I was just wondering, when some of you do wedding cakes, do you rent out or loan your display (stands or etc) - or do you include that cost in the cake order and leave it with the customer? I am just not sure how to go about this the right way if I get into wedding cakes more seriously. I am also afraid of not getting my equipment back if I am loaning it out. Usually I just use the cake boards and dowels but when I think abut using the more expensive sps supplies - the cost goes up quite a bit.
Any suggestions or tips on how some of you handle this?
If you make them pay a refundable deposit for renting the equipment, they'll be sure to return it to you after their event.
There are multiple components to my answer so I'll try to be as clear as possible.
1) I use SPS exclusively. I consider the SPS plates and pillars for each cake disposable and build the cost into my prices.
2) I charge a rental fee for non-disposable equipment like stands, etc. The rental fee is equal to roughly 1/3 of the purchase price.
3) I also require an equipment deposit in the amount of the full replacement cost of all rented equipment. The customer gets this back if they return all equipment to me in its original condition.
I have the same policies for occasion cakes as well.
Hope this helps!
I build the cost of SPS into the order price. It really isn't that expensive, so I have never had anyone complain.
Thank you all very much for the tips!! Now for the next question... and this may require a new thread but perhaps some of you more experienced business people can help me...
Do you guys accept personal checks? I am really not comfortabe doing this but I have no idea how to begin enforcing this rule without sounding like a mean jerk who is making customer's lives difficult or inconvenient. The thing is, some people will write bad checks... and I don't feel like taking a bath on a big order. Or ANY size order for that matter...
If you must accept checks, just make sure that you recieve the check 10 days or more before the cake is actually due. This will give it time to clear the bank to ensure that you have the money before they recieve the cake.
We've always accepted personal checks...out of 700+ orders we've had 4 bad checks, 3 of which were paid for by the customer plus the NSF fee, since those bad checks were simply mistakes. We were only unable to collect on one $60 order (one of our first orders actually).
I only accept personal checks and cash (small, legal home business). I have never had a bad check but I do require final payment 30 days before the event so if the check is bad I know well in advance.
Now, there are times when a client orders a cake less than 30 in advance. I still take personal checks because 1) I haven't had any problems yet and 2) most orders placed less than 30 days in advance are small orders (not wedding cakes) and bouncing a check on a $65 order is a slim chance.
You could accept personal checks for orders paid more than X amount of days before the event (ask your bank how long it takes a check to clear and that is your X value). Orders placed less than X amount of days before the event must be paid in cash. Just make sure at the time or ordering your client knows this. I never carry cash. I am a credit card girl all the way (don't worry - I pay my credit card bill in full every month; I want the points my card offers).