Whether you’re in the cake business, craft business or any creative custom product business, you need to be getting a deposit before getting started!
There’s a saying, and it goes like this: “Put your money where your mouth is”.
Why? Because people can do a lot of talking… but talking doesn’t pay the bills! By actually taking action and placing a deposit they are showing you they want your product & are serious about it. When people are serious about wanting your product they won’t have a problem giving you a deposit. See how that works?
Your time is valuable. Your time is precious. Think of all the things you could be doing instead of wasting several hours (or days) creating a custom product for someone only to discover they found someone else to make it quicker & cheaper and felt too awkward to let you know & now they’re MIA. Not only is that time you could have spent on a serious customer that you likely turned away but it is time you could have spent with your husband or kids…
“But Susie said she doesn’t get paid until Friday”
“Janet doesn’t have the money right now”
“Karen doesn’t feel comfortable giving a deposit”
“Lauren doesn’t have a credit card”
Oh the infinite amount of excuses out there people use when they’re just not that serious about buying…
If there’s hesitation or they don’t have the money right now, what makes you think they’ll have it later or all of a sudden ‘not be hesitant’ when it comes time to pay up? It’s too risky & the only people losing out is YOU. Of course, these excuses are a reality sometimes & I’m not saying these people are all potentially going to leave you in the dust. However, I wouldn’t recommend accepting the order without a deposit, so if Susie doesn’t get paid till Friday, then Friday is when the order gets confirmed upon receiving the deposit.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people posting stuff in those ‘Swap & Sell Mom To Mom’ sites looking for buyers for their cakes or custom products that they’ve already made (for someone else) that the person who ordered it didn’t show up for. It makes me cringe because I know the time and love that went into those products and I hate that they had to learn this the hard way. People just don’t take you or your business as seriously if they have no skin (aka money) in the game. It’s just a fact.
So, you’re currently doing custom work deposit-less what do you do?
Besides stopping it right now, let’s discuss!
First, start by determining what you want your deposit to be. It can be anything, in my business we do 50% (or the full amount upfront which can sometimes be easier for the customer than having to remember they still owe money later). You can do a dollar amount like $25 or $50 deposit or a percentage like 25% or 50% of their total. Whatever works for you, in my experience as long as there’s some form of money involved, most people are not going to forfeit their deposit (and if they do, at least they’ve paid for the cost of product used & some of your time hopefully).
Secondly, determine your policy around your deposit so everyone is clear on how it works. You can decide if you’ll allow it to be refundable if cancelled within a certain period of time or it can be non-refundable since you are booking aside the time to create it & potentially turn away other business. If they do cancel, will you give them their cash back or a gift certificate for a future date? When will the remaining balance be owed? You decide the rules.
Finally, whatever your deposit policy is, know that you’re in full control of how you implement it. If someone had an emergency and needed to cancel because they’re in the hospital, you can sympathize and work with them by rescheduling their order or giving them a credit/refund. Sometimes even when you have a deposit you’ll want to be flexible and bend the rules for certain people & situations, even if it does cost you your time because keeping them as a customer is important to you. I am all for being flexible and accommodating anytime I can be & it certainly keeps happy, loyal customers but you need to also value your time.
Don’t feel bad about implementing this new policy change if you haven’t been asking for deposits previously. All you have to do is just let your customers know & I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised that majority of them will support you.
Changes like these mean you’re growing your business, learning better ways & building a better more sustainable business!