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Old July 7th, 2007, 12:45 AM   #16
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"due to demand for our services, the XYZ package may not be avaiklable during peak periods""

This is a statement i put on the smaller wedding packages in turn, those that usually do want to downgrade end up finding that they cant becuase the package in question isnt being offered.

Ive had clients postpone, in turn missing out on at least 6 potentials for that same day.. of that 6 at least 4 would have booked. But before they postponed, they asked for cheaper retainer.. Obcviously they knew there might be an issue womewhere along the lines, but they locked me in either way, in turn, i have to now stick to my Agreement to hold their retainer for 12 months until an available date is open.

Now i dont like doing this as it means i need to now find another cloent for that day, BUT what happens if i cant?
I cant recoup those losses and what happens if this particular client decides they want to get maried during peak season NEXT year.. when my prices have increased..

the issue we face is a human one.. we need to be able to adapt, but we also need to stick to our guns as best we can
In this case, the fact that they were close to cancelling ur wifes photogoraphy services in addition to your own, makes it worthwhile to make the effort to cut your losses..
Hey at least you got work.. there are many producers out there desperate for work, be thankful they were open to your approach after being told no. People dont like hearing the word no, so u gotta be realy careful, especially with joint services.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 03:35 AM   #17
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Definitely every case is going to be different, but I think I handled this one well (if not by accident). By saying no to them at first, and standing by my contract, I learned more about their situation . . because when they came back and were ready to just cancel the services I knew that this wasn't about putting money they had into something else, it was simply that they no longer had the money to pay for the services they booked.

At that point, I then still had a choice to stand by my contract or make an exception. Since I was probably too close to rebook, and since my wife was going to lose business as well, it was the right business call to make the exception.

The only thing I might do differently in the future is to not let the client off of the phone after they've said they were going to have to cancel. If I'm going to make an exception, I need to make it while we're still having that call. Otherwise it might appear to the client that I don't care about them, and my follow up phone call won't do any good because they'll have already set their emotions against me.

Who knew wedding videography could be such tricky business, lol.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
Definitely every case is going to be different, but I think I handled this one well (if not by accident). By saying no to them at first, and standing by my contract, I learned more about their situation . . because when they came back and were ready to just cancel the services I knew that this wasn't about putting money they had into something else, it was simply that they no longer had the money to pay for the services they booked.

At that point, I then still had a choice to stand by my contract or make an exception. Since I was probably too close to rebook, and since my wife was going to lose business as well, it was the right business call to make the exception.

The only thing I might do differently in the future is to not let the client off of the phone after they've said they were going to have to cancel. If I'm going to make an exception, I need to make it while we're still having that call. Otherwise it might appear to the client that I don't care about them, and my follow up phone call won't do any good because they'll have already set their emotions against me.

Who knew wedding videography could be such tricky business, lol.
well yeah.. it is..

thing with any business, is that umming and arring doesnt make it easier for you, so having a response immediately (ie a set of standards and procedures which you follow) is paramount.
I do this wiht my contract in turn, it answers any question or query that might pop up.
I spend enough time on admin crap which digs into actual editign time and i dont have time for things like this, so even if it might seem redundant, its there. Some say a 7 page contract is too much, but thast how long it is, and in turn, every detail is written out for them before they even bother to ask me.

My website is very similar and i am yet to have anyone email me with specific qustions about my services as ive already answered their queries before tehy even thought to ask them

The point is, that you dont want to put any more energy into somethign that wont make money for you.
yes there is an art to what we do, but in the end, that art needs to paid along with all the other bills.

Calling people back after a refusal can be quite embaressing to them, as well as yourself as they might feel tht your desperate for the work, but IMO, NEVER reveal all ur cards until the final hand is at stake, i think u did OK, but NEVER EVER let a client hang up when your tryin to work out a compromise. Put them on hold, tell them you need to consult your accountant to reqrite teh books (as the job is already in the books you see) whatever.. keep them there until you can work out a solution.

Dont make the solution a part of your contract though as people will exploit it, but keep it on hand to ensure that you can at least answer a client on the spot without the need to have to think about it.

