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Old July 7th, 2013, 05:07 PM   #1
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Timed Packages

I seem to recall a thread discussing 'timed' packages instead of 'features' packages, but I can't find it.

I'm thinking of introducing them following a number of weddings that want the cheapest package then the timings for the day end up being 12+ hours even though they said it was only going to be 6 when they booked.

What are your thoughts and experiences of timed vs features or perhaps a combination/hybrid approach?
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:06 PM   #2
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Re: Timed Packages

Hi Dave

Explain a little better for someone who is a bit confused please??? I always advertise my packages as "by event" not "by time" so if the wedding shoot ends at the first dance I could be done and dusted at 9:00pm or it could be 10:30pm .... or am I totally confused on your concept??

Chris
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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Re: Timed Packages

I try to be proactive about that issue and have a single price for weddings (that stipulates 8 hours being included). I do this because I've found that 8 hours seems to be the magic number for getting prep through the important parts of the reception. If they REALLY need to add time, they can extend/pay overage; but I've found that couples are happy to hear a recommendation for how long I think I should be there. I've also just found that I don't want to mess around with bargaining, adding/subtracting, etc., etc. and that having a fixed price (with fixed hours included) has helped weed out the nickels & dimers folks and not decreased the inquiries.

If a couple says, "how much would you charge to film for 3 hours and to just give us the DVD", I can simply say, "I'm sorry, that's not the kind of work I do." And if, on the other end, they say, "We really like your work but we think we'll need you for 12 hours," I can assess the whole situation, and come up with some reasonable price above the base price -- all depending on lots of things (where the wedding is, what the date is, whether they're siblings of former clients, etc., etc.)
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Old July 8th, 2013, 01:42 AM   #4
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Re: Timed Packages

Ok I see what is happening now! My honest feeling is to cost your shoot "per event" rather than "by the hour" ... What happens with hourly shoots is firstly (because you include editing and all the other bits in the costing) it LOOKS very expensive to the bride - 8 hours for say, $1600 comes out to the bride at $200 an hour so you are a rip off. She forgets that that you are in fact only costing at a fraction of that due to consults/edits/packaging. Secondly I have yet to see a wedding run to schedule so if she wants you for 8 hours because she has calculated that from prep to the first dance will easily fit in the 8 hours she finds out that after the FOB has done a 20 min speech instead of a 5 minute one, the venue was late for the food and the photog kept the bride longer than expected, the 8 hours are up before the events are over so the bickering about extra money begins!

If you work by event "I'll do from the prep right thru to the end of the first dance" it sounds better value BUT you also limit the package to 10 hours and cost for 10 hours so if it goes an hour over time, you look like a hero for staying on without charge but you are really still in front costing wise and you end up with a happy bride ..."Wow, Dave stayed on an extra hour and never charged us a cent extra!"

Works for me ..I scrapped the 6 hour and 8 hour or 10 hour packages years ago!

Chris
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Old July 8th, 2013, 04:25 AM   #5
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Re: Timed Packages

Thanks Chris & Tim for the replies.

Chris, I completely understand your idea of staying later and being the hero, but unfortunately it's happening more and more while at the same time people want to pay less and less. So they push you on price before the day and then stretch you on time on the day itself. They can't have both!

Up to now I've been pricing purely on an event basis with major elements taken in to account (e.g. getting ready, ceremony, speeches, first dance, highlights etc) as these effect the edit time after the day, but I sometimes feel they B+G don't tell the truth about their day when booking in order to get a cheaper price, then slowly add bits here and there without wanting pay more.

I don't want to sound like I'm whinging, but I'm sure we've all been there.... they come with some story about limited budget and that their wedding is somehow different with a late ceremony and early meal and they'll only need you there for 5 hours maximum. Then, just before the wedding you find the ceremony is now an hour earlier than they said and the meal is an hour later than they said. So that's already added 2 hours. Then on the day you find they also moved the speeches to after the meal instead of before and all of a sudden you're committed to 9 or 10 hours instead of 5, and that's if things actually run to time, which they never do.

