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Old September 1st, 2017, 10:42 AM   #1
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Client wants to edit my contract

New client, one-day shoot, back-of-the-keynote conference kind of stuff. We'd shoot it (one cam), take it back and clean up the heads and tails, put on lower thirds, add a title at the beginning and a logo at the end.

Client picks us and secures the date. It's a couple weeks away. Client asks for a contract. I don't say this to them, but a one-day shoot with this kind of edit I wouldn't usually prepare a contract. We have a scope in writing and everyone has agreed to it.

I prepare the contract and send it over as a pdf. Client asks for the .doc copy so they can edit it. I pick up the phone and level with her, look, I don't care, redline whatever you want.

Next day comes and she e-mails again that she wants a .doc copy so she can edit it again. I ask why; she wants to add some stuff. What kind of stuff? Insurance stuff. I already provided a COI, that seems moot. I tell her if she wants to add stuff to the contract, just write it up and I'll sign it. I don't want to send over my contract in .doc form so she can edit it, and I don't want to have to fine tooth comb it to see what they add, but I'm not an objectionable guy, just write down whatever they want and I'll review it and sign it. All is well and we get off the phone.

Hours go by and e-mail comes in that her boss says if they can't edit my contract to include their language that they will have to go with somebody else.

In 10 years I have never lost a client over something this petty and stupid. That said, the big red "pain-in-the-ass" sign is flashing in my head.

Cut bait and let this one go, yes?
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Old September 1st, 2017, 10:58 AM   #2
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Why don't you just send the document as requested and then use word's features to show the changes, which you can review and agree to or not. You want them to simply add stuff which will probably be ok, but you want them to retype it? Just send them the document. They probably think you are being awkward. Usually I issue contracts, but if one client wishes to do it the other way around, I'm happy just adding the critical sections to theirs? Does it really matter.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 11:20 AM   #3
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

or ....

Plan B:
become an "employee" and charge rental on the gear.

Labor: $99.99 per hour for up to 6 hours (< $600), 6 hours max. (they don't need to report to IRS < $600.)
and come up with a equipment rental price for the shoot then another one for the editing based on a different hourly rate for the computer but just happens to include the operator but not identified as such.

Client provides a "supervisor" during the shoot to tell you what to shoot, and then again during the edit.
Client keeps footage then you're outa here.

Otherwise, I'd be really leery about what they're after, and my Plan A is "yes" to your question. Definitely not worth the stress.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Let them edit the document,after all it is only a contract when both parties have signed it in agreement.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 11:52 AM   #5
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Ya, I'd send them the contract in editable form. I mean, it sounds like you're kind of OK with them making changes/additions. So why not make it easier on their end.

Then look out for an addition where you agree to indemnify them against anything.
Indemnification Provisions in Contracts | Nolo.com

And if there is such an (or any other) addition, consider raising your rate to cover the cost of extended insurance, and/or the time they're making you spend on this.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 11:59 AM   #6
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Interesting. I posted the same (word-for-word same) question in a facebook group and got 100% the opposite response.

I cut the client loose and wished them luck with their event.

Thank you for your responses!
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Old September 1st, 2017, 01:25 PM   #7
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
That said, the big red "pain-in-the-ass" sign is flashing in my head
I think you answered your own question in the first place.
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 02:29 AM   #8
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Professionals understand the necessity of contracts, Facebook understands memes....

I'm guessing that this could have been covered in a 3-5 page contract, maybe a bit more with boilerplate. Maybe the client has an attorney on retainer that wanted to earn a little extra, but I can't imagine why they couldn't scribble down a couple paragraphs if there was really a big "issue" or a clause they felt they needed, and ask you if you could add those in...

You've probably dodged a bullet, but don't be surprised if your caller ID flashes their # when they can't find a replacement on short notice who will play their games on contracts. You're there for a simple video shoot, you shouldn't need a legal team reviewing terms and conditions.
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 04:56 AM   #9
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

There's a fine line between that gut reaction forcing a "stuff-it" and conciliatory action.

I've actually done exactly the same this month - told the client I cannot work with their agency as all they do is block questions, talk in some kind of strange language, and filter communications and add interminable delay to a simple process. Shall we add X? results in three weeks of communications and the response "why?", my response then starts it off again. In the old days, I called the MD, asked the question, got a no, and moved on. So I gave up, and walked away.
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 09:15 AM   #10
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

Mike,

IMHO it sounds like they're sorta copping an ego trip. As you mentioned, if they're so adamant on it they should have their own boilerplate contracts to send to the videographers they farm work out to, and let you approve or decline it. Last thing you need is some rando putting her 'internet lawyer cap' on and writing legalese herself. Could be a trainwreck if something were to legitimately go wrong (someone trips over an extension cord).

Sending them a .doc and asking they highlight or put the changes in another color is an option, and I don't know how but Paul mentioned Word can show you what revisions were made, cool concept. Chances are they were looking to add alot of blanket statements about if there's a lawsuit they wouldn't be liable or something like that.

I had a wedding couple become a bit picky over my contract. I reached out to a lawyer about having one drafted but was quoted about $1000. I only saw photo contracts on rocketlawyer, not video. Then if I revise theirs I'm right back where I started from. They still booked with me, just some rewording which in the end made little difference or me explaining why that was.

Anyway they sound amatuerish, considering they're having some non-legal person do the contract writing. Next time reply with a charge saying 'Any revisions need to be approval by outside counsel'.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 06:36 PM   #11
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

"outside counsel" @ $150/hr. or appropriate local rate.... billed in advance.
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Old September 3rd, 2017, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: Client wants to edit my contract

I think it's safer to let it go but you might have said " my solicitor has drawn up my contract and any changes would have to be approved by him, this would incur a $500 fee and take 3 weeks
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