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Old May 5th, 2011, 05:13 AM   #1
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Cancellations

Ok so i slipped up getting low deposits, smack smack smack!!! Past 6 weeks 3 cancellations, attitude take me to court if you like!!! so new contract and terms and conditions!!! Ok so now how do i get the bloody bride to sign?? 4 people put of by new terms already?
new terms 20% deposit of the total package, balance payable 30 days before the due date? any cancellations within 2 months before wedding 50% payable for cancellation fee, within 4 months 25% payable!!! but anyone on here taken someone to court and won? by the way i was threatened by the bride? take me to court and see what my partner will do?
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Old May 5th, 2011, 05:50 AM   #2
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Re: Cancellations

20% up front???? I get 50% with the balance due no later than 30 days prior to the date. Cancel 90 days out lose 50% of the retainer. Cancel within 90 days, lose it all. That's kind of the way it is around here (my area that is) although everyones cancellation policy is a bit different. It's pretty much accepted policy to get anywhere from 25 to 50% with balance due prior to date of event. I have to admit that I haven't had anyone not sign because of the terms. At least not in the last 15 years or so.
I haven't taken anyone to court but I have had my lawyer send the threatening letter a few times, and that seemed to get it done. Have I ever been taken to court? Well I've been threatened withit a few times and here's what I always say (since the threat always comes over the phone or face to face)
THEM: I'm going to take you to court and sue you into oblivion"
ME: "OK then I guess our conversation is done but before you go here is the name of my lawyer and his phone number so just have your attorney contact mine and you and I will have no more conversation. See you in court"
Sometimes it gets a bit harsher but generally after that they come to their senses. If not, well that's why my attorney makes the big money.
There are ways to handle this type situation that don't include bodily harm but usually when they threaten it because of frustration on their part and sometimes it's not with you but the overall situation.
Sometimes I just let them yell and scream and threaten then ask them if they're done and what can I do to help them?
Sometimes you have to be a head doctor not a videographer!
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #3
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Re: Cancellations

I haven't been in business long, less than two years, but I have a non-refundable retainer for new clients. It's currently just $150 dollars, but it screens out most of the "bottom feeders." Existing clients aren't a problem, of course most of my work isn't weddings, so I haven't had any repeat wedding clients yet :) and I hope I don't, the divorce rate is too high.

In my area, it's enough money to get a potential client to pause and think before potentially wasting their time and mine, but not enough to scare a real prospect off.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:57 AM   #4
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Re: Cancellations

Guys thanks, don trouble is in liverpool ( rough city), i am not frightened but aware that they could if they wish come down and sort out our shop if you know what i mean?? it did sound like that. I suppose i could take it further and contact lawyers! but isnt it a whole lot of messing around money time energy? i think i will leave that one alone, he looked a beast anyway and rough, but i will keep to the 20% it seems fair for what i charge anyway, but will have to be careful whom i choose i suppose!! thanks
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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Re: Cancellations

Hi Steve

I do 1/3rd on booking, 1/3rd 2 weeks prior to the wedding and 1/3 on delivery of the DVD's. I figure that if they cancel at the very end or never ask for their DVD's I still have 2/3rds at least and brides seem to like the idea of splitting in three.

The first two payments are non-refundable ..end of story..but I will transfer the booking to a new date if it's free in special cases.

I have never had a outright cancellation and only one bride has transferred (I rebooked the date too!!!) She is stuck overseas so the wedding is now in 2012.

Brides have never questioned the payment options at all!!! Some might get a little put-off it I asked for everything up front. I also have never had a bride that didn't pay me in full!!

If they sign and contract and pay ..then cancelled I would still have 1/3rd for doing nothing!!

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Old May 5th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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Re: Cancellations

"I do 1/3rd on booking, 1/3rd 2 weeks prior to the wedding and 1/3 on delivery of the DVD's. I figure that if they cancel at the very end or never ask for their DVD's I still have 2/3rds at least and brides seem to like the idea of splitting in three."

You're still stuck doing 100% of the work. Maybe ask for the payment 2 weeks after the wedding and tell them you don't edit the video until final payment?
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Old May 5th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #7
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Re: Cancellations

Yeah I don't get this.. this is weddings were talking about. Get it all up front or you're out of luck if they get divorced or run out of cash after the wedding (which happens a lot).

Ok, so this is (should be) standard across the board for our industry (Don's got it right).
50% at signing, the remainder due two weeks before event. 'Nuff said.

If they don't pay, we don't show. The money is non-refundable because we secured the date in which we refused other business. We fulfill the rest of the contract because we are a legitimate business and want referrals/re-occuring business.

If you're having trouble at 20% you're capturing the wrong market, and/or you're work needs overhauling. Which sounds right considering you now have multiple cancelations casualties. Just remember, the people who want to pay the least will expect the most out of you. They're nothing but trouble, you don't want them as clients. I know, been there done that.

Good luck.. GO LIVERPOOL :D
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #8
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Re: Cancellations

Not trying to stir things up, but for those of you who require everything up front, try looking at the situation from the bride's perspective. She puts down thousands of dollars down for a product that she hasn't seen yet. She's heard horror stories of videographers that didn't show up on her wedding day. Or expected videographer A, but videographer B shows up. Or gets her dvd and is disappointed because it wasn't as promised. Or took too long to edit. Or missed key shots. Or shots were too dark, or was out of focus...etc etc etc...

If you take all her money upfront but is short on delivery/ expectations, she'll feel you ripped her off. Then she'll tell everyone on facebook what you did, which would hurt future business for you.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Cancellations

Warren I agree but at least around here they also pay for the reception in advance, at least 10 to 14 days. Guess what. there have been a handful of banquet facilities that have gone bankrupt and cloed the doors between the time they paid and the time of the event.
All I'm saying is that it can and has happened in all aspects of the industry.

