This time of year is pretty busy with inquiries from people who have just gotten engaged over the holidays.
However, you might also get someone who got engaged but who isn't going to be getting married until more than a year from now. Should you book cakes that far out, and if you do, what pricing should you use?
Personally, I don't book anything more than about ten months out at the most. I think that's long enough to hold someone's deposits, and things can change a lot in that amount of time. Six to eight months is the norm for most wedding cakes, but I've seen a trend of brides waiting until closer to the date to book their cakes, too. You need to decide for yourself what your cutoff will be, based on your experience with the brides on your area and what the average booking time is.
I definitely don't book anything more than a year in advance. Who knows what can happen in a year? On your end or on their end, things change.
Another issue that arises when you book way ahead is that of pricing. What happens if you book business between now and then and you raise your prices in the meantime? Sorry to tell you, you won't be able to raise the customer's price if they're contracted with you at another price.
It's very simple...If you're planning on raising prices, or if you do raise prices every year, you should book the cakes that will come after the date you raise your prices at the future rates. Once the customer signs the contract, that price is locked in unless they make design changes, so don't short yourself. You want to make sure that you're making a decent profit on every job, and charging last year's rates isn't going to do that.
You might want to try to get more bookings by advertising that clients can lock in this year's price if they book now, but if you do that a lot make sure you're not going to regret it. Raise this year's prices now, or you might end up being the victim of rising ingredient costs that you couldn't predict.
How far out do you book business, and what made you decide on that length of time? Leave a comment below.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.biz and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com