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Old August 11th, 2014, 07:33 AM   #1
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Booking Date conundrum...

I'll try not to make this too 'waffly'.

I had an enquiry yesterday for a date that is on my calendar as 'pencilled in'.

In these cases, I search my email to see what the correspondance was last. On this occasion I discovered that I had already 'chased up' this client without reply.

The client had communicated favourably up to the point of saying 'we would like to book, how can we pay?' to which I replied with my online invoice for the deposit amount.

My invoice states three payment methods:

- bank transfer
- paypal
- cheque

Looking my account, for that time period I see no evidence of a transaction from her.

I had also previously emailed to 'chase up' without reply.

I now have sent another email asking if she still wishes to book, or if she was under the impression she already has and I've missed the payment somehow.



How long should I wait???

I'm terrified of accidentally double booking!


Also - how can I do my admin processing better so I have less question marks!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 07:48 AM   #2
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

I always ask for a phonenumber when we first meet, I have ran into similar circumstances like you describe but then call the couple to get a permanent decision because of the double booking, if they still are in doubt when I call I tell them I will be meeting with the new client.and that there will be a big possibility they won't be able to book me anymore. If they don't pick up the phone I leave the same message and in any case put it in writing on mail and send the same message as an sms just incase they book me anyway one or 2 weeks later after the new couple already has booked me. In those cases they get their deposit back and they can go look for another videographer. I f they plan to sue me (which I highly doubt) I"ll use the email and sms
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

At this point in your story? 48 hours, and you tell her so, via email AND phone call (if you're able).

Anytime I reach this point with someone, setting aside a date while they decide for sure that I'm right for them, it's because I've met with them and/or they have gotten a contract from me.

I always followup after 10 days, and after 14 days, consider them gone.

If someone calls about their same date, I follow up, and will generally ask them to get back to me within 2 days (unless I had just talked to them the day before), but will try to reach them twice.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:59 AM   #4
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

If someone wants a pencilled in booking I give them 10 days and have a mobile number plus an email. The deal is that if someone else enquires about the same date, I contact the first bride and she has 24 hours to see me, book and pay otherwise the other bride gets the booking.

If I am not contacted within 8 days, the bride gets an email telling her that her provisional booking will automatically expire in 2 days time and the date will be available to other brides.

As long as you have some written exchange and 10 days have elapsed then you are covered so you can safely book the second enquiry...If the first comes back after 3 weeks crying about her date ..tough titty!!

It's important to have the terms of a pencilled-in booking on your website and also in an email and then if she cannot understand that, then she isn't very bright. In my experience, brides that want you will come back to you within 24 hours anyway and anything over 48 hours are a lost cause!!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 09:11 AM   #5
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

When I've been working with a potential client and it gets to the point where they say they want to book, I put a firm date right on the contract such as "Deposit of $xxx must be received by <date> in order to book the wedding date. The availability of the date cannot be guaranteed after that time".

This helps in two ways -

1) Motivates the customer to get the deposit and signed contract back to you, or they can lose the date

2) Provides a firm date for you to be able to tell client #2 if the date is open or not. "I have a contract out right now, but if I do not get the deposit by next Tuesday, you can book the date then".

Thanks

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Old August 11th, 2014, 09:51 AM   #6
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Pulera View Post
When I've been working with a potential client and it gets to the point where they say they want to book, I put a firm date right on the contract such as "Deposit of $xxx must be received by <date> in order to book the wedding date. The availability of the date cannot be guaranteed after that time".
Ditto. I put "payment must be received within three (3) days of contract date".

Then, in practice, when it's been more than three days, if someone else calls up, I give the original couple one last chance...
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Old August 11th, 2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

How does everyone manage their payments?

My actual problem is not just that communications have gone cold - its my worry that she has in fact paid, and I've simply no record of the payment.

Best i could do was look my account and see if there was a debit for that amount at around the same time. So it's not a very safe way to make sure.

I've started telling people 'Please notify me when you make the bank transfer'. But its still far from ideal.

