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Old October 4th, 2014, 12:22 PM   #1
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Anyone else had a similar experience?

My wife Claire had a solo photo and video shoot 6 weeks ago and came back telling me it was a lovely family wedding. The couple were very much in love and couldn't stop smiling all day.

She spent some time taking great care over processing the pics and editing the video, ending up with something she was excited about delivering. A few days ago she went off to the client to deliver it, having been told that the bride wouldn't be able to be there, but the rest of the close family would. Upon arriving, they decided to look at the stills first and after the initial few pics, the groom's mother walked out saying "I can't put up with this". Claire was mortified wondering what she had done wrong! In fact she had done nothing wrong, but the couple had had a big row the weekend after the wedding and had split up for good two weeks later. The house was up for sale, the wedding and engagement ring had been returned and the house put up for sale.

We were paid ok, but wondered why we hadn't been contacted to explain the situation before delivery.

Roger
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Old October 4th, 2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

I had a similar experience, but not in person.

I have a 3 payment plan, 25% booking fee, 50% on the day or week prior to the wedding and 25% when the films are ready to be delivered.

You guessed it ... 8 weeks after the wedding when the film was ready to deliver, I call the groom who tells me they've split up and won't be needing the film anymore.

I figured it would cost me more to contact a solictor and pursue them but i've just taken the hit instead and just left their finished films on my shelf. It is still there!

I'm a one man operation and don't have the resources or want the head ache of chasing any one for money.

So at least you got paid ! ... sometimes it happens.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 02:25 PM   #3
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

At least you got paid. :-)

At the previous company I worked at, we shot a large local wedding, then never heard back from them. When our manager finally got in touch with the couple's parents, we found out that the couple split up during the honeymoon because the groom was having an affair.

From what I heard, the couple were actually planning to break up before the wedding but decided to go through with it since they had a lot of out of town guests invited.

We never got paid for that wedding (and it would have cost too much to try to recover it).

Here's the kicker - Several years later, I told this story to my hair stylist. Turns out she not knew the groom, she's the one who introduced the groom to the person he would later have the affair with!
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Old October 5th, 2014, 03:58 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

That's a bummer Roger but as the others have said, you got paid!!

I shot a wedding two weeks ago with my normal terms of 1/3rd on booking, 1/3rd 2 weeks before the wedding and the final 1/3rd when the DVD's are ready. I emailed the bride to say they are ready last Monday and he she told me hubby had lost his job and the company wouldn't pay him so she would get me the final amount ASAP ....that could be next week, next month or next year!!

I know it's technically not her fault and things beyond our control happen but I wondering if I should kill the "pay the last 1/3rd when the disks are ready" ?? OK, she isn't going to get her DVD's until she has paid me of course but that could be anytime really!!

Maybe change my terms and make it 1/3rd on booking, 1/3 say, 2 months before and the final 1/3rd before the wedding day ? I wonder if it would put brides off??? At least that way I can deliver on time knowing I have already been paid in full!!

Chris
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Old October 5th, 2014, 05:42 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

That's not good Chris, but as you probably know, we get paid on delivery, but in this instance the Groom was very aware of the work that had gone into the video and photos and the fact that they had signed a contract. There was no suggestion from him of not paying, although the Bride was holding the cheque book. He made a transfer immediately for the payment, so no problem. If there had been a problem I would have instigated the non payment clause, which imposes an interest penalty on a rapidly accumulating basis, that will eventually cost them a hell of a lot more if I have to chase them.

Roger
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Old October 5th, 2014, 05:43 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Thats a classic case Chris of where you would have been doing them a favour by getting the bill out of the way before the wedding day. They would have found the money and now that expense would be one less thing for them to worry about. If he had lost his job before the wedding then the wedding insurance would have kicked in - assuming they had that cheap essential (which I always recommend in my booking confirmations).

And it perfectly illustrates that if the original client can't or won't pay then - unlike most other businesses - you have absolutely no-one else to who you can sell your orphaned product.

Remember that Roger's business model is one of a kind - or two of a kind up to a point if we include yours because of some similarities. His includes a heck of a lot of face to face time and extra travel for consultations and deliveries, which in themselves are business expenses. This combined with good value for money, a mainstream market target, and lots of relevant experience all mean that the clients who do book are likely to be more watertight than some who do everything online and consequently may not have the same level of personal commitment.

Also I have several clients a year who wish to pay the entire bill up front, sometimes months or a year in advance. I do not necessarily welcome that as it means I then have to be more careful with the cash flow - not counting twice bookings that have already been paid plus ensuring I set aside the wholesale cost for expensive wedding photo albums which can easily run into the hundreds per client. These clients desire the feeling of calm they get knowing that all is paid for and no nasty surprises await them.

There is a big discussion about when clients should settle up on the Fred Miranda forum at present - as there regularly is on photo forums. I always think of those who don't collect before the event date to be rank amateurs who will learn the hard way or who just don't care because they have decent day jobs, Roger being the exception. Its an old chestnut rather like should you have a "feed me" clause in your contract.

