So, I've been doing more and more consultations with brides recently (7 in a week, which is just wild for me...but I know small beans to a lot of others! )
Anyway, I've been reading through the forums just reminding myself how so many others conduct their consultations (thanks for all the sharing guys). So, here's a question that I haven't seen addressed yet...
When a bride leaves the consultation with you, what does she take with her in the way of paperwork (besides a business card and your pricing brochure)? Do you give them a written quote to remember you by? Do you follow up with an email a day later reiterating what you spoke about?
Here's why I ask...I have been trying to type up a contract for the bride and groom and email it within a couple of days, but it is getting overwhelming...and then if they don't hire me I'm mad because I spent so much time on working out the details like cake sizes and flower placement (which, hello....they could just take to another baker and get it at a cheaper price, duh!)
So, any advice you experienced wedding cake artists can share would be MUCH appreciated! I know there must be a more efficient way of doing this!
Thx in advance!
They walk out of my shop with tummies full of cake and a biz card. I email everything to them that night or the next day.
Are you typing each one out from scratch? Or do you have a general fill-in-the-blanks form you can use?
I actually do everything right on my laptop while I'm talking to them. If I wanted to, I could print the whole thing off then and there and hand it to them, but I have a pre-formatted email that goes with the proprosal (spells out what they're getting, what they need to do next, how to confirm the order and pay the deposit), plus I want an email-record that it went out and WHAT went out.
We talk about cake sizes while they are there. I ask them how many they are planning ... they say 150 ... I say "you can have 4 tiers of round cake or 3 tiers of square cakes." I work out the numbers and tell them how many servings and here are the cake sizes I'm using.
I dont' spell out where I'm going to put a flower or anything that detailed. Mine is pretty much "Top tier .... scrolls. Middle tier .... dots with BC roses at the base. Bottom tier ... lace design with pearl dragees sporadically placed." That's pretty much it. I dont' have any idea where I'm putting a flower until I see where a flower needs to be.
Sounds like you're doing a lot of the work after they leave (figuring cake sizes, flower placement, etc) .... if you incorporate the planning into the conversation with the bride, you should be able to have the whole thing done by the time she leaves.
If you have a pre-formatted form, it's jus a matter of filling in the blanks, which will save you lots of time. Also, my contract is one document and my order forms are another document(s). So I never have to type up a whole contract ... just fill in the order forms with the info I need....send the order forms and a 2nd copy of the contract (in case they deleted the first one which went out to them with the Intro Packet).
Psst! And I think 7 consults in a week is an impressive schedule! Go girl!
If you want to see my forms, PM me your email address and I'll send you a completed set from one of my past weddings ... you can see how I have the formulas set up to automatically figure the totals, the sales tax, etal.
Geez, Indy, you are so together!
They leave my place with their samples, my biz card, a copy of their invoice/estimate and hopefully a copy of their signed contract.
I give mine my business card, the information sheets I print for them (sizing chart, flower lsit, other items I offer, delivery and rental info). Plus I try to give them the estimate, I too use excel to figure everything out on the go. I try to prefill out the info I know (names, dates, venue, etc) then do the rest while they are there. Most people want to know the price then. I do not give them the drawing until they sign and give me a deposit though.
I give them an info packet that has all of my flavors and fillings, my policies and procedures and a general quote based on the minimum design and servings. I tell them I wont finalize any design until one month prior. This cuts down on the constant changes and reworking quotes. Any price adjustments are made to the remaining 50% balance.
I take all of my notes and quote on a carbon copy pad and then staple it to their packet . I do all of this as they are tasting the samples. After they are done, I hand them the document and do a recap of everything then ask them if they have any questions. After that I thank them for coming and hand them a biz card on the way out.
If they decided to book, then I type in their info on the contract that I have saved and email it to them. That takes about 5 minutes. I only do this if they decide to book because then I'm creating extra work for myself by emailing with everyone.
Oh My gosh, I would be forever grateful if I could get your papers from your consultation. I have been writing it all as I go. I am sure it would shorten my time spent with brides and after.
I am new but I am learning. And I so appreciate everyone on this site. It has been a godsend.
Please email to me
Thnaking you in Advance!!
Hi Indydebi....I have been reading your posts since I've been a member and you always have the best advice!! I enjoy your wit and humor too!! Thank you for being here....
would you plaeas add me to your list for your paperwork? [email protected] I need help with this also.....
When they meet with me they get served on my good china and crystal. I give them three choices of cake and then fillings and frostings in cups for them to sample. I give them a cutting sheet, a Dear Bride To Be letter which is basically telling them about myself and my business and why they should order from me over someone else, they also get three each of small take home samples with the rest of their fillings and frostings boxed up with my business card. I can give them a sample contract that doesnt have the information sent out, and basically an incentive if they order from me (a free 6" cake on their anniversary.) Their told basic cake decorating structures (most of them have no clue), I show them samples of my work like a cake dummy and some of my flowers, and then their told if they want me to hold the date they are to give me a small deposit. Their also told about some of the things in the contract like when their final payment is due, etc. And I try to find out what kind of budget they want to stick to and give them an estimate.
To everyone who requested my copies ....
I will get them to you very soon, but please give me a couple of days. This weekend is one of my fraternity caterings (my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and I don't get home until after 8:00 p.m.) I came home tonight to 183 new emails in my inbox. The last day of each frat catering is breakfast only, but by the time I finish packing up the entire kitchen, driving to my shop and unloading/cleaning/putting away everything ... I end up going home and taking a 5 hour nap!
I promise I will send the info .... very soon!
Thanks for being patient with me!
No problem Indydebi! You are doing a very generous thing and we can all wait as long as you need. Have a wonderful weekend!
Me, too! Me, too!
Can you please just PM me?
Me, too! Me, too!
Can you please just PM me?
I'm not sure I can send these docs via a PM. You'll need to PM me your email, or send me an email directly.
Thanks Indydebi! Take all the time you need.. we just appreciate your willingness to share with us! You always have the right answers to everything.. =o)
I just sent the email. If I missed anyone, please let me know. A couple of you sent me a PM but no email address so as soon as I get that from you, your copy will be on the way.