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Old January 29th, 2018, 11:30 PM   #1
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Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Hi all,

I have been working for a client for awhile and the original contact person for this company (tv producer for major network) would sign contracts for the work we did (film only on shoots)....and no problems.

Now, the contact person changed to someone higher up the company and this person doesn't want to sign any contracts. The words were "we don't go into any contractual agreement with any of our production staff."

We are a separate company that has been hired by them about 10 times. The last couple times their payments were extremely late and we dealt with bounced checks. This company also avoided paying a very low late fee for the balance which was months overdue which is extremely annoying.

They brought in a lot of good business previously but we feel uncomfortable without some sort of signed agreement with their recent behavior.

Advice???

Also, they now want every clip (B roll and all) to be named which seems not only like a time sucker but unnecessary. Please advice our team!

Last edited by Silas Barker; January 29th, 2018 at 11:32 PM. Reason: forgot something
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Old January 30th, 2018, 02:14 AM   #2
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

If these requests are in writing with a paper trail as in emails, then they do form a contract, so if you advise them that naming b roll and other media tagged as potentially unused or long will incur a cost because it takes so long to do, and then they still request it, you can bill it and here in the UK, the court would look favourably on it. However, with their past payment history, I would NOT work without backup. It could be his brief is to get work without contract because there is an intention to not pay. Do you have the old contacts private email.mif you got on, ask his advice, now he's gone he could be helpful.
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Old January 30th, 2018, 03:36 AM   #3
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

I'm inclined to go further and recommend that you call their bluff and leave a contract with them to sign. You should also be getting payment up front given their history of being late - let it be their burden and not yours.

You may be concerned about losing a client, but it's better than doing a heap of time-wasting work and not getting paid ... and then losing them anyway. (If you lose them up front then it's a win for you as you get to spend that time productively on another client.)

Right now they simply don't respect you. Change that, and be prepared to lose them in the process if that is what it takes.

Andrew
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Old January 30th, 2018, 08:24 PM   #4
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

If they go bankrupt or file Chapter 11, give some thought about what there is to show or prove there is money owing.

In my younger years while working my way through college the business went bankrupt and it took about two years to get paid and that was as even as an employee, and employees are basically top of the list for being paid if there is any money available. Some on-line research (in your spare time!) might be worthwhile.

Speaking of research, if they're an exchange listed company there will be pages about their business and how D&B is raining them. Even non-listed companies will have raiting. While not the holy grail about if one would get paid or not, it'd provide insight for decision making purposes.

What happened to the former contact? Is he still around, can one talk to him about the company's financial situation?

Based on their recent past payment history and the new situation, it appears very dicy from where I sit. If you didn't have much doing at the time where you're not making anything, then maybe go for it. If you have any other productive paying work, then weigh the risk.

Negotiate a partial payment the day of, and before, the shoot? Partial at the first review? This type of system is typically with professional A&E contractors. Even large construction contracts will have a "Move In" partial payment. Doesn't hurt to remind them about the slow payments in the past and that it leaves you uneasy and you don't want to waste your time for nothing.

Though call.
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Old January 30th, 2018, 09:38 PM   #5
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

An email is the next best thing. We will provide a, b,c service for $. Payment 30 days past due fee... etc. Invoice attached...

The not paying is more troubling than not signing a contract.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 12:47 AM   #6
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

In view of their past record I'd want a substantial payment/deposit up front, progress payments, balance on completion. A contract isn't going to protect you if they disappear or go bankrupt.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 01:13 PM   #7
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Thanks for all the replies guys. The company is WGST / Food Quest with a show on the Food network. Unfortunately they refused to do any sort of contract and told me they would find someone else. I offered then the chance to do their own contract and they said no. Really weird if you ask me!

They had hired us for about 10 segments and we're very happy with our work. Hit a nerve I guess trying to keep things on paper.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 07:30 PM   #8
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

I know you feel bad about losing the client but it might be for the best. While I think you were too inflexible about the signing, like Rainer said you should have required some upfront payment or a late fee penalty and he very well could have baulked at that and gone else where. Better to part now than later when you’re owed a substantial sum.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
I'm inclined to go further and recommend that you call their bluff and leave a contract with them to sign. You should also be getting payment up front given their history of being late - let it be their burden and not yours.

You may be concerned about losing a client, but it's better than doing a heap of time-wasting work and not getting paid ... and then losing them anyway. (If you lose them up front then it's a win for you as you get to spend that time productively on another client.)

Right now they simply don't respect you. Change that, and be prepared to lose them in the process if that is what it takes.

