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Old April 4th, 2014, 06:14 AM   #1
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How long do you hold a date open?

I had 3 enquiries last week for the same date at the end of this month, I work on a 'first come, first served' basis and the first deposit gets it but with these being very last minute I've had to say to the first person that I need a decision within a few days, and the next person - 'I'll let you know if the date is free in a few days' etc. It's not really an elegant way of doing it plus they might think I'm putting undue pressure to 'close the deal'

Thoughts?
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Old April 4th, 2014, 06:48 AM   #2
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

We've made it really simple. The first person with the deposit gets the day.

When people ask if we'll hold the day we say we'll pencil you in but make sure they know that if some one else wants to book that day and pays their deposit they get the date.

End of story.

I know it can be emotionally hard to do at times, but this is business. You can't be holding the date for someone who never comes back while turning away other bookings.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 07:20 AM   #3
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

We now have a bit on our email that says the date is free that we don't hold dates without a deposit and it's a strict first come first served.

We did this after having a patch where people would get quite cross because they enquirer about a date and when they come back 2 MONTHS LATER ask why we gave THEIR date away to someone else. They seemed to think a simply enquiry means the date is all booked and theirs.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 10:43 AM   #4
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

We have a policy of reserving a date until we either get the go ahead in writing or an alternative enquiry. If an alternative enquiry comes in, we immediately contact the reserved couple to check that they still want to go ahead. If they do, we require written confirmation within 5 days or the second enquiry gets the date.

As we can take two weddings on any date, we perhaps have less pressure on dates than if we could only take one date.

Roger
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Old April 4th, 2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

First deposit gets date. I don't hold dates. Why would I hold a date without a deposit? If I have multiple inquiries on a date I simply let tell each prospect that I have had multiple inquiries and that the first person who books gets the date. Very simple.

As soon as someone books I notify the others. I always thank them for their interest and I offer to assist finding another videographer if they wish me to do so. I'm always grateful for inquiries even if they do not work out and I try to convey this.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

You really can't win at this one. If you are strictly first past the post a bunch of people think you are mercenary and cannot understand why you couldn't alert them if "their" date came up. While another bunch think any alert is pure hard sell.

I had 16 enquiries in quick succession for one date on one occasion. That was back in 2006 though and things were a little different then :- ) But it does illustrate that with the best will in the world it can be problematic to keep more than a couple of balls in the air.

Then you get the pig ignorant ones who say all the right things, make all the right promises, often multiple times, only to disappear off the face of the earth.

I avoid telling people when there is a specific competing enquiry because of the hard sell interpretation. There's still a thread from years ago on some bride forum somewhere in which a bride complains that I cancelled her consultation at short notice; what she doesn't mention is that I had warned her someone else paying would win and thats what happened. I leave it at emphasising that its first come etc.

I had a date when just as I had got off the phone taking someones card details and processing the deposit my post was delivered and in that post was a contract and cheque for the same date! So now I tell people to make sure they let me know if they've posted stuff.

I make the occasional exception such as for elderly parents who are paying the bills and have heard my appeals but I get the feeling they haven't really grasped the importance.

Peter I would not tell any of your 3 specifically about the other 2 because you are then more or less encouraging those 2 to step up their research elsewhere. You are just as entitled to choose which clients suit you are clients are to choose which vendor suits them.

