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Policies to Enforce in Your Home Baking Business

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Having your policies and disclaimers set in your home baking business is so important. It is something I wish I would have known in the beginning. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Many of the policies I have created have been created because of situations I have been in. My hope is that you can start implementing these policies before you are faced with a tough situation!


Disclaimer (wink wink)

*I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. This is merely a starting point. It is always a great idea to have a lawyer look over any legal documents.

 

Contract vs Policies

Contracts are written agreements that are signed by both parties and include all of the terms agreed upon for a specific project.


Policies are stated for the business as a whole and are not on a per-project basis and are nor are they explicitly agreed upon.


I personally only create contracts for big event projects. All other orders are encouraged to look at my policies and disclaimers. It is my responsibility to point them to the information and their’s to review it.


For example:

A store by the beach has a no shoes no service policy. When you walk into the store they do not have an agreement that you need to sign to shop there. It is more of a general understanding that if you are shopping there you need to follow the policies set out.





Policies vs Disclaimers

Ok this was a little harder to clarify, but think of policies as the rules and disclaimers are more of the general good-to-know information.


For example:


Policy: Your kids are not allowed to bring any food containing peanuts to school. That is the school's policy/rule.


Disclaimer: The school adds a note in the welcome packet saying “This school is not peanut free. We have a peanut-free table but the other tables are not.”



Where should I display my policies?

Make sure your policies are visible to everyone who is booking. You can do this by having them on your highlights, as a website page, as well as an image you can send to clients when booking.


You want to make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to the expectations of both parties.


This does not need to be in fancy lawyer language. I personally feel it is beneficial to have these things in plain Jane English. We are not trying to trick people or make it confusing. (like an insurance policy) We have these policies set for a reason and we want people to follow them. It is easier for US if they follow them. They can’t follow them if they don’t understand what you are talking about.




Policies to consider:


Deposit:

How much of the order do they need to pay to be able to confirm the order? First, let’s backtrack. If you don’t have a deposit requirement set up you need to. You need to be paid something before you even pick an egg! Some people will say yes to an order, say the price is great, and then never reply again.


Questions to consider:

  • How much is the deposit requirement?

  • Is this refundable? If so by when?

The minimum amount of days in advance to place an order:

Having this clearly stated is important and can save you and your customers time. That way you are not going over order details to see that they need the order tomorrow.


Many people who do not make desserts do not understand the time commitment that goes into their order. I have no idea how long it takes to fix a transmission on a car. So if I took a car into a shop and said you have an hour they would absolutely laugh. We can’t expect customers to know how many days in advance you need.



Questions to consider:

  • How many days in advance do I need for an order? This might change based on the type of order. For example a wedding cake vs a semi-naked cake with flowers.

  • Am I willing to take last-minute orders if I have the time?

  • Do I charge extra for last-minute orders? (wink-wink you should)


Delivery:

Delivery should not be free. In the beginning, I offered FREE delivery for wedding cakes (this hurts to write this) because I felt bad (cringe) charging so much for a cake (I was already undercharging) and then charging more for delivery.


Goodness, there is so much to unpack there!!! That really just had to do with my own flawed money mindset. But that’s a whole nother blog post on its own. So long story short…


You NEED to charge for delivery. NEED to. No questions. You need to take time out of your day to prepare for delivery, drive there and drive back, gas, miles on the car, etc. In my case, I also needed someone to either watch my kids at home or sit in the car with them. This means someone else is also taking time out of their day too.


Charge for delivery for ANY size of order. If they do not want to pay the charge for delivery on a $50 order, just let them know that normally delivery is reserved for orders over $X because of the time commitment. (Always stay kind, understanding and courteous) They will understand and will be happy to pick it up or pay the fee if needed.



Questions to consider:

  • What kind of orders am I willing to deliver?

  • How far am I willing to deliver?

  • What is my hourly delivery rate? When quoting for delivery make sure you are charging for the drive there, set up time and driving back.


Changes to the order:

Sometimes things change and people would like to change a part of their order. It is great to have these rules set up ahead of time to avoid major changes.


Questions to consider:

  • How far in advance can changes to an order be made?

  • What kind of changes are you willing to make and when?


Cancelations:


Life is crazy and things happen. BUT we don’t want to make a cake and then lose out on money because the party now needs to be canceled because of Jerry Springer family drama. Ok it doesn’t need to be that crazy haha but still if we learned anything in the last few years we learned things can change at any moment and we can’t control anything. Have a policy set for WHEN this happens.


You set out time for this order, and maybe even turned down other orders if you were fully booked. We need to make sure that there are rules and expectations for customers when it comes to canceling.



So with that said how do you want to handle cancelations?


Questions to consider:

  • How far in advance can you cancel?

  • How much money is returned if able to cancel? (what if you had bought special items or custom items for this order?)

  • Are they able to use the money paid for a future order?


Refund:

Sadly it will happen. We are only human we can not make every single person happy. Having your refund policy set out can make some uncomfortable situations easier.


Questions to consider:

  • What warrants a refund?

  • How much of the order will be refunded for these situations?


Situation 1: Customer doesn’t like the taste.


Situation 2: The cake fell over when you were delivering.


Situation 3: You tried your best but the design doesn’t meet the clients' expectations.


Situation 4: The client picked up the cake during the summer and messaged you 6 hours after pick up saying the cake melted during the car ride home. (This one is a true story. This was before setting up my policies and I also did not educate the client on where it should be stored. Long story short I offered a full refund she was very kind and accepted a partial refund)




Disclaimers:

Again these are just things that your customers should be aware of.

  • Colors will be matched as close as possible

  • There may be some artistic differences from the inspiration photo

  • If an order is picked up it is considered “accepted”

  • You are responsible for the condition of the order once it leaves

Let me know, is there any you include that I left out?


If you want more help with creating your contract, policies and disclaimers take my class Taking Orders or apply for my coaching program where I help baking create consistent and profitable baking businesses.



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