Updated: Apr 10
Contracts in your home baking business are essential! And let me also say...
SCARY. When first starting to include contracts in your baking business it can be very overwhelming trying to figure out what all needs to go into it. Here is a guide to help you ensure you have everything you need to protect yourself and educate your clients.
If you are unsure on the difference between contracts and policies make sure to go to my last blog post Policies to Enforce in Your Home Baking Business.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This guide is put together with tips I use in my current business. To make sure you are 100% protected always have a lawyer overlook your contract.
This post contains affiliate links that came at now cost to you. #AD
How do I write a contract?
The first thing you want to think about is the verbiage of your contract. Do you want to sound like a lawyer or do you want to have your contract written in words everyone can understand?
I like for my contracts to be easy to read. It is important for me that my clients understand what they are agreeing to. Everything in my contract is made to make my life easier.
So if they don’t understand the contract that is just going to make my life more difficult. At the same time I do want it to be professional and to be taken seriously so I had to find a good middle ground.
When do I use a contract?
I personally don't give a contract to every person who books with me. For small orders, I direct them to my policies and disclaimers. For large orders for events and weddings that require delivery, I always send a contract. Delivery is where a lot of these parts of the contract come into play.
What do I include in my contract?
Here is an outline of everything I include in my contracts.
1. The date of the event and the address.
The time I do not include because I contact the coordinator the week of the event for the schedule incase anything changes. Timing of desserts for a wedding can be different for every event. I plan off of the reception time, as long as the reception space can not be seen by the cocktail hour or ceremony space. Depending of the event set up the timing of drop off will be different.
2. Who is able to make changes to the order.
You don’t want the mother in law, the sister and the best friend all calling in changes to the cake that the bride is not aware of. To keep things simple all changes and talk about the order will go through the bride or the event planner. That is it. (I will be referencing weddings through out this whole post but these rules can of course be applied to all large events. Weddings are just the most common for me.)
3. The serving size of a slice of cake.
Large event cakes are priced by serving as well. But since we are not there to cut the cake to the exact serving sizes it is important to put in there that if the cake is cut in larger slices we are not responsible for there being a shortage of servings.
4. The payment schedule will be outlined in the invoice.
I send a separate document right after the contract with Honeybook that has the payment schedule. I outline the details of the order in that document. The flavor, size and design is all detailed in the invoice. I love that with Honeybook you can schedule automatic payments which makes it easier for both you and them.
5. Method of payment.
Here you can detail what method of payment is excepted. If you use Honeybook then this is easy!
6. How long do you have to make changes to the order?
Not everyone makes decisions easily. If the bride decides they want to make a change to the order how much time in advance does that need to be done?
7. Cancelation window.
How much time do they have to cancel or reschedule for a refund? If so how much of a refund do they get?
The client must let me know of anything that will make delivery difficult. This is very helpful. This is something I also make sure to ask again when scheduling the time of the drop off the week before the event. Is there a gate with a code? Is it a dirt road? Things like this are helpful to know.
9. How long are you willing to wait to start setting up?
Many times when arriving to a venue the dessert table is not ready yet. After 20 minutes of waiting I will set up the desserts or leave them with someone else to set them up.
10. I am not responsible for...
Once I drop off the cake they are responsible for the condition. Once the order is dropped off whoever is there is excepting the condition as is. Anything that happens after that you are not responsible for; whether that is: a guest bumping into the cake, a waiter dropping it when un tiering the cake, or the florist messing up the frosting while adding flowers (I recommend doing this yourself), or the flower girl doing a taste test of the frosting.
If they decide to pick up the cake themselves from my location they are responsible for the condition of the cake during delivery. Delivery is not easy. Well actually it’s not terribly hard its just stressful. I basically don’t breath the entire ride. But as a customer they might not be thinking about how fast they are going on a turn or going over that speed bump and disasters can happen. I always recommend that clients pay for the delivery for any cake that is 3 tiers and more.
If the wedding is outdoors we are not responsible for how the weather might affect the cake. This is something I do like to discuss beforehand. Where I live in the summer it gets well over 100 degrees. No one wants a melted wedding cake!! I always make sure to discuss frosting types that will work best with the location setting and drop-off time.
We are not responsible for any damages caused by any guests or employees of the venue. Same as before but just to reiterate I am not responsible for your drunk uncle falling into the cake.
They are responsible for making sure that all non-edible decor is taken off before being served to the guests. Make sure you let the client know of all the parts of the cake that are non-edible as well.
11. Are there any allergies I should be aware of?
Always important! It is good to ask if they themselves have any allergies or if they know of any guests who have allergies that you should be aware of.
We are allowed to use any photos without compensation.
A promise to give the highest quality to my abilities.
There may be artistic differences in the inspiration and the completed product. Whether that is flower placement, fondant figures, painting etc.
You as the professional are able to make any adjustments to the design of the cake to ensure structural integrity.
Name and number of a coordinator, planner or a second day of contact info.
How do I send my contract?
I use Honeybook to send off of my contracts. I love that it keeps all of the info for the event in one place. The contract, and messages back and fourth and the invoice are all together. I love that it syncs with google calendar so all of the booked events pop up on my phone as well.
Honeybook makes creating the contracts really easy. You can add fillable sections for your clients to fill out with important information. That way you can use the same template for every client.
With Honeybook I am also able to get automatic payments which is perfect for managing multiple payment schedules at one time. The client can set up to be charged automatically. If they don't select auto pay and do end up missing a payment Honeybook will send reminder emails that their payment is late. This program is an ESSENTIAL part of my business!
If you would like to see exactly what I send to my clients I have a contract template in my shop!
Let me know if you have any questions on creating a contract for your home baking business.
As always if you would like a free call to discuss your business goals make sure to click the button below! Happy Baking!!