Personally, ive never had a client downscale their package, but if any were inclined, i woudl let them, Not only for the fact that ive already put so much energy into the job by meeting them etc etc, but also for the fact that the
job itself will always have another job to offset that "loss"
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Old July 7th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #19
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Maybe the "silver lining" here

is that you now have a much happier client. Word -of-mouth alone about a videographer who cares about his clients and is willing to work with them to the degree that you are may be enough to make this lesson even more worthwhile.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #20
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I would make sure every client is in clear and full understanding of the terms of the contract, and then stick to the contract. If there is a family emergency or a similar contingency that is out of the client's control, only then would I consider giving them a break. In my experience, being a 'nice guy' about pricing and broken contracts not only means I'm the one who takes the hit, but it hardly ever ended up benefitting me later on. People who want to pay less almost always expect more - in the end it is not worth my time and 99% of the time I'd always wished I'd walked away from a deal like that. I can easily find someone else willing to pay my regular rates. 'YMMV' (your mileage may vary).
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Old July 7th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #21
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I'm not following the complete thread but can only wonder if your payment policy (thirds?) actually promotes this kind of downgrading.

The more money you have prior to the wedding in the form of a retainer will deter such changes - since that sizeable retainer is forfeited should they cancel.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 07:52 PM   #22
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It seems to me that a downgrade is better than losing the job. Just make sure your cheapest package is still worth doing. If you already hired an extra camera operator and now need to cancel, give him part of the retainer.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #23
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"People who want to pay less almost always expect more - in the end it is not worth my time and 99% of the time I'd always wished I'd walked away from a deal like that."

Guys remember THIS, becuase it will be the bane of your existance..
im still dealing wiht a cliet who not only wanted a discount (and got it) but then wanted all the bells and whistles
Many people do not understand that they are not the only clients.. jsut trust me on that one..

In the end, i went back to the contract and stuck to my guns.
This bridezilla is now constantly on my back about delivery, even though i waited 8 months for her music.. go figure..
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #24
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Higher flat rates, no packages ;) Hey, it's just a suggestion. I think talking through the problems at the original time on the phone would be a good policy. Your goal is to make a living doing this. Losing clients to stubborn policy, although good on paper, can lose more clients in the long run over time. Perhaps if you were to have offered that they could've cancelled forfeiting their down payment would've given them a nice out and you could've kept your policies intact.

Always take the time to discuss the contract and options with the client. Had you booked the extra help for that package for that weekend that you would've had to ask not to show up had they downgraded? Budgeting is all well and good, but "A bird in the hand is worth a basket of unhatched eggs that need counting"...

If the clients signed a contract, technically, you can get them for breach if they don't follow the letter of the contract. It's there to protect both you and them...this won't get you more business in the future though...word of mouth is much more powerful than the letter of the law anyday of the week...if that becomes a problem, not even a defamation of character suit will fix the damage done. I lost a business due to a bad partner many moons ago...it's taken about 10 years to rebuild the trust in the client base to repair that damage...clients have long memories and loud mouths.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 01:26 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Robinson View Post
I would make sure every client is in clear and full understanding of the terms of the contract, and then stick to the contract. If there is a family emergency or a similar contingency that is out of the client's control, only then would I consider giving them a break. In my experience, being a 'nice guy' about pricing and broken contracts not only means I'm the one who takes the hit, but it hardly ever ended up benefitting me later on. People who want to pay less almost always expect more - in the end it is not worth my time and 99% of the time I'd always wished I'd walked away from a deal like that. I can easily find someone else willing to pay my regular rates. 'YMMV' (your mileage may vary).
All my clients are fully aware of the terms of my contract. That doesn't always prevent them from asking for an exception, however.

You say you can always find someone to pay your regular rates, but can you book a wedding when the date is less than 30 days away? Not usually. Also, this wasn't about changing my rates. I would NEVER change my rates. This was about a client wanting to pick a smaller package after booking a larger one. Totally different story.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 01:30 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
I'm not following the complete thread but can only wonder if your payment policy (thirds?) actually promotes this kind of downgrading.

The more money you have prior to the wedding in the form of a retainer will deter such changes - since that sizeable retainer is forfeited should they cancel.
I totally agree except that booking higher-end wedding videography in my market in numbers that can keep me in business is really tough. I learned very early on that people got much more interested in booking the larger packages when they found out that some of it wasn't due until after the wedding. My retainer is $600, which I don't think is anything for anyone to sneeze at. And in this case, they had also booked with my wife, which means they would have been walking away from over $1,000. Not a typical case by any means.

