Time and time again I see bakers and crafters complaining that they accepted an order, spent money on items to make said order, and then never heard from the person ordering again. Here’s the thing, if you’re selling a product to the public you’re a business. Period. You absolutely need to take things seriously. I have a very clear cut policy. For orders over $150 a retainer of 50% has to be made to secure your order. Final payment must be made 14 days before order pickup or delivery. If the order is under $150, full payment must be made to book the order. There’s no room for negotiation on my policy. This is my business and I treat it as such. If you don’t or can’t take it seriously, then why would you expect your clients to?
Why do I adamantly call it a retainer and never a deposit? Because a retainer is just that. Someone is retaining your services. That fee is automatically non-refundable. A deposit, by law, is actually refundable. And no, you cannot call it a non-refundable deposit and have it be that way. Type yourself up a contract and make sure you’re using the word ‘retainer’ and have your terms and conditions clearly and directly stated. This contract should be a part of every order. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, but you should always have one.
Your business may be going great and you don’t use contracts or require retainers. That’s fine, but why wouldn’t you want to cover yourself just in case? Think of it as an insurance policy. We have policies on our vehicles, homes, and even lives. We may not use them, but if something happens we have them.