Pete
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Old April 4th, 2014, 12:59 PM   #7
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

I'm curious; if many of you are getting enquiries for the same dates, wouldn't you consider sending another videographer instead for the dates you're unavailable for? Surely many of you work with other fellow filmmakers on a regular basis that you can trust to do a good job? This is a business after all.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 03:28 PM   #8
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

Money talks, BS walks. Old saying in sales but it's true. No money, no date. If they want the date they'll give you a retainer...cash, check, credit card, puppy, whatever.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 03:42 PM   #9
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

I don't often get inquiries for the same date so close together, but how I handle it depends on the conversation with each person. For instance:

if the first inquiry is just a basic email and I have no reason to believe they'll book, I don't really worry about it.

if the first inquiry and I have had a good conversation, preferably by phone, and I know they're interested, but need that time to feel good about their choice, I informally hold the date for them as a courtesy. I'll then tell a 2nd inquiry the truth of what is going on, and that I'm glad to still talk to them, even if it's just to help them figure out what they're looking for (and recommend other videographers). Normally, I'll also politely follow up with inquiry #1 to make sure they're still interested, and to please let me know within 48 hours or I'll move on.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 03:45 PM   #10
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

Just a thought...

What about taking a small refundable (within a short timeframe, a couple of days or weeks) deposit to "hold" the "reservation"? This would give someone on the fence a little time to come back and confirm with a full deposit, and if they fail, you keep the deposit and can book the next inquiry?

ALL businesses that deal with date specific "reservations" have policies (mostly "first come, first served"), deposits, and cancellation policies, it's not like this business is any different! Set your policy, put it on your website, print copies to hand to "tire kickers", then if they ignore it and don't get off the dime, and someone else comes along, oh well...
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Old April 5th, 2014, 03:59 AM   #11
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lorushe View Post
I'm curious; if many of you are getting enquiries for the same dates, wouldn't you consider sending another videographer instead for the dates you're unavailable for? Surely many of you work with other fellow filmmakers on a regular basis that you can trust to do a good job? This is a business after all.
If this would be my only source of income, then yes, I"d hire another videographer to shoot a double booking, the problem is finding someone who you can trust and that can supply the same level of quality you are used to, the clients pick you after all based on the demo's they see on your website so the shooting style from that other videographer has to be exactly the same. it's easy to get burned when you hire a clown that misses important shots or delivers you out of focus shots, bad audio etc.
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Old April 5th, 2014, 05:32 AM   #12
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

It's a difficult situation especially when building (or even keeping) a reputation. I've lost a booking through locking-down the date on a promise, had two deposit cheques arrive on the same day, had an angry bride call me all sorts because I took another booking two weeks after the day she told me she'd posted the deposit. Also had problems by using second shooters. Eventually I formed an informal association with a number of similar operators (one-man(woman)-bands) in the nearby area. We did broadly similar work at much the same price using similar equipment. We could then accept all enquiries, book the first with a deposit and refer any subsequent or returning enquirers to one of the others safe in the knowledge that they'd get much the same result. This has worked very well and has proved surprisingly balanced in the amount or work which has passed around. It had the additional benefit of having someone to turn to if we'd have a problem or needed someone on a bigger commission. It was also a good way to increase the amount of other work.
I much preferred that model of referral to the one's offered by dedicated agencies, photographers or institutes that want to take a percentage for passing on your name.

Last edited by George Kilroy; April 5th, 2014 at 06:41 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2014, 06:33 AM   #13
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
.... the problem is finding someone who you can trust and that can supply the same level of quality you are used to, the clients pick you after all based on the demo's they see on your website so the shooting style from that other videographer has to be exactly the same. it's easy to get burned when you hire a clown that misses important shots or delivers you out of focus shots, bad audio etc.
I was trying to find a way to say this yesterday but stopped short of posting. You did a great job of summing it up Noa. :)
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Old April 5th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #14
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
f an alternative enquiry comes in, we immediately contact the reserved couple to check that they still want to go ahead. If they do, we require written confirmation within 5 days or the second enquiry gets the date.
This seems very generous and a bookkeeping headache.
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Old April 5th, 2014, 10:42 PM   #15
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Re: How long do you hold a date open?

I give them a "provisional booking" for 10 days max while they look around. They have to give me a cell number and if another bride wants the date, they have 24 hours to sign a contract or the booking goes to the 2nd bride.

Not many genuine enquiries want a hold though ..they normally phone and say when can I book.

Chris
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