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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old October 17th, 2005, 11:18 AM   #1
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is this a good idea?

ive been working on my website all week and i am trying to finalize my packages. Im going to price the packages comporable or a little over everyone else, but heres the skinny:

Deposits: Deposits for each package are based on purchasing product. When the customer books the date they put down the specific deposit. the deposit is for me to pre-purchase the dv tapes, dvds, batteries,digital photo frame, powerpoint template, and any other consumable items needed for their event. I will take my cost, then double it. making that the deposit amount. if for some reason they cancell, i give them all the parts, they would get them anyway if they were to keep the date. or they can have a credit for another purchase. this way i win and make a sale either way.

as part of my two highest packages, the Diamond and the Platinum, i will be offering along with the photo montauge a 8x10 or 5x7 digital photo frame that changes pictures automaticly. i can pre-load it before the ceremony, then if the bg wants i can load it with stills from the wedding afterwards. and the digital photo frame is theirs to keep. i baught one of these for my wife and thaught they were neat.

for those of you who havnt seen them:
Dan Trojanowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,898
All deposits securing your services should be non-refundable. The reason being is your ensuring them that the date is no longer available to any other clients that request it. You can be turning down other clients for the same date beings your couple "booked" it, then when something happens to the date and the wedding is off- your out of whatever work you could have had that day. The furthest I'd go is to issue a voucher for the amount paid valid for 12 months after issue date.

Regarding the deposit amount- I've put a great deal of thought into this and and a fellow videographer friend of mine put it in perspective pretty well. I used to have the deposit/retainer fee be 50% of the total package price. Not too bad if it's a less expensive package but for the higher end packages 2k+ might be a bit steep for a "deposit". My friend said, "Why penalize the people who book larger packages by making them put more money down?"...which made a great deal of sense to me. I feel it's important to make the downpayment signifigant enough but equal across the board regardless of what package they book. The balance is then broken up into two payments 50% one month prior to the event and the remainder due at the time of delivery. That's just how I do it.

About the digital picture frame- I really don't know. It depends on if the client has a very high percieved value of such a thing becuase the overhead on the product is pretty high. Besides I wouldn't want to provide something that a photographer could do better. Now if the little picture frame could play a short video montage...that would be great, very cutting edge. Either way let us know how it goes.
Glen Elliott
Cord 3 Films
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 151
why complicate things so much? With the picture frames, just sell it as an extra feature.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #4
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Location: Boston, MA
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hmmm... I looked at that frame and I see in the specs just 256 color resolution? Poor quality! The picture shown inside the frame in the advertisement is likely a false representation of the actual picture quality.
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Old October 17th, 2005, 06:40 PM   #5
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That sounds like a weird idea to me. When someone books a date they are telling you that they will do their part. You are now to not seek other work for that time period. That's what the deposit is for not some consumeables that you could use on another job. If they cancel then it's deposit forfit unless somehow you can fill that date with equal or greater paying work in which case you might give them thier depoist back in an attempt to garner good will and future work from them and thier friends.

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Old October 17th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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Location: Chicago, IL
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"Deposits" are by law refundable. "Retainers" or "Reservation Fes" are not necessarily refundable. Be careful of your wording (I'm not a lawyer but I pay one a lot of money to take care of this stuff for me)

A deposit,retainer,reservation fee, whatever you call it should not be considered spendable cash. You should put it into either a holding account or escrow account if possible or at the least in your business account and not touched until the final payment for the job is in. Of course thats a perfect world but since we live in reality, instead of figuring out what you think your expenses might be and then adding a percentage to that why not just say a percentage of the total amount of the package. In other words, lets say they buy your (insert color here) package for say $1000. Get at least 25% up to 50% for your retainer. That way they feel tied to you (many years ago when I charged a lot less than I do today I had a few B&G walk away from it because the downpayment wasn't enough to make a difference-if they saw their budget was short they'd just walk away from things like video) AND you can still get the needed materials for the job.
As for the picture frame if you offer it at all why not just offer it as an add on. If I read your post correctly, you're in the picture business not the frame business.
I also agree that in theory the reservation fee is not for consumables for the job. You should be ready and able to shoot at a moments notice which means you already have a supply of tapes, dvds and whatever other consumables you need to run a business. HOWEVER, I also understand that when you first start out money is tight but be careful, do not fall into the trap of using a reservation fee (deposit-retainer-whatever you want to call it) to buy what you need to shoot, you will not make a profit until you have your equipment paid off, know what your soft expenses-tapes,dvds,dry cell batteries, paper for your office,pens & pencils, dvd cases etc and what your hard expenses are, rent, phone, heat, electric etc. Mileage parking maintenance for your car etc.. Sound scary? IT isn't if you think like a businessperson and not a videographer. Be a creative video cameraman and editor when shooting and editing, be a hard core business person when your not shooting or editing. Get someone to help you thru the business process-a lawyer, accountant, the most sucessful businessperson you know, a mentor and then your business will grow-provided of cousre you do good work, are fair with your clients and follow your mentors advice.

See the big thing is when someone books a job for whatever amount (lets just say $1000, they figure they made $1000-NO they didn't UNLESS they owe no money on their gear-have no office and advertising expense and borrow tapes and other soft goods from friends and family)

I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like I'm preaching but I've seen far to many good videographers go out of business because they just simply didn't have any sense for business.

Most of all, have fun, do the best job you can everytime (get better with each one) be fair with your clients.
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Old October 18th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #7
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I know in the state of california your deposit cannot be held. But it'll take them samll claims court or a lawyer to get get it back from ya, and many people dont take the time or the effort. I was just thinking of a way i can keep the deposit even if they did take me to court to try to get it back. I dont anticipate having problems, but it was in the just in case theory.

as for the frame, i was just adding it to my high end package deals, and offering it for an addon to the rest. People like to get something tangible for their money, they feel better knowing they got something extra, something more than the other person offers, or a great deal. But like all the comments refer to, it's not gonna amount to a heap of crap if their video, what their paying for in the first place looks like garbage! Thats why im bouncing ideas off you guys, people that have been around and know the ropes. Im glad i was a manager for fedex for seven years before jumping into this business. I would hate to learn the business part of it the hard way. Or even worse not have forums like this for advice and credible knowledge.
Thanks for the comments guys!
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