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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #1
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Should I back down or not?

Here's the scenario. I have a couple booked for an August 10th wedding. The put down a retainer and picked a package several months ago. There next payment was July 10th (in 5 days). A final payment was due 8 weeks AFTER the wedding.

I got a call yesterday and the client wanted to downgrade the package, which means I'd be making about $900 less. My policy is that you can always upgrade your package before the wedding, but you can't downgrade it. After all, I have to budget for equipment and software upgrades and such.

So I told the client that they couldn't downgrade. Today I get a call and they've decided to just cancel services, AND they're cancelling services with my wife (who was doing their photography).

Now I'm tempted to break my policy and let them downgrade, since it's very unlikely that we'll book another wedding for that date within the next month. But I'm also worried about breaking my own policy, and possibly setting a trend.

What would you guys do?
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #2
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Hey Travis,

Sorry to hear your problems. However, I must say I would have done the exact same if I were that couple, I mean why won't you let folk downgrade?

You don't have to buy software upgrades & new equipment for every wedding, do you? Well most guys I know would have their equipment anyhow, possibly rent some stuff if needed, but if the downgrade was in the time frame you have siad then you could always cancel any gear you were going to rent.

To be honest, I think you need to review your policy, that's my honest opinion.

HTH,
Alan
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #3
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I guess you have to evaluate your current situation. Do you need this money? If so I would make the client happy, perhaps they have run into some financial trouble which is why they need to downgrade. We make our lowest package at least worth my while to shoot. It requires the least amount of work yet I am paid handsomely for my effort, probably better than my most popular package. So again it comes down to whether you need the money and maybe a slight bad talking behind your back.

Good luck
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Alan Doheny View Post
I mean why won't you let folk downgrade?
Because the date is now blocked out for any other potential clients that would book this package for that same amount.

The couple most likely went over budget and as always, they look to us to accomodate them. I say stick to the agreement. If they walk at least you have something.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, not to mention that by taking a hard line the possible damage to your reputation could cost you way more than $900.
However you have to decide what's best for you but if it were me I would go back to them and salvage what I could.

Don
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Old July 6th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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I agree, you should try to work a "fair" deal somehwere in between. I'd be really frank with them in your situation and hopefully they'll be honest about theirs. It's a little crappy of them frankly to do what they did without just coming out and saying "Look, we need to downgrade because we've gone over budget, I know it's not part of your custom procedure but could you make an exception?" Instead they just cancel. You'll have to tread lightly on this one. If they are willing to be so rash, it might be something better off avoiding alltogether.

You didn't specifically state that if you cancelled, do you keep the deposit?

Jon
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rick Steele View Post
Because the date is now blocked out for any other potential clients that would book this package for that same amount.

Surely it doesn't make a difference what package is booked once they have the date booked. I mean is these folk booked the lowest package, then another couple called to book the highest package on the same date, would you cancel the first booking you took in order to take the higher one?

I certainly wouldn't, the way I see it is that when a couple books you they book you for the day, it is bad luck that they want to downgrade but as Travis said himself he has no problem with customers that want to upgrade!! Shouldn't he take the bad with the good?
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #8
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Scrap your policy

Unless the retainer paid so far is $900 or more, the couple could just cancel the existing contract, lose the deposit, and rebook for the cheaper package... so your policy really wouldn't prevent anyone from downgrading to begin with.

I think you should scrap the policy, since you really have no reason to block them - unless you've hired on additional help and rented gear already that you can't refund, you have nothing holding you to the higher costs associated with a more extensive package. You should still be able to profit, and the customer is happy.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:39 PM   #9
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Thank you!

I want to thank all of you for posting your honest opinions. I really appreciate the input. The overwhelming majority seems to think that I should either back down and/or change my current policy, so I think I will offer the couple the option in this case and re-evaluate my current policy.

However, I do want to explain why I don't allow downgrades, so everyone can understand. I believe in constantly re-investing in my business - software, hardware, education, pay raises for my assistants, etc. The amount I decide to reinvest is based on what I book. A lot of people go over-budget on their weddings, and if my policy allows people to downgrade whenever, then it makes it easy for me to be the first target for downgrading. I'm trying to avoid that. It's hard enough to sell video in the first place, so the last thing I wanted to do was make it easier for me to make less money by allowing people to downgrade when their other vendors won't.

Anyways. Thanks for all the opinions, and if anyone else has any others feel free to continue posting them.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #10
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I think that you should lock it in both ways. That makes it look less like pure greed on your part. If they can't downgrade, they can't upgrade after booking since you won't have the necessary resources booked for the higher end package.

I'm not saying you're greedy, just that it can appear to your clients that way if they don't get to hear the why's and what for-s.

Hope you can salvage that client, cause if they cancelled as a result of your overly restrictive policy, and cancelled your wife's services to boot, I'm guessing they're not real happy with you at the moment.

-gb-
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Old July 6th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #11
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Yeah, I just know that couples go over budget all the time, and I don't want to be the first one they come to for downgrades. I'd rather book packages with people that know they can pay for them, because that allows me to prepare a budget for the rest of the year. It's hard to do that if you know any or all of your clients might end up downgrading because they had "big eyes" when they first booked with you.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #12
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Let us know how it goes. You might even show them this thread to show your sincerity & transparency. I would hire you in a second.

I didn't detect it, but if you *did* sense a bridezilla, you'd be right to fight. I don't think you're setting a precident.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post

What would you guys do?
Just "turn off" any emotions and make a business decision, to find a last minute deal will be easier for them than for you, so instead of loosing two contracts I'd give up a bit and save whatever I can, plus, you know how it goes, wedding is always financially tough, so give'em a brake,
When I use any kind of service, I know that I can change my mind any time about package, or price, or whatever,
but before the service is provided :-)
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
Just "turn off" any emotions and make a business decision, to find a last minute deal will be easier for them than for you, so instead of loosing two contracts I'd give up a bit and save whatever I can, plus, you know how it goes, wedding is always financially tough, so give'em a brake,
When I use any kind of service, I know that I can change my mind any time about package, or price, or whatever,
but before the service is provided :-)
Just to clarify, I had no "emotional" involvement in my initial decision. I was simply standing by the rules of the contract.

Also, I would disagree about changing your mind at any time. Whenever I sign a contract I understand that I'm making a commitment just as much as the guy providing the services.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #15
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For those that wanted to know, I did contact the couple again and offered them two options; an increase in the time that there final payment is due (from 8 weeks to 24 weeks AFTER the wedding date), or they could downgrade their package. They were very glad to hear I was willing to work with them, so I feel I'm making the best decision overall. (Dana: there was no "bridezilla" going on, or else I definitely would have just stood by the contract, lol).

In the future I'm still going to tell my couples that they cannot downgrade their package and it will remain in the contract, but when a situation like this arises again I will definitely consider making an exception. I do think it's important to tell the client when they first call and try to downgrade that they cannot do it. That way, if they're just trying to spend that money elsewhere (like flowers or something), I'm not getting the shaft. But if it comes down to them not being able to financially do the package they are booked for, at that point I will allow for exceptions.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Seriously!
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