A lot of brides hvae their video paid by their dad, or the groom, or the grooms parents and so the name of the person paying may also be completely different to the person the booking is with!
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Old August 11th, 2014, 01:36 PM   #8
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

No bank transfers around here, which makes it a bit easier, I suppose. Mostly it's check, Paypal, or credit card, leaving cash as the only untraceable, and so I insist on emailing them a receipt while I'm accepting the cash.

I use Google Calendar to track my bookings. Their names (and my job) are on the main calendar page, click on it, and find their contact info, where it is, how much their contract was for, and any payments I received. This means I can easily check details from anywhere.

I use a 2nd calendar with my public info: just first names on the date, which shows my availability on my website. Clients seem to like that they can glance and see that they are, in fact, on my calendar.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 02:17 PM   #9
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
How does everyone manage their payments?

My actual problem is not just that communications have gone cold - its my worry that she has in fact paid, and I've simply no record of the payment.

Best i could do was look my account and see if there was a debit for that amount at around the same time. So it's not a very safe way to make sure.

I've started telling people 'Please notify me when you make the bank transfer'. But its still far from ideal.

A lot of brides hvae their video paid by their dad, or the groom, or the grooms parents and so the name of the person paying may also be completely different to the person the booking is with!
Hi Clive.

I've always required a non-refundable retainer before a wedding is considered booked, but started a new procedure a couple of months ago. Instead of generating separate invoices for the retainer and final payment (due on wedding day), I now use just one invoice with a payment history. Each time I receive payment, I send an update of the invoice with payment credited toward the balance. I'm using an app called Harvest for invoicing, project planning, time tracking etc.

Formerly, I had a three payment system for weddings, but have simplified it to just two payments. There's the non-refundable booking fee (retainer), and the total balance due day of the wedding. That's when the other vendors tend to get paid for their services. But a single invoice with a running tally of payments received (and balances due) seems to be working well for me so far (last six months). It should work just as well with my old three payment scheme, or a four payment scheme, whatever.

The Harvest app I use also keeps an invoice history online in "the cloud." But I physically make changes in the invoice itself, along with a dated entry, in case I ever move to a different invoicing system from another vendor. This approach would also have worked when I used to send PayPal invoices. Don't know if PP has a history feature or not too. Maybe.

However, my corporate work is staying separate invoices, because the corporate clients often have more than one project. Repeat business is pretty common for me with them. So far, each bride I've filmed for has only had one wedding. No repeat business from any of them (yet)!
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; August 11th, 2014 at 02:27 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old August 11th, 2014, 04:29 PM   #10
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

To answer your final question and probably solve all of your problems (like offering online booking and contract signing) https://www.tave.com/join/mintyslippers
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:51 PM   #11
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

Hi Clive

I find that brides just pay and rarely notify you so I simply check my business account first thing in the morning to see what's come in ...I do instruct the bride to use her name/wedding date as a reference.

I assume you have online banking for your account?? With PayPal they will email you when you have money so no issues there!

That's about all you can do as you cannot rely on the bride to email you and say "Hi Clive..I have sent you money"

Chris
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Old August 12th, 2014, 03:09 AM   #12
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

+1 Chris, the way to go
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Old August 12th, 2014, 06:02 AM   #13
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

I always make it clear to clients that their date isn't reserved until I receive the payment. Also I request they notify me when they have made the deposit.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 02:34 PM   #14
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

I pencil in nothing.
They must leave me the 1st deposit moola. There is an ATM machine right across my street at the convenience store. They come back with the cash, I book them. If not, they can call back later. If I am booked before they call again, ...oh well !
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Old August 12th, 2014, 07:38 PM   #15
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Re: Booking Date conundrum...

Hey Clive

What about getting one of PayPal's new card machines?? It simply hooks up to your smart phone and can accept and debit or credit card to give you an instant payment ... Here you could get the unit for $100 last month. If you get them to pay then and there that would give you a payment without even asking.."Have you paid yet?"

Over here, most of our big banks have also brought out a similar device that any small business can get without needing a merchant account.

They must be available in Ireland as well?

Chris
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