Hello everyone. I hope you can help me. I get most of my cake orders through my Instagram and Facebook accts by exchanging text messages only. I never meet my clients until day of pickup or delivery. So far I haven't had any problems with any clients so I've been lucky. I always ask for 50% NON-REFUNDABLE deposit and after receiving the deposit, I just send them a confirmation message with all the order details, total, deposit made and how much left to pay. I see a lot of bakers have a contract, so is the confirmation message enough or should I come up with a contract? If I do need the contract, how and when do I present it to my clients without having to meet? What are the most important clauses that should be included?
One more question please. All my clients so far have e-transferred me the deposits because it's convenience. Do you think this is a safe way to get paid or can the client cancel the transaction on a later day?
Thank you in advance
i just used an order blank that had some terms written on it but most of my orders were face to face — it is important to have clearly defined boundaries but I kept mine to a bare minimum — size of servings, the point at which no changes could be made but servings could be added in counts of 25 — when and why none of the three payments could be refunded — although I gave one week unannounced wiggle room on that — and that I reserved the right to do the cake to the best of my ability— in other words if someone put the cake table in front of a sunny window I would take the authority to right the situation whatever it was —
to me some people can get a little carried away with contracts but that’s what I had on my order blanks that we both signed —
I used email as my contract. Once every aspect has been written in the email, the customer forwards back, confirming they have read everything and sends the deposit, email is legal and binding. This is your contact. It’s just important to include all pertinent details and information. Absolutely anything and everything about the cake. The size ( number of tiers ), cake flavour, colours (icing, fondant), icing flavour, using icing/ganache/fondant, fillings, embellishments like ribbon etc, gumpaste additions ( anything made from gumpaste... figures, flowers, etc ), lettering (recipients name). Delivery...pick up instructions, *** especially written information about how to transport a cake in a car ( flat surface, not on car seat, etc ) or your personal delivery (if you deliver). Not responsible note after cake pick up. After cake leaves your premises, and transportation instructions were agreed too ( by returning email with confirmation ), you no longer have responsibility for the cake. Window of time customer can contact you regarding per chance any problems, dissatisfaction that have arisen about the cake. If so, ( dissatisfied ) cake to be returned for you to check out before possibly any type of refund.
if you don’t want to write this all in a email, you can create a simple contract that you can attach to your email. Customer signs and emails back to you. I did both depending on who the customer was. Simple and free contracts can be found online. One free source is cake boss. Not the decorator, the cake information website. Lots of good information on this site, including a free contract download.
Hope this helpful.
Thank you so much I will write up a contract right now.
How about e-transfer payments? Can a customer cancel the transaction deposit after is made?
probably can back out the payment — cost/risk of doing business — you could check with your processor —
but yeah what June said — I used to say, payment in lieu of signature confirms email changes — but I think I would word if different nowadays — I would say something like, in lieu of signature, changes requested by the client require return email confirmation after all discussion is complete — and I would detail the changes in the confirmation —
and for me no changes could be made after the last payment— and I would still say final payment date is last day to request changes — unless 25 additional servings in a separate cake needs to be added —
during the consult I would always point out that I was Not a brick and mortar bakery where I could neither absorb the cost to replace nor the obligation to store the cake should their plans change — that the wedding taking place was Not contingent on the order being filled for that day and time
All this information below from K8memphis I completely forgot about. About “changes” in cake design etc. Especially the date. Last paragraph re: Not a brick & mortar bakery....very good. I knew I’d probably forgot something.
Now I realized I didn’t answer your payment question. No, a customer cannot cancel a e-transfer payment AFTER YOU HAVE ACCEPTED THE FUNDS. Now the banks here (Ontario, Canada) you CAN cancel a e-transfer, BEFORE the other party accepts the payment, but you must pay a fee to do so. When you send an e-transfer, and funds are accepted, you instantaneously receive the funds. That’s essentially like giving you cash. I’m pretty sure this the same all over, that if funds are accepted, there’s no going back. Now if per chance you were sent too much money by the customer, which I suppose is possible, you would most likely deduct the extra from the final amount owed.
And speaking of money/deadlines, I was always specific about a date for final payment. Mine was a week before. I was absolutely firm on that. I never had many large/ornate orders, so it worked for me. But I have a professional friend who always got final payment 2 weeks before, and sometimes a month. That’s because she had large 3-4 tier cakes with many details. Basically the final payment helped with the expenses of the details. Which were mostly gumpaste flowers. Time consuming and pricey to make.
Thank you everyone for your help. I've prepared a contract so I hope I don't scare any of my clients with it. LOL
I’m sure your customers will be fine with the contract. Pretty standard.