I don't know why, but lately a LOT of my brides have not been paying their final payment on time.
Right now in my contract, it states that the final payment is due one month before the date of the wedding.
That's it - it doesn't say what will happen if they pay late or anything like that. Do a lot of you add on late fees? I'm very tempted to!
Here's what my contract says,
"Payment in full must be received 4 weeks prior to the wedding. Orders not paid in full by this date will be cancelled."
I don't chase down my customers. And with this policy, I don't have to.
You can add on a million dollars in late fees. Doesn't do a damn bit of good if they're not even paying the base amount.
It's best to inform your customers of the consequences up front. You've got yourself in a predicament now. Do you make the cake and HOPE they pay for it? Do you not make the cake, but then receive payment plus late fees the day before the wedding? Then what?
If I were you, I'd inform your current brides that if payment is not received by tomorrow, their cake is cancelled. Then change your contract ASAP!
I'm very strict with my payment policy. I require a 50% deposit and in my contract it states:
The remainder of the total price shall be due three weeks (21 days) before the event. Payment may be made by cash, check, 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. The Client is responsible for keeping track of any payments due and ensuring their timely receipt. We are not responsible for you not having a cake supplied by [Bakery Name] if you fail to complete all payments and deposits required prior to the event by the deadlines specified."
I don't do late charges because I don't do late payments. I make sure to take time to explain to the customer when they book that this is the policy so they understand it. They then initial this place in the contract.
I am the same way. It's in my contract that if they miss they due date they will not be getting a cake.
I don't do late fees either. If they don't pay by the deadline.....no cake!
In 5 years we haven't had too many issues. Most brides pay on time and a courtesy call a couple days before works well for us. We usually get a credit card over the phone or they come by with cash or check on the due date.
If you do decide to do a late fee, be careful. All states have usury laws which dictate the maximum on late fees.
Just to add to the collection of contract wording, here's what mine said:
3. The outstanding balance is due 14 days prior to the event, at which time attendance will be considered firm and not subject to reduction. All retainers and payments made are not refundable. Any payment not received as scheduled will constitute a cancellation on the part of the client and Cater It Simple will not show up at the event.
This is one section they had to specifically initial on the contract to show they read THIS one.
Here is the wording on mine, and like indydebi they have to initial it to show they've "understood" what it says. Basically I leave it open to my discretion on either cancelling the cake or allowing a late payment with the additional money added to it. Usually just knowing they have to pay another $25/day puts a fire under them and gets them paid on time!
1. ________ Booking/Payments: Your initial deposit (30% of total order including rental, deposit, and delivery fees) reserves your event date and is non-refundable in the event of a cancellation on your part, however it will be applied to your final payment due 3 weeks prior to the event (this includes all delivery fees), if full payment is not received 3 full weeks BEFORE the date of the event you will incur a late fee of $25.00/day and risk possible forfeiture of your date/confections. Your date will not be booked until your deposit is paid in full. (If paying by check, the check must clear first)
WOW! You guys are strict! lol I guess I'm a softie...I SAY that it needs to be paid for, but then I let people slide until the last minute! I really like the wording on these and would like to add that to my contract in some form.
I do charge a late fee. Final payment is due 4 weeks before the date. If paid after that date (and I give them the exact date) a $50.00 late fee will be added. If not paid by week 3 another $50.00 late fee is added and if not paid 2 weeks prior their cake is subject to cancellation.
I've actually made extra money with the late fees.