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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 1st, 2017, 07:06 PM   #76
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Hey Noa

So what sort of deposit would couples give you in Belgium?? Do they pay you when you announce the media is ready for delivery or actually once they have received it and watched it?

What would a baker do then over there ..accept a deposit for the cake only and hope the couple pick it up and pay for it ?? One would assume that reception venues would need to be paid in advance like everywhere else.

The problem with a video or photos once you have shot it and handed it over to the couple you don't really have a physical product of value to repossess if they don't pay!! Same as the wedding cake ...once people have eaten it you cannot take it back due to non payment!!!
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 07:48 AM   #77
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

I think it is important to differentiate between a service and a product. If you are baking a cake, you have physical ingredients to purchase before you even start baking. A wedding dress requires purchase of materials, taking measurements etc, and venue hire involves buying in large quantities of food, venue dressing materials and payment of staff etc.

Filming and/or photographing a wedding is basically a no expense up front enterprise, being mainly time use. Having a cancellation or non payment doesn't mean you have lost money on wasted materials, it means that you have a chance of replacing a cancellation at no expense, or taking action to recover payment for time spent on filming or editing.

For me, my contract covers cancellation fees dependant on notice given, and penalties for any late payment of due amounts. I never hand over any work until full payment has been made, but equally I prefer to be paid when I have completed the work. The client gets notification of the completion date and payment has to be made within 7 days of that notification or penalty payments kick in. They also have the option of paying cash on delivery, or bank transfer, card or cheque payments providing they are cleared before delivery.

The reason I have used the no payment up front policy for 32 years, is that as explained, I have no up front costs, but more importantly for me, if anything happens to me or my business, the couple are not losing a big payment. Over the years I have seen this happening many times to couples through business collapses, deaths and deliberate fraud on a number of occasions involving thousands of pounds. The ordinary working man does not get paid in advance for his job and I expect to work on the same basis of being paid for what I have done, not for something that I will be doing. I have the same policy with contractors that I use, I will pay them for any materials, but any labour costs are paid on completion.

Over the years, I have experienced the occasional reluctance to pay or stalling for time, but a quick and friendly reminder of their contractual obligations (which they frequently haven't read) always brings quick payment. People who are reluctant to pay never want to face the idea of paying even more if they stall, so I have never failed to receive payment for a wedding and delays have been very few and far between.

The strength of a good contract is vital however you take payment. A couple of years back, I filmed a wedding and kept getting stalled for payment and delivery, so I reminded them of the penalties and sent them a bill for the cost plus penalties or they could pay the contract price immediately. They paid the next morning. I also filmed at the same venue a few weeks later and it seemed that they were still owed over 5k by the couple. They later took them to court and the couple were ordered to pay them 10 per month. Apparently there was no notification in their contract of when final payment should have been made.

The moral is to take payment however you see fit, but make sure you have a cast iron contract to back it up.

Roger
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 08:01 AM   #78
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Point taken Roger

However if a couple pays me a deposit it still doesn't really cover me for my time already spent and if they stalled on a prepayment prior to the wedding would it cover your time if you went ahead and shot and edited the wedding? As already mentioned I have a DVD set on the shelf that's 24 months old now...no they won't pay BUT I have edited and packaged their wedding media ready for delivery ...if they cannot pay the small sum they owe me, what chance would I have if I started adding penalties? My view is if they cannot pay the final 1/3rd on delivery that means they have no money spare. OK we are solo shooters but I wonder how the higher end operators would feel when they have to pay two second shooters, transport and fuel if the bride refuses to pay on delivery ...Do they tell their assistants "Sorry boys I cannot pay you as the bride won't pay" I still prefer the up front method even if it sounds a bit unfair to the bride.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 08:26 AM   #79
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Point taken Roger

However if a couple pays me a deposit it still doesn't really cover me for my time already spent and if they stalled on a prepayment prior to the wedding would it cover your time if you went ahead and shot and edited the wedding? As already mentioned I have a DVD set on the shelf that's 24 months old now...no they won't pay BUT I have edited and packaged their wedding media ready for delivery ...if they cannot pay the small sum they owe me, what chance would I have if I started adding penalties? My view is if they cannot pay the final 1/3rd on delivery that means they have no money spare. OK we are solo shooters but I wonder how the higher end operators would feel when they have to pay two second shooters, transport and fuel if the bride refuses to pay on delivery ...Do they tell their assistants "Sorry boys I cannot pay you as the bride won't pay" I still prefer the up front method even if it sounds a bit unfair to the bride.
I think that time is a variable thing, so how much time would you spend on a wedding let's say 6 months before the date, apart from writing it it in the diary and sending them a contract? Any other time spent talking to them previously, I would see as promotion, a necessary investment in any business.

