How do you do it?
When the bride doesn't pay by the contractual balance do date, what do you do?
Do you send out a payment reminder 7, 5 or 3 days before balance is due?
I'd love to hear how others handle this.
As a courtesy, I send an email 7 days prior to the payment deadline as a reminder. In that email I take the chance to reiterate what my contract says will happen if I haven't received payment by that date:
The remainder of the total price shall be due three weeks (21 days) before the event. Payment may be made by cash, money order, or PayPal. If payment is not received three weeks in advance of the event, this contract will be null and void. This means that your order will be cancelled and no cake will be made.
In my opinion, you have to consistently enforce whatever your contract says, or it's basically worthless.
So have you had a bride contact you 2 or 3 days later wanting to pay and you sent her away?
So far, I have not had any bride pay late because we discuss the strictness of the payment deadlines from the very beginning. If I had a bride who contacted me after the deadline and didn't have an extraordinary circumstance, I would be inclined to enforce my contract. In my opinion, if I'm not going to enforce the payment deadlines, why have them?
I send an email 7 days before the due date to politely remind them that their payment of $X is due on whatever the date is. I always recommend that if they are mailing the check they do so the next day to ensure it arrives on time.
I always stress when they sign the contract how important it is that they pay on time and that they will not have a cake if they don't. I would be prepared to enforce your contract if you don't receive payment in time. You can bet that the other vendors are. Plus, what's the point of even having one if you aren't going to enforce it.
Thanks for the replies. I'm not having a problem enforcing anything; I just wanted to hear how others handle the situation.
I send the reminder email 7-14 days before the payment is due as well. If it is not received by 2-3 days past the due date I send another email stating that it is past due. A day or two after that, I call. My contract says final is due 1 month before wedding and that I can cancel the order 14 days prior if no payment is rec'd. I VERY rarely have someone get to this point and it is almost always totally innocent. I will not cancel orders if brides are communicating.
I require full payment 14 days before the event. If I don't have it I contact them and let them know that they'll need to pay me in cash if they still want the cake. You shouldn't accept a check at that point because if it bounces you probably won't know until after you deliver the cake.
In my contract it says that payment is due 3 weeks before, and that I can stop work at that point if payment hasn't been made. BUT...there's a 5 day grace period where they can pay if they also pay a $25 late fee. I just had a bride who was 5 days late on her payment, so I emailed her to confirm and added the late fee to the balance due. She paid it and said that she thought the balance was due when the cake was delivered. (even though she signed the contract and I send out balance due statements 6 weeks before the event.)