I've have been having some re-occurring issues of late with brides & grooms who I meet with 3 months before their wedding date and we are down to the wire of always under a month and no confirmation has been made. I have had 2 occurrences in one week and I would like to know how you all successfully navigate from the 1st consultation to signing the cake contract and downpayment. I am having situations where the couples are changing design ideas every few days. What to do professionally? I know they assume because it is not a fruit cake, the cake will be baked the week of their wedding so why the rush but I do like to buy tools and materials in advance before stock-outs which I let them know about.
AThis can be dealt with in the contract the customer signs when they put down a nonrefundable deposit to reserve the date. You can indicate in the contract that once the design has been finalized, a nonrefundable change fee will be assessed and due immediately each time there are changes to the design, and that no changes will be possible starting a week or two before the event. Of course you can use your discretion as to whether or not to actually charge the change fees.
If the customer has not paid the balance of their order by the final due date, you can notify them that their order will be cancelled and their deposit will be forfeited if they do not pay the balance ASAP. This should also be outlined in your contract.
I take a one third deposit , within a week of the consultation to hold the date , the balance is due one month before the wedding any changes must be made by then. I don't have a problem outlining all of that at the consult.
Works for me .
I require a 50% non-refundable deposit and the balance is due 30 days prior to the reception. The balance due date is also the cut-off for any changes they want to make. Up until then they can make any changes they want but I almost never have couples that change their mind. For brides that cannot decide on their design at the consult I estimate the cost of the cake and require 50% of the estimated cost as a deposit. I adjust the balance due once they figure out what they want. Then they feel like they still have time to figure out what they want and aren't trapped into choosing a cake design.
If you are finding that they are making repeated changes and that it is taking up a lot of time you can institute a policy where they are allowed to make up to 3 changes for free and then charge a non-refundable fee for any changes over that. Make it steep enough so that it will encourage them to make up their mind and stick with it.
Thank you Jason, Chellescakes and cakesbykathy. I implemented what you each said and it worked.
I learned that I wasn't using my wedding cake contract effectively to communicate business policies. In fact, I now have new business policies thanks to each of you especially on constant changes.
This now means I can shorten the window from two to three months of back and forth with weekly changes to what I would like to be a month and under. Thanks again. Have a great one.