Yesterday, I read your blog about paying upfront and thought I would reach out to you for a little advice. I am getting married in November of this year and my friend recommended my florist. She is a lovely and talented woman and is wonderful at her craft, but I fear she is the artist-type: scattered all over the place and terribly creative yet chaotic as well. Upon hire, she was clear that she required a deposit before presenting me with a design, something I had no problem with. I paid the money and loved the design; she did exactly what I wanted and more. I was then instructed to pay in full, two weeks before my wedding. I agreed, thinking this was the standard practice. Since that day, I have began to hear some negative things about her business practice in terms of her being untimely and scattered. One bride said that she ran two hours late to her wedding and there was nothing they could do because they had paid up front. I have no problem paying for her work, but I worry I may be left in a powerless position should she not do what needs to be done on my wedding day.
What would you suggest I do?
First, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I find it to be such a shame that you need to be worrying about your florist at this special time.
There are many reasons why vendors like your florist, myself, and many others request payments up front.
Years ago, I asked that my clients to make their final payment the day of the wedding- once they were happy. I realized that was a huge mistake. I use to run around playing hide and seek with my clients, so I could be reimbursed for my services; it was not fun at all, to say the least.
There are two main reasons why vendors, especially small business owners, requests payments up front.
1. They need to finance your wedding. Before your wedding day, vendors need to make purchases to accommodate your wedding. They need to be able to pay for your flower arrangements or hire the proper staffing. Vendors would be putting themselves in risky situations if clients did not pay prior to the event. Remember that their profits are only a portion of your payment. There have even been occasions where I have been paid with a few bad checks the day before the event. In fact, I always suggest final payments at least two weeks prior to the event, with consideration of time for checks to clear.
2. Clients are not always scruples. In my humble opinion, clients always find a reason not to pay their full balance. I had a client tell me she was not paying the balance because the flowers were too open. I asked if she was joking. She was not.
As for your florist, you’ve already agreed to paying her prior to your wedding. Therefore, you can not go back on your verbal contract.
However, I think you might want to politely voice your concerns with your florist. Explain to her your hesitation and that you would feel more comfortable if she would allow you to hold back at least 20% of the balance.
Readers: Do you agree with my advice for the Bride? If you were the Bride, how would you have approached your florist? Please share your advice or thoughts for the Bride.
For more answers from Preston, order Dear Preston: Doing Business With Our Hearts on Amazon.