Similar things have happened when I've been on an expected 8 hour day and it's turned in to 12+.

So, with this in mind, how many of you charge over time rates if things get too extended on the day? I'm not talking about 10 or 15 minutes, but when it turns in to an hour, two hours, three hours etc...

How many go back to the couple "before" the day and say these final timings won't fit in the package you booked, there's an extra charge? And what happens when they realise you are enforcing your contract and don't want (or can't afford) to pay the extra, and throw tantrums and get all upset because you will be ruining their day if you won't work all these extra hours for free? I'm sure that's not a good way to get cooperation from the B+G on the day ;)

Let's be fair. Most weddings are reasonable, go roughly to plan with a little delay here and there. I'm fine with those. It's where people really stretch things, often in small increments so each step is no big deal (project creep), but the sum of them ends up being a huge difference overall.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: Timed Packages

Hi Dave

OK, I see your problem if they want you for a short time and it ends up being a long time!! I was watching the series Brain Games here the other week and they did an exercise with popcorn at the movies. They had a small for $3.00 and a large for $7.00 ...everyone ended up buying the small one. They then introduced a medium one for $6.50 as a "decoy" for $6.50 and naturally everyone then gravitated to the large simply because it was so much better value!!

The series has some very good marketing ideas actually too ..if it's available in the UK ..watch it!!

Now if you had a 5 hour package for a tad lower than a 12 hour one ..maybe people would work the same way??? The 5 hour is $1600 but for $300 more you can have double the time and more so they take the $1900.00 one and voila you are paid for 12 hours ... if they stupidly go for the 5 hour one you are covered for a LOT more than 5 hours anyway!! (cost figures are obviously just random!!) With me I'm not quite that drastic but I used to offer a 3 hour ceremony only package that was a lot more expensive "per hour" than any of my other packages and very few ever took it!!

The other answer is to simply offer one package only ... bridal prep to midnight at a 12 hour costing price?? BUT don't even mention times in hours.

How do you find brides react to being asked for more money on the night if they have over-shot their time limit??? I have never had to do that as yet (in 23 years) as most of mine are to the end and the few that finish earlier seldom complain ...over here venues are required by law to expel guests at midnight anyway so if you are booked until then there is little chance of going over limits.

Chris
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Old July 8th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #7
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Re: Timed Packages

We start by talking about events "hair and makeup until the end of the ceremony" but we, and the contract, also include "up to six hours on site" in the language to make sure we don't get taken advantage of. Same with the option to stay until after speeches and first dance, 'up to three hours maximum'

Then additional hours of filming time are on the contract.

It's important to be proactive. If you spot an issue with their schedule, talk to them about it in advance. Be flexible when they're not trying to screw you, but be willing to ask for what you deserve when they're being unreasonable. 15 extra minutes isn't a big deal when we're talking about wedding schedules. 90 minutes is. Though the earlier you can give them a heads up about OT, the better, so they don't feel they're being ambushed.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 09:38 AM   #8
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Re: Timed Packages

If you offer an "all you can eat" deal then guess what happens!

Yes you wind up covering stuff that the clients aren't really that bothered about; not all want the getting ready part and not all want the 1st dance by any means (some expressly don't want these), but if you do not specify a maximum time and an overtime rate they will think that they may as well have them ..... just in case.

Why does this matter? Because it impacts on your ability to shoot other bookings the day before and the day after as you have to allow for travel, downloading, cleaning and checking equipment, etc, not to mention your own stamina levels.

I specify "up to 9 hours" on my main deals. It is vital to put "up to" because sometimes you will have covered absolutely everything on a shoot which was concertinaed into 7 hours that might on another day have been 9. and your amount of work on the day and in post is no different, the only difference being you had to do all the setting up breaking down etc at the double.

Its really not a biggie to charge for extra time. I go through the clients timeline in detail. Sometimes this is possible at the booking stage if enough is known but more often its not really feasible till a couple of weeks before the wedding day. Recently I charged an extra 180 for 2.1/4 hours, part being paid before the day as they realised they would need extra time, and part after the day because the schedule ran late. Also recently booked one for next year which is a 15 hour day (and a 6am start!) and they know from the outset what the cost is.

