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Old May 9th, 2012, 02:03 AM   #1
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Taking Bargaining too far?

So I guess this post will be an interesting story / rant more than a question but I'd like to get your opinions on the matter.

3 days ago, I was approached by a wedding professional who I have worked with many times in the past when I was in high school and just starting out. I have seen graduated from college and he is not 30 yet but is getting married himself next month.

I graduated from college worked hard and gained substantial freelance work in both commercial, and corporate video markets. I have worked hard to get my rate high, and purchased a lot of good gear.

So this person approaches me and says he would like to shoot a video for his introduction to the main ballroom during his wedding (and since he already asked me to shoot his wedding for him, it does make sense that I would shoot this as well to keep it all under the same roof) I told him my normal day rate for such a shoot is $700 per day and my camera kit rental is $800. I said that since I have worked with him a good amount, I would be willing to give him a days worth of my time to shoot this project for him at the rate of $300. He counter offered at $150 to which I told him that I would not be willing to shoot the introductions at that price he agreed and asked me if we were still on for me to shoot his wedding for him, as a freelancer for his company. I agreed.

He thought I would screw him over although many times he was the one to screw me over and it turns out many people in the market her don't like him. So he requests to send me a contract and I said obviously that is how this shall be done. He doesn't send me a contract at all. He wrote his own little paragraph about where I was to be and when and the price he is going to pay me. I told him that this doesn't look like a real contract and I would have a real contract sent to him.

I kept the terms exactly the same as the terms he put in his original paragraph. What I will be, what equipment I will use (his decade old DVCAM), what I will wear and how much money is to be paid (both the date retainer, as well as the final payment) The only difference between his contract and mine is that his is a paragraph he wrote himself, mine is a legal document from a lawyer that I customized for his project.

After he received my contract, he told me that he was thinking about not using me so I told him not to worry I'll make the decision easier on on him and reject his offer of employment since he wasn't committed to my style or skill level, I'd prefer to have the weekend off.

Well this made him extremely angry. He went on a wild and crazy rant posting all kinds of garbage about me. He has since blocked all communication.

TL;DR - Gave a friend a discounted rate, he wanted more. Then I sent him a contract for another job we already orally agreed to, and he decided he was going to think about using me. He has blocked all communication from me and has said a lot of nasty things.

Anyway, I should probably have a question in here:
If somebody has a large rate, and decides to cut you a very large deal, what would make you want to cut that amount of money in half again? And why would the difference in contracts make you want to change your mind about who is to shoot your wedding if the rate, and all other terms were identical?
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:05 AM   #2
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

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Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
He has blocked all communication from me and has said a lot of nasty things.
There is so much that is nice and good in the world that every person could be happy if only treated with respect and kindness. Sorry to hear about this experience with your friend.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:48 AM   #3
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

Hi Louis

The old story about friends expecting you to work for nothing!!

There is a simple solution for the future..."Sorry I'm booked on that Day" ...I do family weddings for free (as a wedding present)..for friends I send you to another videographer because I value your friendship (if you have been my best friend for 20 years, then sure, consider it a wedding present!!) ...I think they say business and pleasure never mix???

I think the bottom line there was he expected you to do it for nothing and even countering your very generous $300 offer with $150, still hurt him a bit as he was expecting you to do it for nothing so he took it out on you for the actual wedding gig.

Chris
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Old May 9th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
There is a simple solution for the future..."Sorry I'm booked on that Day"
Absolutely the best, saved me so many times from situations like this,
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Old May 9th, 2012, 12:35 PM   #5
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

Sue him if the garbage he is spreading about you is untrue. That'll sort the b%$rd out.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

Oh, and by the way, he is not a friend.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #7
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

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Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
After he received my contract, he told me that he was thinking about not using me...
Hi Louis,

(above) This is the point where we differ on how to handle things. I would have said nothing, and given him no reaction at all. Unless he posed a specific question - complete silence.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

That would have been better I guess. but I didn't want to give him the satisfaction on canceling on me.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:41 PM   #9
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

Yeah, Louis, I agree that probably gave him the impetus he needed to fly off and be angry.

You were angry first, and it came out. He responded in an extreme manner.

You had a right to feel offended, of course, but a softer response from you might have caused less hard feelings on his part. He would've been angry anyway, but if you had been nicer about it he wouldn't have flown off the handle.

I know of what I speak, I have a tendency to say things I shouldn't when I'm offended, as you were. I am much better these days, I think it comes with age. I would have told him to think about things, and then I would have gotten back to him later and backed out by telling him it was not working out for me, and I was sorry.

It is from these experiences we learn. Unfortunately it is painful, but it is the pain that teaches us our greatest lessons.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 04:54 AM   #10
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

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Originally Posted by Louis Maddalena View Post
He thought I would screw him over although many times he was the one to screw me over and it turns out many people in the market her don't like him.
I think you have allowed him to impose his will in the past and he's now hacked off because your standing your ground and good for you. If his comments are damaging your business then you have little option but to seek legal re-dress, although a strongly worded letter would probably put a stop to it.

Steve
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Old May 10th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #11
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

First mistake, cutting your day rate from $700 down to $300.

That set the tone for the negotiations. $300, in his mind, just became your NEW day rate. $300 was no longer "the floor" in your pricing, to him it had just become your new "ceiling". So as long as you were willing to do it for $300, to him NOW a good deal was $150. Had you cracked him at $550, he probably would have cut that in half and come back with $275. His basis for offering $150 was nothing more than it was half of what you asked for.

I deal with this BS constantly in my day job and after 40 years of it, I can tell you this type customer is only worthwhile if you are broke, starving and the kids need new shoes.

As far as shooting his wedding, chances are real good this "intro" was just the beginning of his whole negotiating process. Chances of you getting your agreed to price had you done his wedding, IMO, were slim and none. You were most likely going to get whacked there too, be it ahead of time, or after the fact when you are at his mercy to take whatever he offered.

For future reference, a "professional discount" of 15% should be your standard policy when another wedding professional asks "for a deal". If one would choose to make you an offer of lower than that, just politely change the subject and don't return to the project or your pricing, until THEY bring it back up. When they bring their offer back up, politely inform them that they were already quoted "a deal". Don't reject or even mention their offer, just stick to your price in all conversation. When I receive a stupidly unrealistic offer, I typically counter with "Well how about them Packers, huh?" :-) It's a real nice way of telling them to stuff it !!!! Feel free to use this and substitute your favorite sports team etc. :-)
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Old May 12th, 2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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Re: Taking Bargaining too far?

I am deleting
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