Why do we collect the full balance before the wedding? - FM Forums

My settlement in full date is six weeks before the wedding, though I don't tend to enforce that unless I have some reason to think they may mess me around. So long as they settle before the day thats fine. And I don't want to get involved in collecting wads of cash on the day like the chauffeurs DJs and hair and makeup artists seem to do.

Pete
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Old October 5th, 2014, 06:12 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Quote:
I don't want to get involved in collecting wads of cash on the day like the chauffeurs DJs and hair and makeup artists seem to do.
I think for them it's normal to be paid on the day in cash, their service stops before or at the end of the weddingday while ours just gets started (editing).
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Old October 5th, 2014, 06:20 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

This is why many years ago I started the practice of being paid 30 days prior to the date of the event. Not to mention around here it's a very common practice, actually it's the norm. That way I don't get stuck like I did about 30 years ago with some VHS tapes that I finally got around to getting rid of about 5 years ago.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 07:11 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Yeah I know Roger and I have the same payment system. It has always worked for me but this is the first bride who has a problem ... The way I figure she had one of our $1500 weddings and she has already paid $1000 up front ... Don't know about anyone else but if I had paid out that amount with nothing to show for my money I would try to pay up as soon as possible so at least I get my wedding disks!

My trouble is I've been doing this for a LONG time (probably not a long as Don though!) and I have always advertised that you only pay the final 1/3rd after the wedding. I figure that no one in their right mind would pay 2/3rd upfront and then not get the product.

However Peter is right ..rather get all your money upfront but what assurance does the bride have that you will actually turn up on the day? If you want a builder to do you a brick wall at the back of the house you normally pay a deposit of sorts and then once the wall is done you pay the balance. I insist on the final amount prior to delivery as there is no value in a DVD set for anyone but the bride.

Guess it's time to maybe think about bringing the final payment to before the wedding?

Chris
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Old October 5th, 2014, 08:04 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Chris, you me, Roger and a few others...We've all been around so long, didn't we invent the camera? ;-)

In the beginning I had some brides question that. You know, what's to say I'll be there after they paid up front. My answer has always been the same and that is "you were referred by so and so and they trusted me 100% and since I didn't screw them why would I screw you?" OR if they weren't referred to me "Since I've been in business for so long, I think it's pretty safe to say I'm not screwing anyone because if I was I wouldn't be around but if you don't feel comfortable then you need to find someone else because we need to trust one another."
I only had 2 couples over the years that decided to go elsewhere but again in my area paying upfront is considered standard practice for weddings and most other social type affairs. Corporate work is of course a whole different animal.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 08:10 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

I suppose that after working for the same way for 30 years and having always been paid, I don't see any reason to change something that I am comfortable with and my clients like. As I have related on other threads, I have on very rare occasions had the odd client who tried to delay, but have always received payment once the penalty clause has been politely pointed out.

The only exception I have ever made was in one case of extreme hardship that was very genuine, where I agreed a payment plan with them and they stuck to it faithfully, with handover on final payment.

The other advantage for me with the way that I work, is that I never get hassled for delivery as they know that I need to complete it to get paid. It may be the norm with people in the wedding business to be paid up front, but I find that just about every couple who work for a living get paid in arrears and not in advance. That means that they can include that extra paycheck after the wedding in their budget, to include a video that perhaps they would otherwise not be able able to afford.

Roger
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Old October 5th, 2014, 01:24 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

I would have instigated the non payment clause, which imposes an interest penalty on a rapidly accumulating basis, that will eventually cost them a hell of a lot more if I have to chase them

I meant to say in a previous thread that in the UK if you charge interest then you MUST be licensed under the Consumer Credit Act. A private arrangement is likely going to work but you are breaking the law and it could end very badly for you. I've a feeling that the act now extends to stage payments as well where no interest is charged but where the product has been delivered because in effect you are a business granting a loan without having the license to do so. The licensing procedure has been quite robust for a number of years, they will take into account your own credit history, and any associations with businesses that have failed or had to make arrangements with their own creditors, and any criminal convictions among other things. I think you're also required to display your license in your workplace and quote the license number on all your stationary etc. Certainly that was the case when I had a license for another business.

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Old October 5th, 2014, 02:16 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Well Peter the clause was added on the advice of my solicitor and worded by him. I don't know the legal jargon, but I seem to recall from him that there is a difference between interest charged on a loan, as against an amount owing against services provided at a contracted price and due payment date.

Roger
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Old October 5th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

We've just had one. Filmed a huge affair a year ago. 4k 3 shooter package. No contact for months and after lots of chasing we finally hear from the bride. They broke up and didn't want the video... or a refund. So we shot it but haven't edited it.

Full payment up front is out policy and good job too.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 03:50 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone else had a similar experience?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
We've just had one. Filmed a huge affair a year ago. 4k 3 shooter package. No contact for months and after lots of chasing we finally hear from the bride. They broke up and didn't want the video... or a refund. So we shot it but haven't edited it.

Full payment up front is out policy and good job too.
Nice payoff for a few hours work :-)

Roger
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