I do worry about your wedding that has been sitting on the shelf for 24 months. Why can't they pay? If they signed a contract with you for the full fee and you have fulfilled your obligation to them, then they don't have a choice. You are effectively making them a loan of the balance to pay other bills that they have. It's up to them to take out a lone to pay their debt to you. You mention that if they can't pay the small amount they owe you, what chance would you have that they would also pay extra penalties. My counter argument to that would be that if they owed you for example 300, then under my penalty payment clause, that would now ammount to about 560. With an offer to accept the 300 now or be taken to court for 560 plus costs they may well decide to pay. They could also have paid off that ammount at 6 per week only by now!

I think it is more the case that you are a nice guy, giving them more sympathy than they deserve and they know they have already got away with it for 2 years and probably see you as a soft touch!

Roger
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 09:47 AM   #80
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

I am one of those that asks for a small deposit on Booking then the remaining balance before the day; so a week before the Wedding is when I expect the final payment. To be honest only my death would ensure they would not get the finished video. Going out of business is no excuse as I have the footage and a computer. I prefer to have the money up front as I can get stalled on delivery for silly things like music choices, final approval of the video.

I suppose I could have say a 1/3 of the payment deliverable before I hand over the finished video, but as I am delivering multiple videos ( full length, 30-40 min video, Highlights video over a period of 3-4 months), its hard to pin down when I would demand this last payment. Also I allow couples the chance to request minor amendments to the video, so when do I ask for this final fee. Before I hand over the copy for them to approve, the final version once any amendments are made, when I deliver the 40 minute version or maybe I should wait until they are being delivered the final 2 disk DVD copy; at which point they have already seen all the videos online.

I prefer money upfront. Its simple, direct and means no chasing for payments after the day. I'm having my website updated. I paid in full before work began. I see no issue with this and hopefully neither do my clients re my service.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 11:08 AM   #81
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Quote:
I prefer money upfront. Its simple, direct and means no chasing for payments after the day.
Same here, a deposit before the wedding but with the difference that the remaining balance is paid when the film is ready and before it's send to the client. When all editing is finished I inform them and send the invoice, they pay and once the money is on my account I send everything. Had no payment problems the past years nor did I have to chase anyone for my money.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 11:19 AM   #82
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Same here, a deposit before the wedding but with the difference that the remaining balance is paid when the film is ready and before it's send to the client. When all editing is finished I inform them and send the invoice, they pay and once the money is on my account I send everything. Had no payment problems the past years nor did I have to chase anyone for my money.
Different type of clients, different customs, different countries. Some of my clients I don't even hear from again after the Wedding. I send them a steady stream of videos; no feedback, no emails, no comments. I find it easy to talk to clients before the day rather than after. Plus I don't provide all videos at once. I prefer to be paid before I film the Wedding.

I've had 1 client this year that due to special circumstances, I agreed to receive some of the money on the day with the final balance to be given after the Wedding and before I commenced work on the editing. This was July and I've had 1 email since then confirming payment would be made shortly; this was back in September. So far, I have not had the final balance paid. So I relented once and was let down. I don't tend to give others the same chance.

So I like my money sitting in full in the bank before I start filming. Hardly any of my clients even make a passing comment on it, let alone complain about it. So I see no reason to change.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 09:03 PM   #83
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Having an outstanding balance after the event introduces the possibility that the client delays payment for an unknown period of time during which may result in litigation/lawsuit that may or not be resolved in a manner satisfying both parties which in turn may also negatively affect future recommendations by said client. Like
" Well great, we got our videos but we really wanted to take more time to scrounge up the money to get them but he/she sent us a letter from the lawyer/collector. What a creep after paying more than half the contract up front before the wedding. We will never recommend them again to any of our friends. The nerve." This could all have been avoided if ALL the money was collected before the " I do". Happens often enough though.
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Old January 2nd, 2017, 09:22 PM   #84
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

100% correct Arthur

I often feel like only expecting payment after the shoot is almost as bad as saying "Watch the video and tell me what you don't like about it" ..The crazy thing is that some videographers still do that and give them a "proof copy" ... I'm comfortable getting the full payment a fortnight before and I have never had a bride complain about having to pay up front!

Unless other parts of the world are different or the bride's Daddy is an oil sheik, most couples have zero budget after the wedding over here which means the chance of them having surplus cash to pay you is slender!!
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 01:00 AM   #85
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Whilst I appreciate the argument that if I was to drop dead, the couple having paid in full would be out of pocket and have no Wedding video either; the counter argument is what if the couple suffered a similar fate. Some honeymoon destinations might not be safe. Okay perhaps more in the realm of reality is if the couple were to split up. I've had cancellations quite late in the day where couples have split up. There's no reason to think this can't happen after the Wedding. No amount of legal threats will pursuade them to part with cash for a video no longer needed.

