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Old June 18th, 2005, 10:07 AM   #1
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Booking fees? Contract work? How do you handle it?

Since I'm just starting out, most of my client-base is coming from referals from a DJ aquantence of mine. He was the DJ for my wedding, and wanted to help get my business off the ground by refering people interested in videography to me.

About a month ago, he called me up saying he had a bride that was interested in hiring me. He told me he quoted the bride double my price(i'm charging $200 for a two camera, one manned camera package) he told me he felt my services were worth more then what I was charging. I think said something about a booking fee, but my phone was breaking up, so we arranged to meet up about 30 minutes before meeting the bride so we can get everything straight.

A week later he and I met up with the client. Unfortunately he was late, 45 minutes late to be exact, so we didn't get a chance to sort out the details. He gave her his contract for his services, and I gave her my contract for my services. I told her she can either pay me by cash or check, or if she wanted to, pay the DJ the whole thing, and he will give me the money. After the bride leaves, we chat a bit, pretty much talking about how I can't make any money by charging so low. NEVER did they mention charging me for referring clients, so I figured I must have heard wrong.

He calls me a few days later, telling me about a client in South florida thats interested in a video package, and asked about my willingness to travel. I tell him I'll go 70 miles in either direction without charging, but any farther then that, I will have to charge a fair mileage price to help offset travel expenses.

Here's where it gets intersting, On wed, I talk to the bride (the one we both talked to) saying she paid the DJ the deposit. I call the DJ, and he says to call back tomorrow and talk to his wife, since she handles all the paperwork. I call a few times on Thursday and leave a voicemail. I check my buisness email, and I see an email from them. They're basically pissed because I gave the client my own contract and told them to pay me. Well, why wouldn't they pay me, I'm a seprate company from them. If they're gonna offer MY video services as part of THEIR package, they most certainly need to iron out the details with ME before talking to the client. Now they bring up the booking fee, how they feel I'm being dishonest and sleazy. I don't mind paying them $100, but I have a feelling they want more then I'm willing to give right right now. They're also mad because I gave them my own contract. Most of my contract is information about the ceremony, date/location/duration/ect. The rest is a liability clause and payment clause stating payment must be made two weeks prior to the ceremony. As far as I know, their contract does not state anywhere about video services. That leaves them and me wide open for a pissed off bride to sue.

If they want to book the client, and offer an all inclusive DJ/Videography package, fine with me. Just let me know about it first of all, secondly make sure me and you aren't liable.

I replied to his email, I stated I have no intentions of what they think I'm trying to do. I even told them I was planning on giving them $50 for finding me the client, but would give more money if they wanted, they just had to mark my price up to include the booking fee. I told them I still need equipment, and in the future I would be willing to give them more after I have all the equipment I need.

I call on Friday, no answer, no return calls, no email reply. Because of this, I haven't scheduled a followup meeting with the bride as I don't know whats going on with my money.

Basically, if things end up working out with this DJ, which I think they will. I'm deffinately making them sign a contract if they're offering my video package as part of their services. But I don't know what a fair booking fee for them would be? What do you guys think? It looks like they're telling their clients they'll give them a discount on the DJ, if they get a video package. But in the end, they really aren't loosing money, it looks they make the money they loose on "discounting" I'm paying in a booking fee.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #2
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Ken, After reading your post, I think you should run (not walk) away from any business relationship with this DJ. If you have a bad feeling on your first business dealing with them, it will NEVER get any better. Call the bride directly and indicate she pays you directly or you don't work. Then you get to control what you think is an appropriate 'finders fee', not have gouged out of your already too small payment.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 10:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Patrick King
Ken, After reading your post, I think you should run (not walk) away from any business relationship with this DJ. If you have a bad feeling on your first business dealing with them, it will NEVER get any better. Call the bride directly and indicate she pays you directly or you don't work. Then you get to control what you think is an appropriate 'finders fee', not have gouged out of your already too small payment.
Right now, I think/hope there has been a break down in communication between him and me. I talked to him, and the email was from his wife. He's refered one other client to me, and that went smoothly. I've been dealing with him for about 6 months now, and I have call them atleast once a month just to BS. They've always seemed more then happy for helping me out, and overall very friendly, so I'm hoping its just a big misunderstandment right now.

As it stands, the bride paid him $250, and I have yet to get any of the money. The wedding is July 2nd, which is two weeks away and I need to purchase a camera light beforehand. It's to the point where I need to order it now so i can have it ontime for the wedding. If he's unwilling to budge, then I know hes trying to screw me over.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #4
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As it stands, the bride paid him $250, and I have yet to get any of the money. The wedding is July 2nd, which is two weeks away and I need to purchase a camera light beforehand. It's to the point where I need to order it now so i can have it ontime for the wedding. If he's unwilling to budge, then I know hes trying to screw me over.[/QUOTE]

My opinion. Either you get paid before the event or you don't show up. Let the
DJ know that in a quiet, very firm way.
Friends are friends and business is business. Friends in business together who don't or won't recognize the difference won't stay friends very long.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 11:33 PM   #5
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My opinion. Either you get paid before the event or you don't show up. Let the
DJ know that in a quiet, very firm way.
Yeah, but that could really turn around to hurt Ken / videographer. I'd say the best thing to do is try to work it out with the DJ, but even if it doesn't, do the gig anyway. If this is something you want to make a fairly permanent thing out of, having the haunt of not showing up to a wedding where a B&G paid for a videographer (to someone - even if not you directly) really will hurt you in ways you can't predict.

Then, never work the DJ again. The guy/girl clearly is a non-professional, a leech, definitely a poor business associate. Find something/someone else. Hook up with a respected photographer and offer to do a freebie - and then do an outstanding job. That photographer will turn things on for you. There are always oppurtunities to be had - esp with legitimate vendors.

