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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #1
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What to do about late payment??

I shot a wedding for a couple in early June of this year. They still have a balance due to me now. My policy is that the balance is due on the wedding day. I allowed some leway(sp?) around this, and delievered the finished DVD's to the couple in the middle of June. I have sent notices to them that the balance of payment is due every couple of weeks, and the woman is typically very unresposive with replies like "i will get you your money as soon as I can". Obvisously, in retrospect, I shouldnt have given the finished DVD's without the complete payment, so lesson learned there. Question is, what is the best way to go about getting my balance due? Collections agency perhaps? Also, they did sign a contract that clearly states that balance was due on the wedding day. any help would be appreciated.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:43 AM   #2
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Attorney. Have him/her write a letter on intimidating letterhead.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #3
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Well Travis you blew this one. You blew it by delivering them their wedding video. I had 2 clients this year that were to pay up front. One family I knew really well and the other one was strictly a client. The client job was in June and they haven't paid me yet and I have their videos sitting here. The next family I job I did I gave them everything knowing they'd mail the remaining balance. I have a feeling the clients will be the ones to pay and want their stuff and the family clients will not pay. I lost that money by giving them everything ahead of time. Will I do another job for them? Yeah with the balance from the last job added on top as a fine. Keep trying but you pretty much lost this one. Sorry for sounding a lil on the negative side, but that's the reality. Hope it all works out.

Monday
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:51 AM   #4
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This is one reason i no longer work with open accounts after the wedding. 85% of the time, they blow their cash on the honeymoon, 10% of the time, their photographer's albums have blown their budgets, and the last 5 are incident excuses.

In any case, I wont hit record until the money is in my hand... they will see me standing around doing nothing until payment is provided... in the 58 weddings I did in the last year, only one client paid me at the end of the reception, but they were referrals and they were relying on cash gifts from their clients to pay me. The others all pay 21 days before the wedding.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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Attorney. Have him/her write a letter on intimidating letterhead.

This would be my vote. And then have that same attorney look over your contract to make sure you are covered for next time. The other thing the attorney can do is offer, legally, a payment plan for the client, incase they are truley having money problems, and not just trying to rip you off.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #6
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Another option is to get a collection agency involved, you'll get your money then, no one wants it to affect their credit.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 10:08 AM   #7
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Probably going the collection agency route. My friend works for one, so that helps. I certainly would give this couple a break if they would actually respond to my emails and phone calls and give me a viable reason why it is taking so long. It gets a bit frustraing when I get one line responces saying "ill get the payment to you eventually"
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Old September 24th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Monday Isa View Post
Well Travis you blew this one. You blew it by delivering them their wedding video. I had 2 clients this year that were to pay up front. One family I knew really well and the other one was strictly a client. The client job was in June and they haven't paid me yet and I have their videos sitting here. The next family I job I did I gave them everything knowing they'd mail the remaining balance. I have a feeling the clients will be the ones to pay and want their stuff and the family clients will not pay. I lost that money by giving them everything ahead of time. Will I do another job for them? Yeah with the balance from the last job added on top as a fine. Keep trying but you pretty much lost this one. Sorry for sounding a lil on the negative side, but that's the reality. Hope it all works out.

Monday
Exactly. I delivered a final product to a friend of the family who I already gave a great discount before she paid me. That was several months ago and still no money. I have to assume now that I will never get it even though I see her every week at church. She has to avoid me now all the time. If I had insisted on payment before delivery, none of this would have happened. I now have a strict "No dough, no show" policy (from 3 Amigos :) to collect a reservation fee at booking, half the remaining amount by the wedding date and the other half on delivery.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 12:43 PM   #9
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This can be tricky, especially if it is a friend.

I think your only defense in this industry is to not tape their event if they do not pay on the day of.

You can prep them well in advance that there will be no filming unless I am paid in full before the ceremony.

Otherwise, you still do a lot of work and after seeing the catering bills, they can blow you off.

Not an easy situation, but more prosessional you can be up front, the better they will treat you.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #10
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How much is the balance?

I've had this happen once, it was due to some bad circumstances that happened with the family after the wedding. In our case, the photos weren't delivered so they are still saying, a year later, that they will make the balance ASAP.

If the balance is less than $1k I would probably let it go. By the time you pay for collections or whatever other route you look at, plus the time involved, it becomes at very hard route to take.

Now that they have the DVDs and it has been a while, chances are- if they have waited this long- you won't see that final payment regardless of how you go about it.

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Old September 24th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #11
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Mate you have to be ruthless NEVER give out DVD's unless FULL payment is made.

The way i operate is Payment in FULL 4weeks before the wedding that is it.

When you have a mortgage to pay you really need to get payed before the wedding. I learned the hard way awhile ago and this is my policy and being upfront with it people are fine but you have to deliver in the time frame you specify

Rob.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #12
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I'd be very clear with them and say that you simply need your money. If they don't respond with a clear time at which you will be paid (ie tell them by the end of the month), then you will get a collection agency involved. In fact, tell them some details. "Such and such agency, and they suggested that I..."

Be as nice as possible, but if you need the money, it isn't unreasonable.


For the future, I agree with getting paid for the wedding at the time.

I'm not sure if you really need to go as far as 4 weeks before (they don't even know you'll show up then), but at the time of the wedding is good, or, CERTAINLY, before you give them the DVDs.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 06:24 PM   #13
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How do you work taking payment when the DVD is ready

How long after the wedding do they get there DVD's on average for me it's 4 to 6 months i know i couldn't wait that long to get payed

This is stated to the couple before they book and i guess it works on reputation as well

At the time of the wedding do you mean the day of the wedding to recieve payment if so how does that work what happens if they dont have it what then.

Rob.
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Old September 24th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #14
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Travis,

Like it or not, you're S.O.L. on this one. I don't know what the balance is but honestly, is THAT amount going to make or break you? Probably not. So, chalk it up to experience and move on.

You could go through all that B.S. trying to recover your loss but how much more time, effort, and expense is that going to cost?

You've learned a valuable, though costly, lesson. Everyone pays up front. If they don't have the cash to pay now, there's a likelihood they won't have it later either.

I charge 50% due at the time of contract signing and I always require a signed contract (Comes from getting burned.) The balance is due the day of the shoot PRIOR to any recording. No exceptions.

I'm polite to potential and current customers but I'm not getting burned again. If they can't accept my policies, I cannot accept their business.

Jeff
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Old September 24th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #15
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Jeff

You take 50% on sign of contract and then the rest on the day of wedding what if they say sorry we forgot the money are you going to walk away that wont look good for you wouldn't it be better taking the money lets say the week of the wedding.

Rob.
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