Let’s talk about cancellations, deposits, refund requests and YOUR BUSINESS….
First, this is your business, which means you don’t have to do things my way.
What I do doesn’t have to be what you do. I recognize that there’s a lot to consider around postponing and pushback and you can watch a replay of my live Q&A where I address real florists’ questions.
Because what strikes me over the last couple of weeks/days is how florists are feeling sensitive and defensive about their own decisions.
For example, if a florist chooses to refund a deposit or partial deposit due to a COVID “situation”, that doesn’t mean that YOU have to refund and it doesn’t mean that you’re being judged or that you’re a bad person if you choose to keep a deposit.
It’s not unwise to amend your terms under these circumstances in order to reach an agreement with your clients.
HOWEVER YOU CHOOSE TO PROCEED UNDER THE CURRENT CONDITIONS IS UP TO YOUR BUSINESS POLICIES.
Ideally, your heart and mind are at peace with how you choose to proceed.
As a lawyer in my group put it:
You can be just as creative, and collaborative with your clients, regarding altering contract terms to fit the times, as you are in doing design work and taking care of your clients in the happier, floral area of your business.“
Frank Sinatra said, well sang, “I did it my way”….and that’s the situation you’re in now.
You have to do things your way.
There’s no real precedent to look to or feel protected by.
And you’ll have to face the music based on whatever you decide to do.
So for example, if you refund, you have to have that money in your checking account in order to return it. (This is why it’s a best practice to NOT spend deposits. If god forbid you are ill or unable to perform the terms of the contract you should have that money to refund.)
If you don’t refund (because “a contract’s a contract” OR because you straight up do not have the money), then that’s your policy….however, you should be prepared to receive refund requests from clients AND be prepared to explain your policies.
Because while you may have a “no refunds policy”, you still may have to handle pushback…or even worse, you may find you have to contact your lawyer because a client threatens to sue or defame your business. (Sadly, something I’ve heard 2 stories of in the last 24 hours!)
It’s likely that you’ll have clients who accept your policy, too….because not everyone sees things the same way.
You can be reasonable with clients and they won’t be reasonable with you.
Your contract may or may not “cover you”.
And let’s be clear here: No one knows how their contract will hold up because no florist has been tested like this before. So anyone who’s telling you they “won’t refund” doesn’t actually know if that’s true yet…they may be tested (ie sued or threatened with a suit)….and they may very well choose to settle.
It’s a risk. That’s why we have business insurance and LLCs and S-Corps and contracts to define the terms of the services we’ll provide….because we want to attempt to mitigate our risk.
But you cannot avoid risk altogether as a business owner.
That’s the story of (and the glory of) entrepreneurship.
And it’s why I keep suggesting you ask your lawyer for legal advice–not other florists.
I know this is really hard to navigate.
It’s devastating to the wedding industry as a whole.
And the truth is, we were living in a pretty sweet little bubble as wedding pros for a long while so this just plain old hurts.
I feel ya, Floralpreneurs. Keep moving forward and we will keep doing beautiful work together.