Andrew
Umm, yeah, I'd get full payment up front. If they hesitate about you 'delivering,' then pull the contract back out. And around the mulberry bush, we go... Ditto Ditto Ditto to the rest of Andrew. It's like we had the same thoughts.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 08:20 PM   #10
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I know you feel bad about losing the client but it might be for the best. While I think you were too inflexible about the signing, like Rainer said you should have required some upfront payment or a late fee penalty and he very well could have baulked at that and gone else where. Better to part now than later when you’re owed a substantial sum.
Just to be clear, the request for signing a contract was very flexible and open to negotiation. I even offered to sign their own contract. We did have a late fee that they refused to pay from the last job and that's why I requested future jobs to be in writing. And they had given downpayments in the past but then stopped. The guy Dan Dailey called the contract stuff nonsense and was extremely rude. The reason I opened up this post was because I thought that maybe tv producers don't sign contracts or something but that's ridiculous!
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Old January 31st, 2018, 08:22 PM   #11
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Here's Dan Dailies email to me which I got while at a shoot and unable to respond by his deadline of that day:

"We have lots of shooters in your area we can work with, therefore if you want to continue to work with us you can stop the nonsense about a contract otherwise we will just send all the business for the next twenty episodes to be produced in 2018 to other companies and individuals. Your choice, we need an answer by 4PM EST today, at which time we will start booking production with your competitors."
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Old January 31st, 2018, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

I'm thinking the bluffing, rudeness and pressure is done deliberately for a reason ... they are hiding from their financial issues being part of the discussion.

Let them be the one to blink.

It's entirely possible that they are working with you because you are the only one left who will tolerate them. No proper business would work with them without a contract or other written record of what the working arrangement is. Stand firm and stick to your guns.

Andrew

PS. They still owe you that late fee.
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Old January 31st, 2018, 09:03 PM   #13
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

I agree they want a contractor they can delay paying that’s why they don’t want to sign a contract. So either you’re going need to accept that unless they’re bluffing. Either way you’ll be chasing them for payment if you continue working for them.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 10:43 AM   #14
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silas Barker View Post
Now, the contact person changed to someone higher up the company and this person doesn't want to sign any contracts.
Simple, stop doing any work for them and do not hand over existing material if it was done without a contract and you did not get paid for it.

It's not an MP, it's a YP!

Last edited by Cary Knoop; February 1st, 2018 at 01:17 PM.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 12:54 PM   #15
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Re: Client doesnt want to sign a contract???

Based on the email and what you’ve mentioned before, the guy really has an attitude. Did a little sleuthing (very little) and it’s been difficult to come up with anything. The TV station (or is it really aradio station?) appears to be the outfit in charge but really couldn’t find anything on it.

According to Wikipedia, WGST are the call letters for a talk-radio station, AM 640, in Atlanta, Georgia. Class B with 50,000 watts daytime and 1,000 W nighttime.

Web page: Home | Foodquest

The attempt at a glitzy web page is as simple as it gets. All the links in the top bar do is to get you is to further down the page. Could have been put together by a high school kid.

CORPORATE OFFICE:
1650 BROADWAY
NEW YORK, NY 10019
+1 (212) 245-2855

Corporate office? What does it take to become a “Corporation”? Just did a search for the address and Google came up with a street view … even though it’s on “Broadway”, name is nice enough, it looks kinda on the sleazy side if you ask me, but then I don’t know New York. No company name on the building, as a guess they probably have a rented room and just capitalizing on the name recognition of the street address

Without a room number one couldn't mail them a legal document. It would be interesting to visit the lobby and find out if their name shows up on a mailbox or Tennant list. Years ago I did some research for a business in New York City that provided reciprocity education and licensing information and found out that it was a one-man part-time "business" operation and he rand it out of his bedroom. When I talked to him he had to cut the conversation short because he had to go to work! My investigation was for a person a contractor was submitting to be approved as their Quality Control Engineer position on a Government contract. There are a lot of scammers and fly-by-night outfits, some try to sweet-talk you and others try it the opposite way.

On the web site, the mention about all the travel sort of looks like they’re milking a vacation tax write-off (airline flights, hotels, food, sight seeing excursions, fancy restaurants, etc.) for the “corporate” parties involved.

“Our Partners”: Trying to ride on someone else’s reputation? Wonder what their definition of a “partner” is? Bought a 15 second spot?

STUDIOS:
5451 NW 24TH STREET, BLDG 2
MARGATE, FL 33063
+1 (212) 245-2855

This address in street view looks better but, again, is the whole building or just a suite? Based on street view it appears each suite could be as little as the width of two parking stalls so an on-the-ground visit would be helpful.

Maybe the video guy he has in mind is the same one who threw together their web page?

As an aside, one of the searches brought this up on page two of the search results but I couldn’t find any connection, but still, an interesting read even if a bit off subject:
https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports...art-new-488216

Bottom line, considering the difficult new person one has to deal with and their past payment history … it appears to be more of a headache and stress producer than it’s worth.
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