Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: Session 31

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                                                                                                                                                    image via Posh Floral Designs 

Question:

How do fellow designers handle a client cancellation? I have been experiencing several a season for the past few years. They span from 6 months notice to less than a month's notice many times preventing me from booking another event on the day. It's a sensitive subject given the client's emotional state and heartbreak, but I have also taken a substantial loss on my annual income. I would be interested to know do designers have cancellation clauses in their contract and are they finding this to be a growing problem in their market as well?

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The Answers:

Each designer will handle this differently and feel differently about the outcome or end result of a cancellation. Because our studio does so many events each year or each weekend, cancellations are often a blessing or a much needed rest. I have always been of the mind set that if I get a weekend off, I will take it. Unfortunately the cancellations typically come on the weekends when you are in need of the income. In this instance I keep the deposit which is usually very small as I do not believe in taking a good portion of the flower money in advance. My deposits are usually in the $500.00 range or for larger scaled events, the deposit is 10 percent.  I operate my business with a compassionate and concerned heart. I want clients to have a good feeling about our studio and our ethics. I accept the loss beyond the deposit with faith that something else was meant for our studio. A crazy business practice I am sure, but it has worked for us for 21 years. In some rare instances I will completely return the deposit if I have not spent countless hours working on the event. Some of our deposits are actually gathered before we even meet with a client so my time investment is rather small. In addition to this, because we can handle several events, a new booking from a client does not inhibit us from taking another event so in actuality the cancellation really didn't mess anything up. I believe that what was meant for us will happen.

-Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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It's a very difficult situation; however it depends hugely on how much notice the client has given and also if you have purchased anything beforehand in preparation for their day.  If it's solely time and admin, then we do not charge anything.  This has happened a few times where, for example, they have had to cancel as they become an expecting parent or they have suffered a bereavement which has halted everything. So leaving on good terms means they are more likely to return when they are ready again.

Gemma Bain (Planet Flowers)

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I've never had a cancellation once the contract is signed. In the contract it's specified very clearly the terms for cancellation. Even though I haven't had this problem, I hear about it all the time and it seems to increase. In my opinion, the best way to prevent it is have a good contract. If you are not sure about how to put it in writing I suggest that you hire a solicitor or lawyer. In the long run it will save you money!

-Emelie Ekborg (Svenska Blomsterbloggar)

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We ask clients to pay us a non-refundable deposit of 30% to secure the event date. This means that we will then limit the amount of other work we take on for the day of their event. In the event of cancellation we keep hold of the deposit; however there are no additional charges to pay unless the client cancels less than a week before the event (i.e. after we have placed our flower order with our wholesaler). Fortunately cancellation only happens once or twice a year.

-Nick Priestly (Mood Flowers)

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Thanks Nick, Emelie, Gemma & Holly!

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Leaving you with a few beauties designed by Expert Panel Member, Alicia (Bella Fiori)…

_MG_1700 bella fiori

Rustic-Burgundy-Centerpiece-300x451 bella fiori

stylemeprettycp bella fiori

four-seasons-denver-wedding-decor3 (1) bella fiori

IMG_3497 bella fiori

Have a great Wednesday! Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences regarding cancellations. We’d love to hear from you!

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