I was approached about doing a cake decorating party for a group of women. Any advice concerning how/if deposit should be required? Should I require payment prior to the day of the party, upon arrival, or payment once the party is done.
P.S. if anyone has done this before I would appreciate any and all advice you can give about what to do.
I suggest you write up a contract the way you would with anything else. (Think of this as a wedding cake. It's a business transaction.) A contract lets the customer know exactly what they are paying for and protects you from any misunderstanding. You should get a minimum deposit for half the amount to hold the date. Final payment at least two weeks before.
Is there one organizer for this event? Sounds like it would be. If it were me, I would have the money upfront, but collected by that one leader and forwarded to me one week before the party date with a no refunds policy....yet I would have some kind of cancellation policy written down.
If every one were to pay in full to the group organizer, you would have your money ahead of time with a confirmed number of guests/supplies, etc. If someone should drop out, no refund since you've already shopped and baked. I think the organizer should be the one to handle replacement guests, etc. Think of her as "the bride" and write the contract with her.
Thank you all for the advice. Drafting a contract sounds like the way to go. The party isn't until April 2012.
I agree, have them pay the organizer, and deal directly with the one doing the organizing. Get a final count by a certain time, and decide on perhaps a price per so many people or per person, and exactly what will be provided and involved, and the time and hours this is to occur.
What a great idea! I'm with the others on the deposit for sure, you might want to agree a theme at the same time so you can spend some time planning and making any GP bits, a naughty theme would go down well for a group but obviously that would need to be agreed and carefully targeted!
Would love to know what you decide to make best of luck!
Thanks for the continued replies.
My conversations have been with the person hosting the ladies gathering.
She wants a shoe theme (she actually approached me about having the ladies-with no cake experience-make a shoe out of cake). I made a shoe like the tutorial on this site and placed it as a topper on a decorated one tier cake and sent her a picture. She loved it so that is what we will do. What I proposed since it's a luncheon, we make the shoe, break for lunch. After lunch we will ice and decorate the cake. I'm thinking it will be easier for the ladies to decorate with fondant cutouts rather than decorating with icing using piping bags. I walked through the process in my head, but there is always the fear of missing something.
I think you are on the right track for sure. However, if I am at a luncheon taking a cake decorating lesson, I expect to use a piping bag and not really focus on icing the cake itself.
How much time in total do you have with the ladies? Will the shoe pieces be cut out ahead of time or will they be rolling the fondant, cutting and assembling? That will take at least an hour with just a handful of people.
In the interest of time, could you bring the cakes already iced? What size cakes are you planning on? 6 inches? 2 layers each I imagine? Are you bringing the cakes in bakery boxes so they can take them home that way?
I think decorating with fondant cutouts is a great idea and less messy than every person learning to pipe. The ladies can use their creativity and choose between the cutters that you bring. I would suggest bringing a few bags of icing and have them pipe a basic shell or bead border as the finishing touch.
You will have covered gumpaste figures, fondant cut outs and basic border piping in one lesson!
Don't forget to include a clause about allergies in your contract. Mention that you are NOT nut and dairy free and anyone consuming the product needs to know this.
It is a luncheon. I did a test run on the shoe it took less than ten minutes to roll cut and glue, so I figure the ladies should be able to do all of this in one hour (before lunch). After lunch I was allowing up to two hours to ice and completely decorate the cake.
I did not consider pre-iced cakes although that may not be a bad idea. That will be a time saver and I can cut the time spent by an hour.
If someone has a contract out there that I can use as a template I really would appreciate it. Don't want to reinvent the wheel if I don't have to.
Depending on what the total cost you are charging is I would pre ice six inch cakes (no borders, no ruffles).
Then I would make some jumbo cupcakes and cut the dome off, flip it upside down and let them ice and fondant the "platform" to sit the shoe on top of (depending on size). Then they could make a smile twisted coil border for the bottom.
Then teach them to pipe a border, some swag/ruffles and swiss dots and depending on time, writing a message on top like "Luncheon Divas" or "Stilleto Starlets" or whatever the theme for the lunch is.
That covers icing, fondanting, shoe making, and simple piping (make sure you have enough round/rose tips). HTH