The above scenarios are extreme cases, probably rare to happen, but in all my pre Wedding payments, I've never had to beat clients over the head with my contract re settling up. Never had to threaten them with legal action. The only issues I've had are in the few cases where I've allowed payment afterwards. Sure a water tight contract can help. However it can also lead to bad blood should the couple play the sob story and you take the hard line.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 01:34 AM   #86
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis View Post
" Well great, we got our videos but we really wanted to take more time to scrounge up the money to get them
That's what you get by sending the film first and requesting the money later, for me it's clear, no money: no film. That might end up with me not getting paid but with a client not getting their film either, I also know this can happen sooner if you are cheap, my experience the past years with clients that have bigger budgets is they always pay without a discussion. It's the cheap ones that can cause you problems so a solution is to price your packages in such a way that you don't have to deal with the cheapskates.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 02:58 AM   #87
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

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my experience the past years with clients that have bigger budgets is they always pay without a discussion. It's the cheap ones that can cause you problems so a solution is to price your packages in such a way that you don't have to deal with the cheapskates.
But there are plenty of potential customers who are looking for a video who don't have the high budget to splash out on something expensive. It can be a lucrative market to tap into for those willing to handle such clients. Such customers though need to be dealt with differently to those who are prepared to pay more.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 03:29 AM   #88
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

That's just the problem over here, based on my experience I"d say that at least 8 out of 10 will refuse to pay the full amount before the wedding, a deposit is not a problem but most of them want to see the film first before they pay you the remaining balance. In my experience it's the "I want it cheap but good" kind of clients that can cause problems so I gladly will leave those to the weekend warriors as that is already a oversaturated market.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 04:41 AM   #89
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

Some of the comments here lead me to suspect that some contracts aren't worth the paper they are written on in the wedding video business. As far as I am concerned, you come to an agreement and put that in writing to confirm it in the event that either party breaks the agreement. Problems with payment have been so few and far between that it is not something I worry about and those few have always been resolved satisfactorily. I don't have any more problems with bookings and payments than those that take all payments up front. I also don't see why payment for weddings should be upfront whereas commercial work would always be invoiced. I would find it easier to trust a couple that I have built a relationship with rather than a faceless corporate entity.

I am also not worried about someone not paying me then complaining on the Internet about a non existent poor service. They would be far from happy if I responded by publishing a copy of their signed contract showing that they had breached it and were being dishonest.

The argument that couples have no money left after a wedding is really an empty one and an excuse, as parents usually pay a large proportion and it is quite common around the world for money to be given as a wedding gift. I feel that insisting on full payment before the wedding for a service that you haven't yet provided is a statement that you do not trust the couple to pay afterwards. I would be very put out if I went into a restaurant for a meal and was told that I had to pay first, or get my car repaired and be expected to pay first. I certainly wouldn't expect to go for a job interview and demand that if I got the job I should be paid in advance.

Other people obviously feel very differently about this, but I am very happy with the way that we charge for our services and wouldn't dream of changing it.

Roger
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 05:07 AM   #90
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Re: Do My Wedding Packages Make Sense?

I took a company to court over a cast iron statement in their contract. It turned out (as I was told by a mediator during the process) that a statement in a contract is not as legally binding as some would think it to be. In the end I was expected to compromise even though I had a strong case based on a clause in a legally binding contract. A contract would need to be the size of a book to be an effective tool for every contingency.

A few years back I ordered a new wardrobe. It took 4 weeks to arrive as it had to be built. I was expected however to pay at the beginning of the process. When I arranged for new tyres for my car via the web, I paid for this when I booked and then took the car in. I paid for website work in advance of the work not at the end. Rent is paid in advance, not after. Cinema and theatre tickets are paid in advance; in cases of some shows well in advance of when the show is on. I pay for holidays, boat and air travel on booking, often months before I get to use the service. So its not exactly unheard of.

Once I commence filming I am starting work on their Wedding Video. Now I get the reasons why clients could pay something before the work starts and then the rest once work is complete. Especially as many Industries do Invoice you after the work is finished; however many also ask for full payment before work commences. So it is down to personal choice. Some here choose to ask for when the work is finished; others like myself ask for when work is about to commence. There are good and bad reasons for each approach. So it comes down to what you're happy with.

Plus I have many clients who pay for the Wedding themselves; its not all down to Mum and Dad. Plus even Mum and Dad might be short on cash, so the argument that funds are tight after the Wedding still stands.

Even those Videographers who get final payment on completion of the work I assume have some form of deposit. How much is the deposit. Is it as low as 5% or as much as 50%. In asking for that deposit you are basically saying you don't trust the couple not to honour the booking, so I can't see that as an argument either. To use Roger's analogy; I don't pay a deposit when I book a table at a restaurant. So our professions are clearly different enough to make such a comparison invalid.
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