On the other side if the coin, I have been burned. Not once but twice. Burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me About 15-18 years ago I started getting more money upfront and paying before the event. Back then a few brides (well fathers of the bride actually) kind of balked but 99% went along. In the greater Chicago area thats the norm for almost all vendors of no matter what they are suppling.

At the bottom of my service agreement it states very clearly and yes I do go over it with them that if the 2nd payment isn't received by no more than 30 days prior to the date of the event the service agreement is considered to be null and void and I have no further obligation to honor the agreement. IOW I ain't showin' up! Noones God for a couple of days and I do send out reminder emails, calls and even snail mail and guess how many have renigged!? ZERO, none, nada no a one. They know they lose money if they do.

Today was a perfect example. I booked a wedding for September last November. 50% retainer. Got a call from the brides mother, wedding cancelled!!!!! I heard the bride crying in the background, mom was very upset on the phone. I said "I hate to ask but why"? Short answer, the bride caught the groom with his "hand" in someone elses cookie jar. Bad and sad. Jerk. Anyway, I said nothing about the retainer but I will return half of it as that's what my retainer dictates. I mean it's not likely that the bride will be rebooking me or my photog freind or the DJ I referred her to anytime soon and I may be able to rebook the date but who knows.
Such a goofy business.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: Cancellations

"Just remember, the people who want to pay the least will expect the most out of you. They're nothing but trouble, you don't want them as clients. I know, been there done that."

I must be very lucky then. I do need to raise our initial non-refundable signup retainer for next year to hold a date a bit, but for some years now we've had a standard affordable $300 non-refundable deposit with payment due before time of service.

A lot of people are trying to secure their vendors all at once and sometimes don't have too much right up front with how much everything adds up so quickly holding their choice people. Just because they can't pay half up front doesn't mean the people that can only pay a small amount up front are going to be demanding jerks about their end product expectations.

I've worked with some of the nicest clients ever and ones who have paid for our higher end packages vs. the lower end packages have had no difference in the attitude or expectations, nor is our attitude toward them any different from one another. They've actually all been great. People have different budgets and needs, it doesn't make them any more or less of individuals.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #11
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Re: Cancellations

Warren, I used to look at it from the bride's perspective .. until the economy crashed and we had several brides default on their final payments. We were the most expensive in our market and we were working with high-end couples, and yet still it became an issue.

We changed our policy and several years later our bookings have only gone up. I would never go back to split payments at this point. Of course, we also deliver an amazing product and our couples are always thrilled, so we don't have to worry about the other issues you mentioned.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #12
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Re: Cancellations

Hey everyone thanks for your inputs, i do think i dont ask enough for deposits, 100 for a 895 booking, i have now put my deposit price up to 200 and see what happens, only tonight a potential bride rang me on recomendation from someone and the minute i mentioned 200 deposit she nearly choked hehe... I was strong though and told her well thats our policy, she then said she will go elswhere, ok so i lost already!!!!
See what happens but its tough around here and because there are so many out of work they all think they can become videographers???? I would say in our area im up there with the best but the bride no longer cares, im tellin ya, its tough in england, but yet i know cinematographers in good/nice areas who are charging 2000 and getting it so???? steve
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #13
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Re: Cancellations

Yep you are very lucky!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Czaplinski View Post
I've worked with some of the nicest clients ever and ones who have paid for our higher end packages vs. the lower end packages have had no difference in the attitude or expectations, nor is our attitude toward them any different from one another. They've actually all been great. People have different budgets and needs, it doesn't make them any more or less of individuals.
I certainly agree in that they all don't go that way, and its really not about if they can afford it or not, its just been our experience that the more they pay, the more appreciative they are of who you are and the work crafted. And in contrast the opposite is almost always true. If the first thing they say is "I want a deal" or "just tell me your price", then we know right off the bat what type of client this is, and that its probably not going to work out. Keeping prices/deposits higher weeds out these "transactional" types of clients. If this doesn't makes sense here's a good, quick page on client differences: Transactional vs Relational Clients

Certainly we will get some people who are legitimately nice, good couples who truly want to work with us but don't have all the cash on the deposit but are willing to make ends meet to get us at their event, in cases like that we will bend on deposit to 35% if we feel led to.

I think it's more an attitude thing or perhaps in this area we just have a lot of broke complainers with high expectations. The later seems overwhelmingly true.. its LA.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #14
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Re: Cancellations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bleasdale View Post
See what happens but its tough around here and because there are so many out of work they all think they can become videographers???? I would say in our area im up there with the best but the bride no longer cares, im tellin ya, its tough in england, but yet i know cinematographers in good/nice areas who are charging 2000 and getting it so???? steve
Yep I understand.. Really I do.

Consider again though that you're just catering to that market. It is what you are attracting.

So then consider also that if for example Travis (Serendipity), Ray Roman, Elysium, Kevin (PacificPics) or myself (VisualMasterpiece), etc..etc..etc came over to that area they would still probably do alright and the right market would find them. I suppose that's why a lot of us focus on destination events for a good portion of business. We've (always room for improvement) figured out how to attract the right clients and turn off the rest. As Travis mentioned above, going back to the old way of business would be too awful for words.

Just hang in there, try not to get too upset by "rejecting" business. Just be aware of what you're attracting to you're studio. Sooner or later it will click.
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Old May 5th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #15
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Re: Cancellations

Thanks Michael some great points, cheers
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