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Taking Care of Business
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Old April 7th, 2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Film Only (No Editing) Job

Hi,
I have had some clients recently that only needed, not filming.

Do you usually get a downpayment (50%?) and then when do you get the balance for the filming?

I usually copy the footage over to the clients laptop at the end of the shoot date.

Would everything upfront be reasonable for future jobs like this?
(some of these these jobs are under $1000)

I always use a signed contract, but in a couple of rare cases, the client did not pay the same shoot date and I never got paid the balance.
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Old April 7th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

I get a deposit for booking the time to shoot.
I require remainder of payment before transferring the footage.

It's VERY EASY these days. I've been use Square to take credit card payments on my iPhone (works on Android as well) at the end of a shoot.

https://squareup.com/
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Old April 7th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

Never take a DEPOSIT-take a RETAINER. According to my lawyer(s) over the years, a deposit can be forced to be refunded where as a retainer can not as they are retaining you for a certain date, amount of time and certain work to be performed. As for not using a written service agreement, I NEVER and I mean NEVER work without one. Again as my lawyer has told me over the years, "if it's not in writing, it doesn't exsist" there is no such thing as a gentlemans agreement anymore. As for payment, I agree. When you pay you'll get the footage. Especially with new clients. Once they have established themselves with me over a period of time, I might be a bit more open about it.
For instance, I had a corporate client for over 16 years. I did at least one job a month for them. Every month. For 2 years every job got a service agreement and I got a check when the finished product was delivered. It wasn't until I went to MExico with them and they paid all of my expenses upfront that I figured I could lighten up a bit on the payment. They were on of the few ongoing accounts receiveable I had but they were golden. Paid like a champ on the 15th of every month after they got my monthly invoice. We had a service agreement that covered the entire year of work as we had it pretty well planned out and if changes were needed we made them and did a new agreement.
Without it in writing you stand a good chance of not getting paid. Don't let that happen.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #4
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

So get the payment before transfering the footage? Sounds good.

What about when your shooting all day and you copy some of it over during different parts of the same day?
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Old April 9th, 2012, 04:19 AM   #5
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

Retainers for work are a bit rarer here in the UK, and I don't think I have ever had one. Many of us work for clients that we either know, or have colleagues who recommended us when they were already booked. In these cases, the usual sequence is phone call enquiring with the fee and other basic details but essentially an "are you available on Xth May?". Then a text or call to the person who put you up for the job. If they are positive, then an email or two back and forth to sort job details. Then you do the job. Then the invoice and if all is ok, payment within 30 days. Only this week the contract arrived for the work I did last week and have already invoiced. Rather unusually I actually didn't agree with a few of the terms - mainly gagging clauses that prevent me from using the job on my website, or on a CV? never had that one before. It's not using clips from the job - it is mentioning the big American publishing company in any shape or form on my website. The job was quite simple, and for the time taken, ok money wise.

I've never had contracts signed before the job with them, they're always last minute. I would love to have the retainers and deposits the wedding people can manage, but for my line of business it's never going to happen.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

Let me clarify please.
IF you know the client and have done work prior and they haven't screwed you and you're comfortable with them then of course it's a toss up. Get the money upfront or???????
Not every job comes in 10 days before so it can all be a nice neat package. I've gotten calls at 4AM for a 7AM crew call. If I know the client..... I'm there. Of course it also depends on the type of work.
You need to use your best judgement and good common sense.
For exapmleI just signed a client that nneds a 3 minute narrative for their website. I know the guy but nothing other than the concept was done before papaerwork and money was taken care of. About a month ago I got a call from a client that forgot to make arrangement for someone to video their 2 day seminar. Go figure.
I got the call 2 days before the job. Agree'd to the job, had them sign the paperwork the first day of the job, shot the job, turned the tapes over to them and got paid for the job 45 days later. HOWEVER, I've done work for them before so I felt OK about the arrangement.
Having said all of that, sometimes you just have to with your gut. Shoot the job, transfer the files to their HDD and invoice them cause there aren't as many companies out there that will pay COD. If you have the proper paperwork before then at least if they don't pay you have SOMETHING to go after them with.
Again, every situation is a bit different. I always try to get a signed agreement and money before the job.
I should have explained better in my previous post. Sorry.
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Old April 9th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #7
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

I like turn over the footage jobs for good clients. Clients that aren't good ones are a different matter. As a practical matter, the very first job with a new client determines whether there will be other jobs with them. If I don't get paid, it's the last job for them. But in my experience, good clients aren't looking for a one time job anyway. They're looking for vendors they can establish a good working relationship with.

I'm glad that Don gave the same advice about retainers back when I was starting up my business. It has served me well. It's a lot different with corporate clients than with wedding clients. The good corporate clients of mine, I can just send them a bill. No problems. The bad ones, well, I find out about them the very first job, at the latest, but now with a little experience, more often and not, I can "sniff them out" upon the first phone call, or second email. Again, good clients are looking for good vendors they can work with. Someone that can help them with their problems. When you get the sense it's a one time deal, be very careful. Also, vague promises of future work, and evasive answers to your questions... You get the idea. Check them out. Google is your friend.

Not every good corporate client of mine has the same payment schedule, but they are consistent with their own schedules. I have one that sends out direct deposits every two weeks to their vendors. One or two have the check waiting the day I show up. Most of the others are 30 day net. A couple of others, with more layers of bureaucracy take longer, but are still reliable at paying their bills.

Bad prospects give off warning signals. Evasive answers, as opposed to a genuine lack of knowledge, is a big clue. It's not exactly cut and dry. My wife's intuition has spotted crooks several times before my logical male approach did.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

I have found that repeat clients that were really good the first time can try to get you to give them a deal the second time or not pay the balance the second time. So, unless its a large company or government, I think I will be sure to get fully paid before giving over any final product. Recently I had someone interested in me doing a project for them, they asked for discount, and I said no, I have not heard back from them, but they sounded like at the time of meeting that still wanted to hire me. I am always wary of people who ask for deals and bargains because it means they probably think I am not worth the price thus possibibly they won't pay the end balance. Going after them is fine if you have time, but if its a small amount usually it does not seem worth the trouble, at least IMO, allthough threatening usually works well.
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Old April 12th, 2012, 07:23 AM   #9
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

Well, I haven't had any good clients go bad yet. However, friends of mine have told me about clients of theirs deciding to do the work "in house."

It reminded me of my previous career back in the medical laboratory. Work we did was in house, and other testing was sent to a reference lab.

Back then we used to have a standing joke for the doctor's and their staffs regarding the difference between our in house work, with quality that "smelled like a rose" vs. the quality of the "out house work" that stank by comparison.

Somehow I need to think of a way to turn that analogy around if I have have a client wanting to take their video work in house.
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Old April 12th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #10
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Re: Film Only (No Editing) Job

Thanks for the replys guys!
Everybody client is different and can change is the name of the game.
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