So 2013 is almost over and as i just turned over my LAST cheap/ free cake. I have informed family and friends that this year they will no longer receive free or deeply discounted cakes. That being said do you offer family a discount? 10%? Also on the subject of discounts I have a wedding consult next week for a wedding cake and grooms cake. The groom is on leave from the military. do you offer military discounts?
Contracts: I work at a deli/ cafe we do maybe 2 cakes a month and no joke every cake the pastry chef has done the people get 50% of their money back if not the whole price. over stupid things like: i told the kid behind the counter i wanted deep blue is a med blue, or I ordered a cake to big and i have 3/4 the cake left over. no **** people will fight for money back no matter what! So i don't want that kind of drama in my own business (yes i know the owners do it to them shelfs). That being said I want to have a lawyer draw up a contract. my aunt works for the public defender and knows lawyers, so i wanted to take advantage of that. seeing as im asking them to do something for me i want to make it as easy on them as possible What does do you have in your contract to protect yourself. Im not trying to screw anyone over if i messed up or am at fault I will take full blame. But, id like to have some sort of protection against krazy people.
If you do contacts, is it only for wedding cakes or cakes with high dollar amounts?
I will answer a couple of your questions. My immediate family get 40% discount when they order cakes for an event. If my immediate want a cake for "their" birthday..then I do it for free. My family does not take advantage of me and order 3D cakes that would cost hundreds of dollars. They are very humble and appreciate my generosity and only ask for 8" cakes. If I had a selfish bunch...I may rethink my discount/freebie policy.
As a retired vet....I would offer any military/active or retired some sort of discount.
I only do contracts for wedding/groom's cakes.
AHaving a contract in place is for your protection as well as your customers! I will pm you a contract if you'd like. Another thing you need to look into is insurance, among other things but lets discuss the questions you have so far.
You cannot possibly anticipate everything so it's clever that you asked what others include in their contract as well as some basic 'ground rules' to consider. You can also find many generic cake contracts online if you want to look into that.
I have a minimum order-not on my contract just general info. You need to consider all your costs: ingredients, time prepping, consult, shopping, cleaning, decorating, & baking, water, utilities, supports, boards, etc. A minimum order ensures your not losing money-I can't make a reasonable profit for anything less then $150
You mentioned matching colors-Erica O Brien gave me the best idea, I purchased a booklet of paint swatches (like you get at the store when picking out paint colors) these are great to have handy at all consultations. Even though I request, brides especially, to bring inspiration packets with magazine clip outs or whatever they have.
Consultations-I charge $25 for two sometimes three flavors, if I happen to have something handy, and three fillings/icings deconstructed so they can mix and match, additional flavors $10/each (before this was in place some people would try to get me to make them six flavors)! I also ask they limit the number of guests (2-3) too many opinions can result in a huge mess. I have been crediting this towards their orders if they book but I'm no longer doing this. I've been thinking about doing a monthly tasting, another CC member does something similar (Yuma I believe) I think it would be much easier.
My contract states their date is not held until a deposit is made 50%, the remainder is due two weeks before their date. If they book last min, a rush fee is added and the total is due immediately.
I get contact info for the wedding planner and a relative (as well as the bride and groom), whoever will be accepting the cake-they must have the table setup and ready and sign that they received the cake and I am no longer responsible. Same if they chose to pick up the cake-once it leaves my hands I am no longer responsible. I also get contact info for the florist if they want fresh flowers on their cake.
Design changes can no longer be made two weeks prior to the event, rush charge will be added.
My cakes won't be served with others unless previously discussed (such as sheet cakes from Walmart) its stated much nicer in my contract and it's also something I discuss with couples during consult. I explain that it reflects my reputation and I wouldn't want to be held responsible if the other product was contaminated.
There's a clause stating I'm not responsible if unforeseen complications arise; car accident
I keep all communications; emails, order forms, etc. There are more and written more eloquently in my contract but those are the most important things I can think of at the moment. They are the same for every order. And I stress that these rules are for both of our protection.
I don't have much family so I don't worry about discounts. I do offer a small military discount. For weddings I offer a small cake, same flavor as one of their tiers, with minimal decorations for the couple to enjoy the evening of their wedding.
There is no rule saying you need to discount or give away anything for free, most businesses don't. You shouldn't feel obligated, figure out what you're comfortable with and stand behind it.
With a good business plan, a proper pricing structure, and rules you are willing to enforce you will be able to 'weed' out the types of customers you referred to above and target the ones you'll enjoy working with.
I hope this helps, I didn't realize how long my post was!