A full-timer with a mortgage to pay is likely to be much more businesslike with this than a part-timer hobbyist ..... I have found from my many years on the stills side.

Pete
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Old July 8th, 2013, 10:07 AM   #9
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Re: Timed Packages

there are different ways to approach this, the hourly rate or the by event rate, can you have it both ways? I don't know!
Yea I've experienced a few couples now trying to talk me down!
I've had a few cancellations, mainly because of budget over-runs and general recession associated circumstances, one couple that was booked recently, the groom lost his job and the bride got her hours cut, and so didn't have any photography or video. I've had another who asked for an all day package (which is really all i offer) then decided to just have the morning for half price and then wanted a further reduction saying something like she could get the whole thing for 200 or something, I told her to go ahead with that if she thought it would be good value. I simply wouldn't do it for that money.
My price list states 'Full day complete coverage from bridal preparations to first dance', my obligation ceases there, sometimes the first dance is early sometimes late, take the rough with the smooth!
If theres something interesting happening i might stay on to record it.
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Old July 9th, 2013, 07:36 AM   #10
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Re: Timed Packages

We used to just quote that coverage was "all day" or from "bridal prep to 1st dance". Now we quote from guests arriving to 1st dance" as while every couple that we meet want the 1st dance filmed not all brides want to be filmed getting ready. It means that we charge an extra 100 to cover bridal prep but can discount this price if it will clinch the deal.

Unless we have specifically quoted for a late finish we tell them that we will start packing up after 1st dance at 8:30-9:00pm. If we know an event will finish later e.g. at next Saturday's wedding there are fireworks at midnight then we quote appropriately. There is a clause in our contract that it's 100/hour if we are asked to stay beyond the agreed time. We have never had to invoke this but it does put a stake in the ground so that we don't get messed about. A colleague has a similar clause & he tells me that he has collected on it a couple of times with woefully late running events.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 09:58 AM   #11
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Re: Timed Packages

When I first started 12 yrs ago, I do unlimited hours coverage. Until one bride asked us to show up at 7:30am at the hotel. They haven't gotten up yet. Bridesmaid slowly arrived at 10:30. Then they won't let us go even after everything was done at the end. She wanted us to film her got in limo and drove off. We left the venue at 1am.

Ever since, I put hours to all packages. I did lots of Asian weddings. They easily go over 12 hours. Just a month ago, it was a 16-hour wedding driving over 160 miles all across Los Angeles :O
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Old July 10th, 2013, 03:07 PM   #12
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Re: Timed Packages

My price is from one hour before the ceremony, to capture guest arrivals, until the first dance. If I get asked if I will cover preps, I use my discretion, for instance if the wedding ceremony is 3..00 PM I may do the preps included in the price, but if it is a 12.00 wedding I will charge extra. I always go through any extras and time scales carefully with the client and put any changes to my advertised coverage down in writing.

Roger
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Old July 10th, 2013, 05:53 PM   #13
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Re: Timed Packages

Roger, out of interest, how much time do you add / allow for first dance? Having a package that includes "up to first dance" technically means you leave when it starts, not ends, but often we stay long based on the activities on the dance floor. If it looks great we capture more footage. If it dies a death and everyone heads to the buffet then clearly it's time to leave. I just wondered what you told the bride would happen...
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Old July 10th, 2013, 07:24 PM   #14
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Re: Timed Packages

Hi Dave

I'm sure that Roger means to the end of the first dance as it would be silly to hang around until the first dance starts and then leave. Just for the record my normal is to film the first dance song and then 2 songs after that so my first dance clip normally runs around 8 or 9 minutes.

Chris
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Old July 11th, 2013, 05:37 AM   #15
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Re: Timed Packages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Dave

I'm sure that Roger means to the end of the first dance as it would be silly to hang around until the first dance starts and then leave.

Chris
Of course ;) That was my assumption too, maybe I didn't word it very well, but that's why I was asking how long he stayed afterwards :)
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