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Thread: How do you guys protect yourself?

  1. #1

    Default How do you guys protect yourself?

    What measures do you take to protect yourself against customers who don't pay up after the shoot? Ask for deposit? Sign a contract before the assignment begin? How?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    the only protection I have found that works for me is only taking on clients I trust.

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by noobie View Post
    What measures do you take to protect yourself against customers who don't pay up after the shoot? Ask for deposit? Sign a contract before the assignment begin? How?
    the best way is don't just shoot for such people in the first place......

    survival rules:
    all new customers pay upfront before the shoot.
    walk away from a deal if you feel fishy or not right.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Deposit, sign contract and cash on delivery.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
    [www.PositiveStudioProductions.com]

  5. #5

    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Override2Zion View Post
    Deposit, sign contract and cash on delivery.
    yeah.. i think that will be a better idea.. if not, why would the customers want to pay upfront before the delivery knowing that this thing might happen to them too?

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    if you are doing business legitimately, I don't see any problem of collecting full payment upfront, if it is a huge sum, customers can make payments at different stages, the last payment should be at the delivery of final product.

    refer to Ckuang reply, it is not worth the effort of working with somebody without mutual trusts.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  7. #7

    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Unfortunately, you won't know if you can trust your new clients until you work with them.

    Depending on how desperate you are with the job really....

    However, in terms of protection against payment, here is a few ways I do it...

    For portrait work, I ask 100% payment for creative fee during booking and 100% payment when they order their stuff in advance.

    For Wedding work, I ask 50% deposit to confirm the booking, and 50% more payment due 2 weeks before the wedding.

    For commercial work, I ask 50% deposit to confirm the booking, and 50% (+variation, if any) when I deliver the order as per specification.

    All in all, you will need at least a simple T&C to cover the details of the job scope and the deliverable before the booking of the job. Also include a clause about late payment fee.

    It is not easy in the beginning to ask for 100% payment out-front, but there are ways to do it and there is a good reason to do it.

    Remember, if you are doing it professionally, cash-flow is one of the key element to keep the business afloat. One would like to ensure there is no account owing and all bills getting paid on time. So you can concentrate running the business rather than worry about people chasing you for money or you chasing the money.

    Hope it helps.

    Regards,

    Hart

  8. #8
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    if it is a huge sum, customers can make payments at different stages, the last payment should be at the delivery of final product.
    Yes I agree that this is a good practise. A lot of wedding studios are doing that now. Sometimes we just have to protect ourselves in order not to fall victim to such customers.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
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  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Override2Zion View Post
    Yes I agree that this is a good practise. A lot of wedding studios are doing that now. Sometimes we just have to protect ourselves in order not to fall victim to such customers.
    for bridal boutiques and shops, this is a standard practice, they collect payment at different stages, and customers need to clear the payment before they proceed to next segments, for example, customers need to settle payment for the gowns before final alternation, settle payment for photography before the shoot, settle cost of album before proceed with the orders, and customers need to pay a sum of deposit for the gowns before allowing them to bring it out of the shops.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  10. #10
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    i do this.

    50% of the payment - before commencement of job
    50% balance payment - delivery of photos upon receiving payment

    this practise quite common for IT projects... which i often use... so using this back for photography jobs.

    the only setup back is, if the balance payment cannot be paid... u waste your time and only get half the payment. but at least u are still paid.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by sinned79 View Post
    the only setup back is, if the balance payment cannot be paid... u waste your time and only get half the payment. but at least u are still paid.
    This is OT but relevant i suppose... so thought I share my thoughts on this.

    This is what you would should consider doing your pricing:

    50% Deposit = all your cost + 10% profit

    So if you don't get the final payment, you won't make a lost but just profit less.

    That way, you can better use of your time and make sure everything is done correctly without compromise. So you can be always be on top of your game while not worry about how to get the bill pay on time.

    The downside
    is you might not be as competitive as your competitor in terms of pricing, but you can be sure if you do everything right, in long run, you will be much better off with cash flow. Some business have huge turn over but still running red on the cash-flow and it is just not healthy.

    In business, Cash is King... if you have the cash-flow, you are more flexible in moving your business in any direction you want to go.

    For example: Here is what I do when I do my "costing"

    My creative fee basically include:

    All my cost of running my business (85%) + profit (10%) and Misc (5%).
    Any further purchase simply price - cost = my profit

    This is basically to ensure I put 110% on my work and hopefully my client would purchase some products which translate to more profit.

    However, on the flip side is, when one price their work below their cost and not making any profit to "lure" the clients in and resort to "hard-sell" to cover the cost + profit, problem start to surface... photographer don't want to put 100%, they are looking for "cheaper" product and find it stressful to "sell" and make "profit".


    Regards,

    Hart

  12. #12
    Senior Member sinned79's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    This is OT but relevant i suppose... so thought I share my thoughts on this.

    This is what you would should consider doing your pricing:

    50% Deposit = all your cost + 10% profit

    So if you don't get the final payment, you won't make a lost but just profit less.

    That way, you can better use of your time and make sure everything is done correctly without compromise. So you can be always be on top of your game while not worry about how to get the bill pay on time.

    The downside
    is you might not be as competitive as your competitor in terms of pricing, but you can be sure if you do everything right, in long run, you will be much better off with cash flow. Some business have huge turn over but still running red on the cash-flow and it is just not healthy.

    In business, Cash is King... if you have the cash-flow, you are more flexible in moving your business in any direction you want to go.

