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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #1
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Show me the money! Getting Paid

Hey All-

I know everyone works differently, but I am looking for the most popular/common vote here.

Obviously you need to get paid in full before the wedding date. (maybe on the date, but there's way too much going on that day to worry about tracking down the check.)

When you book the wedding, do you ask for the full amount then?
or A down payment to reserve the date?

If it's a down payment, what do you require? A flat amount? 25%? 50%?

Thanks

Alden
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Old December 16th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #2
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50% when they sign, balance due 30 days prior. I am a bit flexible dependong on the date they book, IE: book a year in advance and I might split the retainer up, but I am paid in full 30 days prior or I have a day off with some pay.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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you are not going to want to hear this:
I get paid all my money on delivery of the final products, eventually i am going to have to change that policy i am sure.
it encourages me to output faster (or used to)
it keeps me forced to deliver a product they are freaking happy to buy at the time i show it to them.
It reduces contract noise, keeping things simple COD
They know i dont get paid, UNTIL they get thier product, so if i decide to re-do the whole thing, because it wasnt good enough, they know i suffer some TOO :-)
It forces me to have proper finatial security and backup and be responcible, even if i will spend every penny they gave me within 5 days of getting it :-)
If they want to have a screaming fit about something, they can just take thier money and shove it, but beings my butt is 100% on the line, that doesnt happen. (they arent Out anything yet) so i can go back and correct something and they cant whine about having paid for it yet, cause they didnt.
its a matter of trust (to dang much)
it gets the adrenaline going better than a roller coaster ride, the day you THINK your not going to be paid
if i deliver it and it isnt worth what i am charging them, then they dont deserve to have it :-)

only a foo wouldn't take 50% down on a contract, because if someone gets tapped or hospitalised, or something terrible, you at least have 50% of the money you wont see the rest of.

one time, i got upstaged by the federal guverment collecting taxes, they had first run on the bums money, so while i was tossed on the street, some politician with a $700,000 office got paid. other than that, i walked the tightrope and couldnt afford to fall off.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #4
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Hi Alden,

Since day-one I've been a big proponent of not taking 100% upfront - i.e. before you deliver. Depending, of course, how much time you put into editing the shooting is just a fraction of the work that goes into a wedding video. Why the public goes along with paying for it before they have in in their hands is just a function of what they've come to expect, but also may have something to do with the reluctance of some people to get videographer at all. Forever I've gone 1/3 at the contract signing, 1/3 by the event day and 1/3 at completion, but recently I've made a change mostly just to improve my control of my cash flow. I now have a 'shooting fee' that is paid with the contract signing that covers just what I will do on the day of the wedding. No editing is included unless there is a same-day edit. The final editing level is chosen and added after the wedding day. When they pay for the editing, be it just raw footage, a documentary edit, a highlights montage or a cinematic edit, it gets done. If I can fit it into my schedule I do, but if it needs to get outsourced the money is there to pay the editor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Miller View Post
Hey All-

I know everyone works differently, but I am looking for the most popular/common vote here.

Obviously you need to get paid in full before the wedding date. (maybe on the date, but there's way too much going on that day to worry about tracking down the check.)

When you book the wedding, do you ask for the full amount then?
or A down payment to reserve the date?

If it's a down payment, what do you require? A flat amount? 25%? 50%?

Thanks

Alden
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Old December 16th, 2009, 01:49 PM   #5
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I ask for 25 % retainer's fee and balance paid on the day of. It used to be balance paid upon delivery of final product but I have been burned a couple of times and sometimes couples suffer financial hardship after the wedding and it may take some time to collect. We also do photography and we have to pay designer/ album upfront, we can't afford to have money sleeping on unclaimed albums. Just last year, I was thankful for changing my payment policy, my client got divorced 2 weeks after their wedding, had I not collected the money in full, I am pretty sure I won't be able to collect.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #6
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For many years we had a 3 payment system. Payment to reserve your date. Payment 30 days before the wedding. The rest due 3 months after the wedding. For many years this worked beautifully.

In the past year, however, we've had a 1/4 of our clients become problematic because they don't have the money for the final payment. I'm certain it's related to the economy, but that's still no good for us. I actually have a client from September of '08 who hasn't paid yet.

