When do you need a cake contract?
Any time you sell a cake that’s over $100, it’s a good idea to have your customer sign a contract. This will protect you if the customer has an issue or dispute over the cake or tries to cancel their order at the last minute. Legally, you must obtain a signature from the customer that acknowledges their understanding of your agreement and binds them to it. Make sure to keep a copy of that signed document on file as well as to provide one to the client.
Click here to download a FREE copy of the Cake Contract and Order Form PDF version
First, the contract summarizes all aspects of the cake order, including the following details:
- Date of event
- Type of event (wedding, birthday party, anniversary party, etc.)
- Number of guests (or cake servings needed)
- Event start time
- Cake delivery or pick-up time
- Venue name and address (only when applicable)
- Venue contact (event coordinator)
Customer Contact Info
- Customer’s first and last name
- Names of other relevant people on the order (groom, birthday girl or boy, etc.)
- Phone #
- Email address
- Home address
- Size/s of cake/s
- Cake flavors
- Cake design specifics
- Writing (example: Happy Birthday)
- Itemized cost of cake
- Record of payments made
- Due dates for any remaining payments
The Built-in Contract Disclaimer
The contract’s general disclaimer, which is embedded into the center of the form, clearly outlines your cake ordering, cancellation, and refund policies. Here is what it says:
A deposit of 50% or more of the total cost of the order confirms and holds a reservation. The deposit is refundable in full 30 or more days before the event minus a $25 transaction fee for consultation services rendered. The remainder of payment is due no later than 14 days before the event. Late or no payment is subject to cancellation. Late payments may result in substitutions or modifications to the original order. Cancellations received on or within 14 days of the event may not be subject to refund. Design change requests are subject to additional fees. Design changes are not permitted within 21 days of the event. [Your bakery name here] reserves the right to exercise artistic license in order to guarantee the structural, visual, and creative integrity of a dessert structure.
Translation of the Contract Disclaimer
Here is a line-by-line breakdown of the above disclaimer with explanations for each policy’s purpose.
A deposit of 50% or more of the total cost of the order confirms and holds a reservation.
Never agree to reserve a date or begin working on a cake order until you have the deposit in hand. It’s the only way to be sure that a customer is serious about placing their order. A 50% deposit is customary in the cake industry.
The deposit is refundable in full 30 or more days before the event minus a $25 transaction fee for consultation services rendered.
Unexpected things happen in life, so the deposit ought to be refundable if ample notice is given by the customer. However it takes intelligent man hours to plan and book a cake design. Time is spent on phone consultations, drawing up sketches, and possibly conducting a cake tasting with the client. Including a non-refundable transaction fee for those services will help account for the man hours in the event that the cake order is cancelled.
The remainder of payment is due no later than 14 days before the event.
I recommend putting a two-week deadline on the remainder of the payment so that you’re guaranteed it’s in the bank before you start baking the cake. Some bakers allow more leeway with the final payment, giving the customer up until the last week to submit payment. I don’t recommend cutting it that close because if a check bounces or the customer delays, you will find yourself in limbo at the last minute. Never agree to accept final payment at the event itself, as that will leave you vulnerable to failed completion of payment or a possible dispute.
Late or no payment is subject to cancellation.
It doesn’t make sense to reserve your time for people who don’t complete their payment, so this policy allows you an out. Use your discretion in terms of when/if to cancel an order in case the client has legitimate extenuating circumstances that delayed their payment. Also, make sure to notify the customer by phone if you’ve decided to pull their order off the books.
Late payments may result in substitutions or modifications to the original order.
This clause protects you from having to scramble around at the last minute if a customer is tardy in making their final payment. This way, in terms of cake flavor or decorations, you have the option to limit the order (within reason) to whatever you already have on hand. This policy means that customers who do not hold up their end of the bargain have to be more flexible about the details of their order so you don’t lose efficiency as a result of their mistake.
Cancellations received on or within 14 days of the event date may not be subject to refund.