    For example: Here is what I do when I do my "costing"

    My creative fee basically include:

    All my cost of running my business (85%) + profit (10%) and Misc (5%).
    Any further purchase simply price - cost = my profit

    This is basically to ensure I put 110% on my work and hopefully my client would purchase some products which translate to more profit.

    However, on the flip side is, when one price their work below their cost and not making any profit to "lure" the clients in and resort to "hard-sell" to cover the cost + profit, problem start to surface... photographer don't want to put 100%, they are looking for "cheaper" product and find it stressful to "sell" and make "profit".


    Regards,

    Hart
    thanks for sharing

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    Unfortunately, you won't know if you can trust your new clients until you work with them.

    Depending on how desperate you are with the job really....

    However, in terms of protection against payment, here is a few ways I do it...

    For portrait work, I ask 100% payment for creative fee during booking and 100% payment when they order their stuff in advance.

    For Wedding work, I ask 50% deposit to confirm the booking, and 50% more payment due 2 weeks before the wedding.

    For commercial work, I ask 50% deposit to confirm the booking, and 50% (+variation, if any) when I deliver the order as per specification.

    All in all, you will need at least a simple T&C to cover the details of the job scope and the deliverable before the booking of the job. Also include a clause about late payment fee.

    It is not easy in the beginning to ask for 100% payment out-front, but there are ways to do it and there is a good reason to do it.

    Remember, if you are doing it professionally, cash-flow is one of the key element to keep the business afloat. One would like to ensure there is no account owing and all bills getting paid on time. So you can concentrate running the business rather than worry about people chasing you for money or you chasing the money.

    Hope it helps.

    Regards,

    Hart
    Agree with this method 100%

  14. #14

    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    There are different business models to use
    depending on the resources available to you.
    You can either do
    1) large volume with low margin,
    2) low volume with high margin or
    3) something in between.

    Those with deep pockets may choose 1
    as they have large financial resources and
    unlikely to face cash flow problems.
    Further they will also be able to give their competitor
    a hard time, may make them go out of business or
    just unable compete with them.
    This of course if they can deliver consistent
    quality of work.

    Those who are established with niche areas may choose
    low volume high value added projects with large margins.

    Most will moderate in between.

    I prefer the low volume, high margin model which I use
    in my previous engineering service and supply business.
    They worked very well.

    Many will ask how to achieve this.
    It will not happen overnight.
    It takes time and experience. You will discover your
    niche area where you leverage and capitalise.

    Just remember that in any business there will always be bad debts.
    The only option is to minimised it through careful choice of clients
    and terms of payment. This will also depend on your risk appetite.

    If you dont take any projects you will not have any bad debts!

    _______
    Abdullah | www.PictureU.biz | Instant Photography for Events |
    Last edited by AAljunied; 21st January 2011 at 02:03 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Agree with the choice of clients. There are approx 5% who does not agree with my deposit of 60% (!!), some cite they still have 12-15 months to go before the big day. You have to let them know that this is win-win, tell them that you are 120% obliged to take their wedding, not send some bogus guy or outsource or whatever crap (check out the Canon forum now 1 million shutter actuations for a 7D). No nonsense, rain shine flood also come. You must deliver of course, tell them that you have been in this line for 8 years and show customer testimonials etc. Why pay $200 and end up the guy refunds you $200 and give you another $200 as ang pow, coz he gets a bigger pie to bite in the future coz he has "progressed and charges more"? Of coz it works for them as well, you have to be obliged to deliver (as in at least ensure smooth progress of the services to be rendered).

    This also serves as a check, you will get the nicer customers, definitely. So if you give the terms that you will need to settle the balance 40% on AD, at least 90% will oblige. 3-6% maybe within 1 week after AD (ie no $$$ no start editing), remaining 2% return during product delivery. Last 2% won't kill ya... Give the nicer customers what they want, perhaps slightly even more, they will return with recommendations. Long-term. This might be a better alternative to the term "2-weeks before AD collect payment".

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Agree with the choice of clients. There are approx 5% who does not agree with my deposit of 60% (!!), some cite they still have 12-15 months to go before the big day. You have to let them know that this is win-win, tell them that you are 120% obliged to take their wedding, not send some bogus guy or outsource or whatever crap (check out the Canon forum now 1 million shutter actuations for a 7D). No nonsense, rain shine flood also come. You must deliver of course, tell them that you have been in this line for 8 years and show customer testimonials etc. Why pay $200 and end up the guy refunds you $200 and give you another $200 as ang pow, coz he gets a bigger pie to bite in the future coz he has "progressed and charges more"? Of coz it works for them as well, you have to be obliged to deliver (as in at least ensure smooth progress of the services to be rendered).

    This also serves as a check, you will get the nicer customers, definitely. So if you give the terms that you will need to settle the balance 40% on AD, at least 90% will oblige. 3-6% maybe within 1 week after AD (ie no $$$ no start editing), remaining 2% return during product delivery. Last 2% won't kill ya... Give the nicer customers what they want, perhaps slightly even more, they will return with recommendations. Long-term. This might be a better alternative to the term "2-weeks before AD collect payment".


    for lazy fellows like me, here is the link:

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=837916

  17. #17
    Senior Member Virgo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you guys protect yourself?

    For me:

    50% down payment for the package to confirm the date

    Balance to be paid any time before the shoot begins. Some choose to pay after the shoot, but must be on the same day of shoot.

    Of course, I give leeway to make certain admendments of the photos after they have been delivered, but so far none complained.
    Kind Regards
    My Picture Website

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