So this year we dropped that policy and we now require two payments; a date retainer and a 30-day payment. Collecting money AFTER the wedding can be a problem since people often spend all their money BEFORE the wedding. Given that we accept a limit number of weddings each year (15-20), we decided it was prudent to make sure we were getting paid beforehand from now on.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #7
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""my client got divorced 2 weeks after their wedding""

done right you have one more job comming up :-)
I couldnt believe it when a guy we did a wedding for called up 2 years later and asked us to film a wedding , , , HIS again. cool!

if you dont squeese them for some money, when round 2 comes up they will have to avoid you, the hiding customer , never returns for more.

i figure that is WHY a wedding is a $10,000+ deal, if you spend $10,000+ in ONE DAY, and your still not happy, your doing something wrong :-)
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Old December 16th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Hi Alden,

I now have a 'shooting fee' that is paid with the contract signing that covers just what I will do on the day of the wedding. No editing is included unless there is a same-day edit. The final editing level is chosen and added after the wedding day.
Right now, I'm asking for a retainer to book and the balance two weeks prior to the wedding, but I've been thinking about doing something like you're doing Joel - a set day rate for shooting the wedding, and then sort of a menu of different editing options. How's it working out for you - do brides like it?
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Old December 16th, 2009, 03:53 PM   #9
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I get 50% at the signing... the remaining 50% due before the wedding.

I can just imagine within a month after the return from the honeymoon the bills start coming in and they say, 'Dang, we still $900 on the video. SCREW IT!'

And I'm out $900 (or whatever bucks) because they changed their mind.

I have thought about breaking it up into thirds, but what I have works for me.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #10
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We break it into three payments.

1) 400 to book the date

2) 50% of remaining due 4 months before the wedding

3) The remaining balance is due anytime before the wedding. We used to say on the day of, but we decided that asking the bride and groom for money was a big downer.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #11
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Hi Guys

I also split into thirds (regardless of the booking date)
1/3rd on contract signing
1/3rd 2 weeks before the wedding
Final 1/3rd on delivery of the DVD

That works well for me as they usually pay the last 1/3rd in cash. I just feel that they need a little bit of security as well so they pay the last bit COD. I did have one client back in 2008 that had the marriage annulled after 2 weeks but at least I had 2/3rds of the money AND luckily I didn't start any editing.

If they do a last minute booking then they end up paying me 2/3rd's before the wedding. I have never had a client question me about the payment system so I guess they are happy???

Chris
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Old December 16th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #12
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By the way, I would personally recommend against trying to collect a payment on the wedding day. The final week is so chaotic that it's easy for people to forget they need to pay you, and the last thing you want is to be put into an awkward situation of having to walk away on the wedding day.

For anyone doing (or considering) the partial payment after the wedding approach, I would recommend this. Instead of collecting the final payment upon delivery, require the final payment be paid before editing begins. It still allows the B&G to spread some costs out, but it also ensures you don't spend a bunch of time editing only for the couple to go AWOL on you.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #13
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This works for me:

40% deposit to secure date
30% payment 30 days prior to date
30% payment upon screening their 'preview' copy

I like the incentive to finish an edit knowing that I will get paid!

I know of another studio who splits into 4 payments with #3 being before starting editing as Travis suggests above and #4 being COD
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Old December 16th, 2009, 08:23 PM   #14
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We take 50% to book and the rest 30 days before the event!

1 thing we've been offering to our brides when they do decide they want to book us is, we give them the option to pay in full and we give them a little discount:)

Never take money the day of the wedding, you don't wanna be that guy chasing people around to collect money!
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Old December 17th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #15
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We're completely out of step with most UK video cos and frankly other wedding suppliers but not, it seems, alone.

We take 150 deposit at contract signing, a stage payment of 50% of the total quote 30 days prior and the balance on complete satisfaction.

I agree with most of Marty's reasoning and contend that I don't know how to justify asking for 100% before I'd taken a shot or put a battery in a camera.

Our way is businesslike and straightforward. The contract will stand up in court and the amounts are well covered by the limits of the Small Claims court (in the UK).

The only exceptions are bookings within 21 days when we ask for all the money up front - but we did that for programmes under those circumstances when we were doing Corporate.
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