Last minute cake cancellations can be costly in terms of time and materials wasted. If you had to decline other potential orders to save a date for a client or if you already began purchasing some ingredients or working on decorative elements of a cake that was cancelled at the last minute, this clause allows you to retain some or all of the money to cover those costs. It’s worded vaguely so you can base your judgment on the nature and timeliness of the cancellation.
Design change requests are subject to additional fees.
This clause is set up to protect you from dedicating extra time to indecisive clients. Use your discretion wisely when it comes to this policy. If the client makes a small change that doesn’t affect your time in any way, there is no need to charge a fee. On the other hand, if they request a complete design overhaul, charging them for the time it takes to revamp the order makes sense.
Design changes are not permitted within 21 days of the event.
Simply put, by this time, there is no turning back. You may opt to allow a looser deadline of up to 14 days before the event but I don’t suggest allowing any more leeway than that.
[Your bakery name here] reserves the right to exercise artistic license in order to guarantee the structural, visual, and creative integrity of a dessert structure.
The #1 most important part of a baker’s job is to deliver a stable cake that won’t collapse at the event. Especially when sculpting custom 3D cakes, the act itself is an intuitive, unpredictable process. This language is designed to give you some latitude so that you don’t get locked into an idea that compromises the quality of the cake. However, this policy should not be abused or used as an excuse when you’ve failed to produce a successful result.
Click here to download a FREE copy of the Cake Contract and Order Form PDF version
New to Wicked Goodies? Start *HERE*
5 Cake Bakery Disclaimer Forms
Wedding Cake Pricing Guide
10 Ways to Market Wedding Cakes and 5 Ways Not To
How to Freeze and Thaw Cakes
Layer Cake Filling in the Pan
Cake Delivery Made Easy
” width=”20″ height=”20″>
So I’m thinking, had you charged enough you would have lost that customer. In turn, you wouldn’t have had the customer from Hell… there are reasons to charge the right price and it’s not just about losing customers. 🙂
Hola!, me he encontrado casualmente con tu blog y me gusta mucho. Yo hago tartas ocasionalmente y me encuentro con el problema de no estar muy segura del precio a cobrar. He ido subiendo el precio (al principio era muy barato y me vi agobiada por la cantidad de encargos). Ahora cobro 3 € por ración ( calculo una ración de 5×5 cm) y aparte el modelaje…Les mando un ejemplo de una tarta con el tamaño y el precio. Me gustaría me orientaran si el precio les parece adecuado o no.
how do i write a disclaimer
I’m so happy that posts stay on the internet forever. Great information. Very informative and useful. Thank you so much!
all of this was great & helpful info, time to incorporate contracts
Creative piece ! I loved the points . Does anyone know where my company would be able to get a sample a form form to type on ?
I’m looking for a good cake contract. I just encountered “the customer from HELL” (excuse my french) this past weekend. She ordered a 3 tier Minion inspired birthday cake and 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes. I charged her $80, which I’ve been told is not enough. The cake turned out great and tasted great (I have the top in my freezer). However after the party the customer posted on Facebook that the cake was nasty and ripped me apart. She accused me of being racist among other things and said that I had it coming to me. However the pictures she posted showed plates that had obviously had cake eaten from them. I have refunded her money so now I’m out that $80, plus the ingredients for everything. I need advice on how to write into the contract that there are no refunds, fondant can’t be left in the heat (we are in South Mississippi), etc.
I know with my cakes. If people want a refund, it has to be at least 2 weeks before. So i dont make the actual cake & buy the supplies. And if the cake gets cut into, there are no refunds. If it grts made the way it’s ordered, Then photo the cake. And post it how you see fit. There will always be those who want everything for nothing. But here is a phrase i read on FB recently. “Good cake ain’t cheap. And cheap cake aint good.” Keep that in mind as food for thought.
$80 for all that?!
$80!?!?! So this cake and cupcakes took you only 6 hours start to finish at $10/hour and cost you only $20, or $10 plus profit and overhead?
