Gift/Easter Basket Etiquette ... Advice?

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Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2015
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I've been asked to make some Easter baskets containing my products: soap, bath bombs, scrubs, lip balm.

Making the baskets is not the problem. The issue is that I just got done making Valentines Day bags and baskets and some folks who ordered baskets didn't pay for them. They didn't receive them after not paying, but that's not the point. To me the point is that I am a very small business and each basket that ordered to fill these orders was an expense and I won't be able to use these particular red baskets again til next Valentines Day.

So my question is: Do any of you ask that special order items like Holiday baskets be prepaid. If not, how do you deal with the "I'm going to order this and then 'disappear' when it's time to pay" folks?
I would at the very least request a deposit. It's frustrating when someone orders something then leaves you with the goods after a lot of time and effort has gone in. I don't do a lot of gift baskets anymore due to just that. For me it's mostly the storage issue.
I've only done a few custom orders. From family who I know will pay, I wait until I'm finished with the product. However, if I don't know the person or they aren't close family, I have a 50% total cost up front policy. That covers at least my materials if not a little more in some cases. The rest is due upon receipt. This was an important policy for me because I know people tend to back out. It's a non-refundable deposit.

If someone is serious about buying your baskets then a 50% down payment for it should not be a problem (and neither should paying full). I think it may help you determine who's a real customer and who's not.
Like the others, I ask for a percentage up front. If I have to go to extra expense, I think it's fair. Since I started doing this, I haven't had anyone order and not pick it up.
ETA: When I'm around a dollar store, I pick up containers, fillers and bags there, because then I'm only spending an extra 2 or 3 dollars each basket, versus 10 or so anywhere else.
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When I was first starting out, I found it hard to expect to be paid up front. It seemed so ... crass. But after getting burned by a few folks, like you have, I realized I'd rather get paid than not get paid. And I'd rather make and ship an order rather than have to put it back on the shelf.

So I taught myself to be pleasant, non-apologetic, and matter of fact about getting paid up front. This didn't come easy to me, but it's been a good decision that I don't regret.

My usual terms for orders I will deliver in a month or less are to pay in full with a check/cash or provide complete credit card information when the order is placed. For custom projects that take some months to finish, I ask for an up front payment of roughly 50% at the time the order is placed with balance due when the project is shipped. But I always get all or a fair chunk of money up front. I find it makes customers more committed to the work and more responsive to me if I have questions.

People really don't complain because that's pretty much the norm for most businesses, except for us small biz people who are still learning the ropes. We pay upfront at McDonalds. We pay before we leave the grocery store. We pay up front at a florists or gift shop even for a gift item that will be delivered to someone later.
I cannot imagine ordering any goods from a vendor without paying up front for at least materials and often for the entire purchase.... construction, landscaping, etsy buys, cakes, whatever.

I don't sell; however, I wouldn't bat an eye at being charged up front as a customer. If someone balks, I'd consider it an indication that he/she isn't a serious customer and be glad to avoid the aggravation they would cause. :)
Thank you all ... My 18 year old son said I was being too nice by not asking for at least a deposit on these Easter baskets after being burned a little on the Valentines Day bags/baskets. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to ask for at least a portion up front. However, the "nice guy" in me who wants to believe that most folks are trustworthy thought asking for a deposit might be looked at a little askance.

So, seeing that most of you who sell run your operations this way makes me feel more confident in making this a standard policy.

Sorry about not getting back to this thread sooner. We've had a little bit of a snow/rain/ice storm here and I had to go help dig my cousin out of a ditch. The joys of Country living ... lol
I think most people are trustworthy and honest too ... but we're all living busy lives and forget things due to other demands on our attention. Paying for a product or service in advance just sets that matter a little higher in a person's priorities, and that's not a bad thing for the buyer as well as the seller. I think asking for part or all payment can always be done in a polite, kind, matter of fact way, and no one will think the worse of you for having that policy.
Aw, Cenz every time I read one of your posts I think "what a nice guy!" I bet your Valentines baskets were fabulous. It's a shame that people backed out the way they did. I bet they didn't stop to think about the time and money you spent. And I agree with everyone else, you absolutely should ask for at least half the money upfront to protect your time and investment. Just be matter of fact about it. If they are serious customers then they will be fine with paying at least a portion up front just like buying a flower basket from a florist.

People were pressuring me to make a ton of Christmas themed baskets because they thought they would sell well. But I have a friend that got stiffed doing baskets a few years ago. She ended up stuck with a whole bunch of beautiful baskets and out a lot of money. So I made up just a few small baskets and of course none of them sold. On the bright side, they made great gifts for my son's teachers so it wasn't a waste (I also received really nice thank you cards from the teachers and that was awesome).

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