$.02
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Old June 18th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #6
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Oh! And definitely schedule a followup with the bride if she's under the impression that she has paid for some sort of video service. Meet with her and find out if she has a wedding planner; if so, get in touch with them! Wedding planners are AWESOME for being pain in the butts with problem vendors and tracking down the finances of their clients (B&G).
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Old June 19th, 2005, 05:34 AM   #7
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OK, I finally talked to the DJ and got everything straightened out. It appears to have been a miscommunication between the DJ and his wife. He doesn't want any kind of booking fee, but he wants to have one contract with the bride, then he will sign a contract with me for each booking.

I'm still going to take on clients with him for now, since I'm in no position to turn them down, but once I have more experience and a bigger client base, I don't see me sticking with him much longer. He wants to offer cheap video services, and after I get all my equipment, I can't support myself by selling myself 'cheap'. Especially since my goals are doing this on a full-time basis.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 08:01 AM   #8
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Ken,

I can't help but follow the sentement of those that have already replied to your posting.. While I can appreciate feeling "trapped" by the DJ and his wife, I am finding it difficult to believe that he's the only DJ that does weddings in the Tampa/St. Petes area..

My advice would be to start looking for different partnerships with other DJ's or start pitching your services to a wedding planner..

The most important thing you need to be careful of when dealing with such a close relationship with another business is that anything *they* do -- is also a reflection of YOU and YOUR company.. Even if it's a matter of poor communication - it's bad business..

Best of luck to you and hang in there,
-Michael
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Old June 19th, 2005, 08:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Michael McGruder
Ken,

I can't help but follow the sentement of those that have already replied to your posting.. While I can appreciate feeling "trapped" by the DJ and his wife, I am finding it difficult to believe that he's the only DJ that does weddings in the Tampa/St. Petes area..

My advice would be to start looking for different partnerships with other DJ's or start pitching your services to a wedding planner..

The most important thing you need to be careful of when dealing with such a close relationship with another business is that anything *they* do -- is also a reflection of YOU and YOUR company.. Even if it's a matter of poor communication - it's bad business..

Best of luck to you and hang in there,
-Michael

That's deffinately what I'm persuing. I'm gonna ride this guys coat-tails until I can get my name out to more photographers/wedding planners/other venders. The only reason I'm gonna ride this guy out for a bit is because of the huge client base he has. He does 50-60 events a month and he's brought me two clients who have already booked me, and I'm working on a possible third client. I don't think that's too bad for only being in business for 4 months.

But like I said, as soon as I get a steady source of clients that are not related to this guy, I'm gonna part ways with this DJ.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 05:10 PM   #10
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1. You are way too cheap. WAY too cheap. Even a crappy shoot & burn wedding video should go for $500.
2. You are not building a client base or referral base or getting your name out if all contracts are through DJ. You are doing freelance work, and do not even have the right to use the material in your demos.
3. Rework you relationship with him to give him 20% of your booking fee (whatever it is) but write ALL future contracts direct with b&g. Insist on this. By paying him percentage, he will help you raise your rates.
4. In absence of a well-written contract with DJ, you are both on very flakey legal ground. Almost to the point of stupidity. This will blow up in your face at some point.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 07:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
1. You are way too cheap. WAY too cheap. Even a crappy shoot & burn wedding video should go for $500.
2. You are not building a client base or referral base or getting your name out if all contracts are through DJ. You are doing freelance work, and do not even have the right to use the material in your demos.
3. Rework you relationship with him to give him 20% of your booking fee (whatever it is) but write ALL future contracts direct with b&g. Insist on this. By paying him percentage, he will help you raise your rates.
4. In absence of a well-written contract with DJ, you are both on very flakey legal ground. Almost to the point of stupidity. This will blow up in your face at some point.
I have to second this. I know you think your getting a good deal here, but if you want to have a long term business, you will need a client base of your own. You need to charge more. Have confidence in yourself.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #12
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Glad to hear it's all going to work out! Best of luck!
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Old June 21st, 2005, 01:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
1. You are way too cheap. WAY too cheap. Even a crappy shoot & burn wedding video should go for $500.
2. You are not building a client base or referral base or getting your name out if all contracts are through DJ. You are doing freelance work, and do not even have the right to use the material in your demos.
3. Rework you relationship with him to give him 20% of your booking fee (whatever it is) but write ALL future contracts direct with b&g. Insist on this. By paying him percentage, he will help you raise your rates.
4. In absence of a well-written contract with DJ, you are both on very flakey legal ground. Almost to the point of stupidity. This will blow up in your face at some point.

The more I think about it, the more I dislike the arrangement he is proposing. His ultimate goal is to offer everying, photo/video/dj under his company. My ultimate goal is to have 3 or 4 videographers working for me doing mainly weddings and other live events.

BTW For the wedding in question, he got the bride to pay $450, and from now on, I'm charging atleast $400 until I have all my equipment.

After this wedding, I'm going to go through the yellow book and call every wedding planner thats listed.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:16 AM   #14
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Dont settle on $400 too soon, as that is still too cheap. He picked $450 because he could make $250 for doing almost nothing. If you did it for $100, he would charge $400. If you charge him $400, he will charge $600 or more. Try to do a percentage fee with him (along with a minimum price), and he will help you find the market price. It will vary, depending on bride, location, etc. I often thought that wedding vids should charge based on size of wedding.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:18 AM   #15
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Your time alone is worth more than $400. It sounds like your a bit inexperienced, but in that case, you do a couple weddings for friends or family for "free" while you get your stuff together. Do a knockout job, then start charging properly for your work.

Are you editing this piece, or pulling it out of the camera and handing it to the bride?
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