Of course I am being facetious, and I have totally been there charging way too little for cakes….but that my friend is not low. That is free.
1st of all that cake alone should have cost no less than $150! And that’s at the LEAST! I charge that much for 2 tier 6″ and 8″ cake. 3 tiers is a lot of servings you surely could have charged $200! I charge $5 a serving for custom cakes. Then the cupcakes would have been at least another $30 and that’s for basic cupcakes with no fondant toppers! Don’t sell yourself short!
You should be charging at least $6.00 per slice ( if you have talent) Plus any delivery fees. I always take a photo of my cake before and after delivery for proof.
Yes you definitely didn’t charge enough.
I’m sorry you had the customer from hell. They don’t ever realize how much goes into a cake and much like photography; everyone thinks they can do it because they own a camera phone or a mixer.
Thank you So much for your generosity .
I love you cakes and blog thank you for this!!!!
Thank you so much for sharing this info…
My pleasure 🙂
My aunt Maureen, forwarded me this, very grateful to have been able to read and understand how essential it is to have a cake contract on hand when dealing with customers, so far I haven’t encountered any difficulties, but this would a good way to protect my cake business,and myself from future headaches, thank you very much for this ,
You are very welcome, Marina and thanks to your aunt Maureen for forwarding the info on!
We are military and my little cake business has been great as well as mobile. The military community is amazing and I have never had an issue with getting payment but I have had a few no show or non payment in the different communities we have been in and the contract is something I wish I would have used then it would have saved me a lot of head ache and hassle. The great thing about social media is you can build a reputation online in one area and will follow you. Being in the USAF we are a community within a community and we tend to see each other at different bases or know someone who knew someone we knew at our new duty station. Though Ive been retired (15 yrs LE) this allows me the time with my family and the ability to set my schedule and earn a little income without making the sacrifice that I see h new many women forced to make and I am so grateful. The kicker is learning the rules to each new state or country we are in and how to effectively run a “cake business” out of our home that is self sustaining in its own right. I wish there were better resources out there for effectively costing out a cake. Any ideas?
Wow that is incredible that you’ve had to uproot your business and move it around like that! But cool to hear that the military community has been both supportive and a good networking tool for you. Where else have you been stationed and could you tell us what were the differences between those places in terms of the cake rules?
You are not the first I’ve talked to who’s retired from the military and started running a home baking business. My friend, Shannon of Batter Up Cake Co. just did the same thing. I bet there are a lot of you out there, a whole other community within a community!
In terms of pricing, I’m working on a universal system for that. Stay tuned for a future blog post with more on that topic. Coming soon!
I cannot thank you enough. I am just getting started with my cake business and was not sure what to incorporated in a contract, as I know it is necessary to have. Both your site and your book has been more than helpful for a beginner such as my self. Again thank you and keep the information coming, it is greatly appreciated.
Hey Paulette, that’s great to hear! I stand behind small businesses and especially female entrepreneurs like you 🙂 I believe that if we all collectively support one another, we can all achieve more success and autonomy. So I will for sure keep the info flowing on this site! Always glad to help!
Thanks for the contract info. I love your blog!!
I love your book and look forward to the next one!
Thanks, Evelyn! Appreciate your feedback 🙂
thank you so much for the info on the cake contract. I don’t sell alot of cakes, but never know what to charge or how to set up a contract with a client. This is so helpful. Can you give me info on how much to charge for a cake?? I made a 3 tier Minnie Mouse cake, and only charged $80,and know it would have been much more from a professional bakery. Thank you for any help you can provide. PS. Love your site!!
Pamela, Read more about pricing here: http://www.wickedgoodies.net/wedding-cake-pricing/. It’s true that you could probably have charged more for a 3 tier cake like that. The tricky part however is that it’s necessary to work your way up when it comes to pricing. At first, as you’re building your photo portfolio and gaining experience, it’s better to undercut bakery prices to win more business and give yourself a chance to learn. Then, as your experience broadens, you can start charging more and eventually match bakery prices. – Kristen