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Old December 9th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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2010 the Just say No to low/no pay work year!

OK, that's it. If I get asked to do one more free gig I think I am going to snap. 2010 will be the no-pay gig free year (as in not doing gigs for free). You volunteer to help someone out and next thing you know they keep hitting you up for more unpaid work.

People think that doing gigs for free or very cheap will "lead to something later". They are right, it leads to never ending requests to do more free/cheap work. I swear they have a hotline to find out who did what for next to nothing.

In my case I knew better and was helping someone out but it's turning into an extreme annoyance.

Not anymore. I have bills to pay and the kicker.. it takes time away from my OWN business.. Sorry I just needed to rant.

Last edited by Denny Lajeunesse; December 9th, 2009 at 09:31 PM.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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Very good rant with a very good point. 99% of the time doing a project for free will lead to nothing but disappointment and headache. Just say no to free, lol.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #3
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You know, I have been tempted to say "Well, I'll except your soul as payment", then hand them a fountain pen filled with blood and a contract. lol
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Old December 10th, 2009, 12:10 AM   #4
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Hi Denny

You also forgot to say that the freebie clients are more fussy and more demanding than the paying ones!! My attitude to the "freebie askers" is that IF I did your wedding for free, it would stalemate at the very end of the queue and probably never get done as my paying clients some first. I know I'm hard but I would rather do nothing than work my butt off making a loss...and a freebie IS a loss ... it costs you time and money and you don't get anything out of it!! Yeah right ..."we will tell all our friends how great you are so you will get tons of business" ...more correct is "You did Jen's wedding for free so how about ours???"

When I started weddings a long time ago, I did one friend and one relative (wedding present) and those were my demos to start me off. I have never done a freebie since!!!!

Stick to your resolution for 2010!

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Old December 10th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #5
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Referrals are often cited as the best form of advertising but in my experience they only work if your prices are about the same - people expect the same job for the same price as the referrer.

Initial bookings (and thus the price level) and referrals are often two years or more apart. In many cases the annual price increases are regarded as unacceptable by the referred client.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 01:34 AM   #6
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Working for free is good, because when you do it you learn that it's not good at all! :) And I agree, when you do a job for free or for the minimum of money, nothing good comes from it. We used to believe otherwise and we did many things just for forming a portfolio. We formed that portfolio, although it would have happened anyway, just not so soon, but it didn't gave us more work from the people we worked for. Only one thing also mentioned above and that was more demands. The cheaper you get, the more demanding (in a bad way) the client. If you go for free then you prepare to deal with some serious problems. And that is because if they don't pay you, they don't respect you, they always think that something cheap is either stolen or bad quality.

So, unless someone is a good friend or a fellow videographer that needs immediate assistance, common sense says no free, not for 2010 or for any other year.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 04:17 AM   #7
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Philip. I couldnt agree more.

This year we did some weddings for just 600. I know I know, but they were bookings we took 2 years prior when this was just a bit of on the side fun. We delivered our gold standard product and they loved it but now everyone they speak to they say "Yeah, it was only 600". Fantastic thinks the friend.

The only people who do well out of referrals are those who have had the same prices for the past 10 years.

We also get couples who bargain hard, tell us how many guests they have who are getting married and they will deffinatly recommend us. So this year we've been very strict, the price is what it is.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #8
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Here's my mindset with clients-both wedding and non. Actually I have said this to people mostly in the wedding side although a few corporate client have heard it too.

You either like the work or you don't. You either pay the price or not. Either way is OK just make a decision. If you don't like the work we're done, if you won't pay the price we're done. Either way is OK, just make a decision. If you want to negotiate, go buy a car or a house and make an offer, my price is my price. Either way is OK, just make a decision.

Sound harsh? Maybe, but it keeps me from doing work for no or little pay. OH but you'll get credit. Great, tell that to my creditors or wait, when I go buy grocery's, I'll tell the store, I don't have any money but I got credit on the work from the cheap bast***s who didn't want to pay. NO WAIT! I accepted the job, blame me.

JUST SAY NO!
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Old December 10th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #9
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Add me to the chorus of agreement. I'm also very aware that you need to tightly control the first project for a new client as this sets the tone in the clients mind (budget vs. end product) for all future work.

If the client is paying by the hour, they can have something exactly how they want it.

If I am doing something pro-bono (for a non-profit), what they get is what I feel they need.

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Old December 10th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
You either like the work or you don't. You either pay the price or not. Either way is OK just make a decision. If you don't like the work we're done, if you won't pay the price we're done. Either way is OK, just make a decision. If you want to negotiate, go buy a car or a house and make an offer, my price is my price. Either way is OK, just make a decision.
That's exactly how I handle it now too, but you've also got to factor in that we've got experience, a name, and have learned our lessons the hard way. Someone just starting out has none of this, thus the free/cheap work. We can tell them all we want that it's not the best road to go down because we've got perspective they don't yet, but I'm not so sure it's going to stop those just starting out from doing it.

It's much easier to stick to your guns when you've got a few years of quality work to back you up, some money in the business account to weather the storm, and a few battle scars as friendly reminders of past mistakes.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #11
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No! No! No! You people don't understand.

You can put the work on your demo reel :)

I've been caught in the same trap before and am also at the point where I have said "No more."

When you are starting out with absolutely nothing I believe it is acceptable, but you have to start charging after you have demonstrated that you can do the job, and you must let the freebie know, "This service would cost this much, but since I have nothing to show you, you get it at no charge." They have to understand the value of what they will receive, even if it is for free.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Denny

You also forgot to say that the freebie clients are more fussy and more demanding than the paying ones!!
Chris
I second this, freebies and the low ballers tend to be more demanding. This is a very good thread, I for one has vowed never to deal with low ballers again. The bookings I have for 2010 pays well, I know sometimes we all need the money but after a bad experience with a low baller this year, I vowed never again.

Note: I have never done a freebie except for close relatives (they are forever grateful).
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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #13
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In my opinion, a product that's paid for has much more value than a freebie ever will be.
A client who pays for your product views it with more value, and will take care and cherish it much more than a product that was given to them.

The time, stress and energy put into a production can be many hours, even weeks, including money (one example is equipment that you paid for, is not cheap) all this takes it's toll.
2010 and no more free gig, is the way to go.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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I think an argument can be made for startups just flat out needing material for the reel and charging nothing (or just north of that) for the service...but a line must be drawn in the sand.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #15
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Totally agree, we all started out, did some freebies to build up our portfolio. In those cases the argument's from the clients are valid.

In our experience the clients promise of more work or potential work never happens. But that is the voice of experience which the starters don't have and they will make the same mistakes we all did. Its a cycle which will never end.

There will always be someone who can film a wedding for 300 here in the UK and the couples who ask "Why are you so much more expensive"... Because we all produce the exact same product... right?

I echo Don's words. When someone says to me "I love your work but this guy will do it for 500 less". We simply tell them to use the other guy then. There's a reason we dont charge the same as the other guy.
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