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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #1
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Multiple Inquiries about the Same Date

Hi all!

I'm still fairly new to the wedding videography business, and I just wanted to get some opinions regarding a situation that came up this past weekend.

I had a bride contact me on Saturday via email inquiring about my availability for a date in November. I emailed her back and told her that I was "currently available" for that particular date, and told her to give me a call to discuss other details. I still haven't heard back from her yet.

Last night (Sunday), I received another email inquiry regarding that same date from a different bride, except that she actually listed the package she wanted and she requested a demo DVD. I hemmed and hawed a bit, and finally replied and told her that I was "currently available" on that date (technically accurate), and told her I would mail a demo today.

I guess my question is: how do you all approach this situation when it happens?

I'm fine with verbally committing to a date for a week until I receive a contract and deposit. But am I under any obligation to hold a date because Bride #1 simply inquired about its availability?

Also, should I have told Bride #2 that someone else had inquired about that specific date? I felt that might be too pushy, and I didn't want to "scare her off". However, is that something that brides would want to know?

Thanks so much in advance for your replies. This forum continues to be an amazing source of advice and information for this business.

Chris
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:39 AM   #2
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I'm not booked until the check is in my hand. I may tell another bride that someone else is inquriing about me on the same date, or I may not. I depends on how serious either of them are. But, really, I'm not 'unavailable' until I have a check in my hand. Even then, it might not hurt to pencil down the other bride just incase your booked one cancels.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 07:47 AM   #3
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You need to establish policies that you follow in running your business, e.g. a deposit is required in order to reserve a date. An inquiry is just that; it is not a commitment. It doesn't hurt to mention in your responses that another party has inquired as to your availability, or just a generic statement regarding your policy. Just about everyone in the wedding services industry has limited availability. Your notification is a courtesy reminder that this is something of which they should be aware.

Businesses get into trouble when they either fail to establish policies or fail to follow the policies they have established.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #4
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Same thing happened to me..three brides were inquiring on the same date. I told them I am currently available but there are also some other brides inquiring on the same date.
As far as I know..I am not holding a date for someone without a deposit on hand.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Michael
You need to establish policies that you follow in running your business, e.g. a deposit is required in order to reserve a date. An inquiry is just that; it is not a commitment. It doesn't hurt to mention in your responses that another party has inquired as to your availability, or just a generic statement regarding your policy. Just about everyone in the wedding services industry has limited availability. Your notification is a courtesy reminder that this is something of which they should be aware.

Businesses get into trouble when they either fail to establish policies or fail to follow the policies they have established.
I might also suggest a policy change for you as well.

Specifically the use of the term *Deposit*. This is often misconstrued as refundable by the client and I doubt you do that. (or maybe you do - I don't know).

Most call it a "retainer" which merely gaurantees the client the time slot is his/hers. If they cancel it's non-refundable.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
I'm not booked until the check is in my hand. I may tell another bride that someone else is inquriing about me on the same date, or I may not. I depends on how serious either of them are. But, really, I'm not 'unavailable' until I have a check in my hand. Even then, it might not hurt to pencil down the other bride just incase your booked one cancels.

Everything he said but... I tend to "pursue" the one that's most appealing to me at that point. I make make more of an effort to establish communication with the one that's more local with a JP (for instance) than the Catholic with a full mass that's 45 miles away (for instance). First check in-hand gets the date but it's my perogative to which fish I try harder to reel in.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #7
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first in first serve, BUT until the deposit is paid, its anyones game..

i used to doublebook, but not any more.. the people who i hired to do the work, despite my efforts, were useless..

I learnt the hard way... dont doublebook and if ur scratched for cash, so be it.. its not wirth the hassles or headaches later.. (unless were talking 2 jobs on teh same day for 5k each.. then u hire ur buddy who also runs a video business.. lol

But no.. no more..

as for deciding who to go for.. to me, right now, its all about the client. If i suss out that they wnt this and that and this and that.. ill walk away.. i dont have time to deal with these people anymore.. also depending on the time of year, i might go for the higher paying job... life is life and we got bills to pay..
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
then u hire ur buddy who also runs a video business.. lol

Hey Peter just let me know and I'll run over and handle one of those weddings for ya. Just work in about 3k for my plane trip.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #9
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It sounds like everybody has roughly the same position on this issue. I do have something different to add though.

Even with your best intentions at being 'fair' or providing good customer service, you may find that you don't get that same respect back. For example, you may offer to hold a date for a couple who is very interested but cannot meet with you for a couple weeks. If something comes up and they need to reschedule, you are stuck holding a date for people from which you may not hear back from. This sort of thing does happen even with the best intentions.

We now offer a quick email update to notify a couple of any other inquiries and if they are moderately interested (more than just checking availability, or prices) we may offer them the first chance at booking the date, if somebody else requests the date. In that scenario, we always make sure they are interested enough to have a tentative hold on their date, and if any other inquiries come in, they are notified and given the option to book, if we don't hear back right away then the date is open, and we book the first person to sign a contract and send a deposit.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #10
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lol I wish...

if i had 3k to spare, id pay my bills.. hahahhaa winters coming up.. getting very quiet now..
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Old April 17th, 2006, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele
I might also suggest a policy change for you as well.

Specifically the use of the term *Deposit*. This is often misconstrued as refundable by the client and I doubt you do that. (or maybe you do - I don't know).

Most call it a "retainer" which merely gaurantees the client the time slot is his/hers. If they cancel it's non-refundable.
That's a great point Rick.

Note: As a point of reference I'm not working in the wedding industry any longer, but I did work for a large wedding photography operation several years ago. A month with over a hundred jobs was not unusual. My views come from that experience plus another 25 years or so of general business experience. I know what you do is very challenging, especially if you are a one-person operation.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:22 PM   #12
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u know ts funny, i tried being the nice guy and all i got was stepping on my throat..

in turn, i changed my contract, to a point of being airtight. There is not one element which has been left out.. even death of a client prior to filming...

u just cant afford to leave ANYTHING out...
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