had some tips or advice they could give me on this subject, as I can get too busy at times that I don't want to have to always be calling or writing these customers to get paid. Thanks ahead of time! : )

15 replies
AmysCakesNCandies Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:15pm
post #2 of 16

I have it in my contract where i will fill in the payment due date (1 week before the event) and there is a clause that late payments will incur a $25 fee. The only exception to this is that I accept cash on delivery for smaller cake orders, but it must be discussed ahead of time

Then 1 week before payment is due I send an email reminder with thier due date, balance, payment instructions, and a snippet of the contract with the late fee clause.

For the most part this works very well for me, I have recieved a few payments a day or two late, but nothing major that has caused me trouble.

Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:19pm
post #3 of 16

Unfortunately people..the public are very un-cooperative and un-sympathetic to others needs.They forget,don't care,leave it to the last minute etc...I give my customers a final email a week or so whenever the final balance is due and if they don't pay up..I don't make the cake!! Be firm..You may end up with cakes un paid but you have to set the rules and abide by them.The problem I see is you are teaching your customers how to treat you by allowing late payments etc..They know you will call.email etc...No longer do that.Like I said before..You may end up with a few cakes made but eventually they will figure it out that when they come to pickup their cake and there is NO CAKE...they will get the picture real quick!!

costumeczar Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 5:45pm
post #4 of 16

So true...You can't let people pay late or they'll never pay on time.

If you do a lot of cakes that are under $200 I'd just go ahead and change the payment policy to payment in full by three weeks before, and tell them that a late fee will be added if the payment postmark is less than three weeks before the cake is needed. That will give you time to send them one email saying that since they haven't paid, you're assuming that they don't need a cake at all, and you don't have them on your calendar.

They'll either not respond or they'll jump into action and pay you. If they do try to pay a week ahead of time you'll have to decide whether to take the job or not, but I'd add a late fee on top of the original payment.

cakesdivine Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 7:48pm
post #5 of 16

Simply send them an email or voice mail stating their order is cancelled due to nonpayment and deposit is forfeit. You would be surprised how quickly they get in touch if they do want the cake.

KellyJo3 Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 9:23pm
post #6 of 16

Great ideas! Thank you so much, I will be charging a late payment fee for sure. That will hopefully get the ball rolling! : )

tryingcake Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 11:04pm
post #7 of 16

My contract states 50% (nonrefundable) down to reserve the date and final payment due three full weeks before delivery on wedding cakes. I also clearly state that I will not chase them down for the final payment. I will send them 1 and only 1 reminder about a week before final payment is due and then the contract is null and void after that. Once, I had a final payment show up four days before the wedding, I politely mailed it back to her and kept the deposit.

My contractors/vendors don't play with me.. why am I expected to treat my customers any differently?

I have given deposit refunds, many of them (even though it's not written in writing any where that I will). But I do not give them in these circumstances. No way. Why is your inability to read a calendar my problem? And why should your lack of planning be my emergency?

nikkigonzalez Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 11:01pm
post #8 of 16

I do something similar. If the cake is $100 or less they have up until the day I am scheduled to start baking it to pay. If it is over $100 they have so many weeks before to pay, depending on the price. I simply will not start baking their cake if they have not paid. I send reminders thru email or telephone. I have not had an issue with late payment yet but if I had a customer who was hard to get a payment from, I would just not hassle with it and move on. If you allow customers to take control of when payment is due you will only have a ton of customers who know you as the baker who lets things slide because people talk and word gets around. I would rather lose one customer then to have 10 of them that do not respect me enough to make their payments.

tryingcake Posted 1 Apr 2011 , 1:26am
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkigonzalez

I do something similar. If the cake is $100 or less they have up until the day I am scheduled to start baking it to pay. If it is over $100 they have so many weeks before to pay, depending on the price. I simply will not start baking their cake if they have not paid. I send reminders thru email or telephone. I have not had an issue with late payment yet but if I had a customer who was hard to get a payment from, I would just not hassle with it and move on. If you allow customers to take control of when payment is due you will only have a ton of customers who know you as the baker who lets things slide because people talk and word gets around. I would rather lose one customer then to have 10 of them that do not respect me enough to make their payments.




Ditto!! thumbs_up.gif

I actually did a no show for a cake order once because I had not gotten final payment. Someone called wanting to know where the cake was? I said, in my cabinet unbaked. Where's was the payment on "such-and-such" date? I won't argue, I just walk on.

KMKakes Posted 3 Apr 2011 , 3:30pm
post #10 of 16

WoW! Enlightening. It is time for me to make some changes.

CakeForte Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 6:01pm
post #11 of 16

I had a client not pay for her cake was....and lo and behold, she didn't come to pick it up either. They know your rules, so stick to them. No money = no cake!

costumeczar Posted 19 Apr 2011 , 6:05pm
post #12 of 16

I just had a bride last week who didn't pay me for her wedding cake by a week before. She didn't respond to an email and a phone call, so she got no cake. It does happen.

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:31am
post #13 of 16

Costumeczar, did she ever contact you to find out why she didn't get her cake?

cheatize Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:50am
post #14 of 16

I look at it this way: If you are old enough to enter a legally binding contract, you are old enough that a "mom" should not be needed to nag. One reminder and then no cake. Adults conducting business with each other. Period.

costumeczar Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 12:32pm
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Costumeczar, did she ever contact you to find out why she didn't get her cake?




Nope. I emailed the mother of the groom first, since she had been the person who contacted me. I told her that since the payment was two weeks overdue I would need it in cash by the next day or I wouldn't be making the cake. Didn't hear back from her, so I contacted the person who was in charge of the reception hall. She said that the MOB had spoken to her the precious Saturday and assured her that the money for the hall, which was also overdue, would be paid that day, but that she'd never shown up. Based on that we figured that they'd cancelled the wedding or just hadn't planned to pay anybody.

She gave me the MOB's phone number and I called and left a message that said that since the payment was overdue, I was cancelling the cake based on the contract they had signed. I got no response, so too bad. If they had called and asked where the cake was I would have told them that they hadn't paid and had forfeited on their contract, but I doubted that they'd call since the hall hadn't been paid for either.

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 20 Apr 2011 , 1:29pm
post #16 of 16

I don't have a "late payment" policy. I think that gives a client the impression that they don't HAVE to pay me on time. They DO, and my contract is very clear about that. It states the specific date when the final payment is due; that I will send ONE reminder by email (and also by phone if they prefer, but I ALWAYS send an email to have a "paper trail") 1 1/2 weeks before the payment is due; and that if payment is not received ON TIME the contract is voided and the order will not be filled. That's one of the things on the contract I have them initial so there is no misunderstanding. Other than that, I don't chase after people. I'm being paid to bake a cake, not to babysit!

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