Oh, and this is the first time in nearly 5 years of using my payment system that someone has wanted to downgrade, so I think the policy is okay.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 01:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson View Post
well yeah.. it is..

thing with any business, is that umming and arring doesnt make it easier for you, so having a response immediately (ie a set of standards and procedures which you follow) is paramount.
I do this wiht my contract in turn, it answers any question or query that might pop up.
I spend enough time on admin crap which digs into actual editign time and i dont have time for things like this, so even if it might seem redundant, its there. Some say a 7 page contract is too much, but thast how long it is, and in turn, every detail is written out for them before they even bother to ask me.

My website is very similar and i am yet to have anyone email me with specific qustions about my services as ive already answered their queries before tehy even thought to ask them

The point is, that you dont want to put any more energy into somethign that wont make money for you.
yes there is an art to what we do, but in the end, that art needs to paid along with all the other bills.

Calling people back after a refusal can be quite embaressing to them, as well as yourself as they might feel tht your desperate for the work, but IMO, NEVER reveal all ur cards until the final hand is at stake, i think u did OK, but NEVER EVER let a client hang up when your tryin to work out a compromise. Put them on hold, tell them you need to consult your accountant to reqrite teh books (as the job is already in the books you see) whatever.. keep them there until you can work out a solution.

Dont make the solution a part of your contract though as people will exploit it, but keep it on hand to ensure that you can at least answer a client on the spot without the need to have to think about it.

Personally, ive never had a client downscale their package, but if any were inclined, i woudl let them, Not only for the fact that ive already put so much energy into the job by meeting them etc etc, but also for the fact that the
job itself will always have another job to offset that "loss"
I agree. I probably made a mistake when I let the call end once they said they would have to cancel. However, I've never had anyone want to downgrade before, and I assumed if I ever did, then the prospect of losing their deposit would prevent them from cancelling. So I was in new water, which is why I posted here.

That said, even letting them end the call without giving in to the downgrade didn't seem to affect our relationship. When I called back, and told them that I had thought it over and preferred to work with them rather than find another couple, and would honor a downgrade, they were really happy and grateful. So I'm not even 100% certain that taking the situation to 3 different calls was a bad thing. Some people will threaten cancellation even though they don't plan on acting on it.

Anyways, I hope I'm not the only one he learned from this experience. Hopefully the discussion help some of the rest of you as well. Thanks for everyone's input!
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Old July 9th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #28
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Wow, so this ended very strangely. After providing the couple with the option to either downgrade their package or keep the current package and delay the final payment for 24 weeks, they ended up cancelling services.

They told me that they aren't really interested in the videography anymore and that they were going to go with a cheap photographer (who's work they haven't even seen yet). They had issues with my wife's photography, such as ....

- although they thought some of the engagement pictures were amazing, they thought some of them were just "okay" (I saw them, and I thought they were all pretty damn awesome, but whatever)

- they received 100 engagement prints as part of their package, but were apparently upset that they had to pay for additional prints ... really? ... since when do photographers just "give away" additional prints?

- their engagement pictures were online for a set number of days for them to make selections, then after they went offline, they wanted them back online, but were upset that it was going to cost an extra $20 to do that ... again, all part of the contract that they signed

- my wife also did a lot of extra stuff for them, which they never thanked her for

To make a long story short, I quickly realized today that they were going to be a problem couple - the type that you bend over backwards for and they don't appreciate a thing. We were actually discussing how to handle letting them know that maybe it wasn't a good idea for us to work with them, but they called back first and informed us that they were cancelling.

I can tell you that it made me happy!
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Old July 9th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #29
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Insane

I almost rolled out of my seat laughing at Travis's last post! Through this whole thread most people are saying, "bend for your client" while a couple business savy guys are saying, "A contract is a contract, pocket the money, say Sayonara, and stick to your professionalism". Travis fell into the sucker punch AFTER ALL! Very sorry for you Travis... but truelly... this is close to a SitCom script.

How about "other" business contracts. If you are a client and go sign a contract... do you think other business would let you get out of what it says RIGHT in the contract? Yeah right... they'd be sending Lugi over to take your car.

Why... why... do we have to be responsible for other people's mistakes (in this case they misbudgeted and Travis was the one who suffered). Make people responsible for what they do/sign. They read the contract, they knew what they were getting into. Anyways... I could go on... but I think you get my view. I'm with Peter & Dan! It's not "hardline", it's what it says in the contract for peats sake.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #30
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Though this turned out strangely, I don't think it is that bad an idea to be flexible a month before an event. Of course, every situation will be different but a month is enough notice to adjust your crew to avoid extra expenses. Note that I say "flexible" and not "bend over backwards". These people sound like trouble and it is probably best to be happy they are gone.
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