A little rant about a cancellation

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Johnboy2978, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Photography has been a strong hobby for me for a few years now, and I also have done several paid jobs including a few weddings, senior portraits, etc. In my FT job, I work as director of mental health crisis services for an agency, and have also done several photography jobs for this company. Recently, I was contacted by our HR person asking about me providing services for our company Christmas party. The agency wanted to hire me to take portraits for anyone interested. They were going to pay me $10 per couple in turn for a 5x7 print, and at last count had at least 75 interested. So I figure that would be a nice little bonus for myself at $9.50 per couple after getting the print, plus any additional prints that I sold on the side. We made this agreement a couple of weeks ago and today I get an email from HR manager saying that they decided to go with another photog b/c they agreed to give them #2 5x7 and could possibly also print them and give them to the couples by the end of the night.

    So, I've lost at least $750 on this deal and am a bit ticked that they continued shopping for a better price after making the agreement. Granted I did this a bit loose and didn't ask them to sign a contract or be paid up front, but at the same time, I've done probably a dozen jobs like this before for them. This will be the last time I do anything without a contract/agreement and upfront payment.

    Anything similar happen to others here, and if so how'd you respond/react?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've had one or two where someone has said they would hire me for their wedding but before getting a chance to get a signed contract and a deposit, they have canceled...with the reason that they found a family member to do it for a lot cheaper. In a nice way, I tell them; "Congratulations, you get what you pay for."

    You will get this type of thing in any business. Chalk it up to a learning experience and be more aggressive about getting deals signed in the future.
     
  3. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    Verbal contracts are legaly binding...
     
  4. Captain IK

    Captain IK TPF Noob!

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    Verbal contracts are legally binding...but extremely difficult to enforce.

    Been there done that.

    Consider this the cost of doing business.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Nothing says 'bad word of mouth' like suing someone over a verbal contract.
     
  6. dtornabene1

    dtornabene1 TPF Noob!

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    With all due respect, I can certainly appreciate your anger, however this is a business after all. You have a right to chose your clients as they have right to chose those who provide the service.

    If you loved photography for photography sake and had no human need to eat or desire shelter, you could work for free and everyone would be happy. That's just not life.

    We own expensive equipment, take pride, above and beyond any sane person, in our work, and spend hours that turn into days and eventually years perfecting our craft. You deserve to be treated as a professional.

    With that said, I find there are two ways to look at any business situation in which I have not been chosen. I could get pissed and say "They don't know what they are missing!" or ask why not chose me?

    It seems simple in this case. Your client, which happens to be a company you work for and not always a good idea, needed more for the money and wanted people to get prints that evening.

    Does that mean you need to alter your business to accommodate this type of situation in the future? Of course not, it just gives you pause and allows you to recognize trends in popular demand. Just remember, don't pass on all the trends.

    I am truly sorry you did not get the job. I am sure you would have enjoyed it and who doesn't need extra money these days. Next time, separate yourself from the employee/company relationship and get a contract in writing. This might have prevented them from looking elsewhere in the first place.

    -Nick
     
  7. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I appreciate your comment and I appreciate the fact that it is a business. The thing that really ticked me off is that there was an agreement, and then even after that agreement was made, they not only continued to look for someone else, but hired someone else. I even spent some $ in anticipation for this b/c I felt I needed to have some new posing stools available for this shoot. I was going to buy them later anyway, but didn't need to buy them at this time. I just got thoroughly turned off by the lack of professionalism in this. Believe me, any future work for my company will be with a signed contract and pre-payment as well as future work for any other client.
     
  8. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I say this out of a desire to help you, not insult you: that was foolish. Never ever spend money that you merely anticipate earning. If you must spend money before you are paid for a job, only do it when you know that money is "in a bag", just not liquid yet. By that, I mean that it is a done deal, the agreement is made and, you have already done the work, and the customer has a legal obligation to pay you. Even then, I'd hesitate to spend the money because there is always the possibility of having a deadbeat customer who takes forever to pay.

    I'm not necessarily talking specifically in terms of photography business, but just in general: never spend money before you have it in your bank account.

    OK, you needed these later anyway, which helps justify it, but I think I've made my point.

    Despite this, I can totally understand your frustration. You had a verbal agreement, and your company decided to be cheap and dishonorable. Unfortunately, verbal agreements are hard to enforce because he-said-she-said's never work in law.

    I suppose you could offer to do it for less, but only if you can afford the hit and still make a reasonable profit.
     
  9. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with what you said and ordinarily I wouldn't spend money in anticipation of the event unless there was a deposit. In the weddings and other big events I've done, I do require a non-refundable deposit. I've done a dozen similar jobs for my company and never had an issue, which is why I felt it was a done deal. But yeah, lesson or two learned here.
     
  10. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Not seeing how you lost 750 on this deal. Even the purchase of dumb ol' posing stools will help your studio down the road. Business is business. Do not blame them for looking. Next time you bid a job like this you will know what to offer. I get the feeling the only reason they went with the other guy is because of the prints offered the same day deal.

    Love & Bass
     
  11. viridari

    viridari TPF Noob!

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    "As soon as I have your deposit, I can hold the date for you."

    And of course you require a contract to be signed in order to accept the deposit.

    This was avoidable. It's unfortunate, but try to look at it as a learning experience.
     
  12. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    $10 x 75 couples = $750 (minus my expenses of about $60 prints). This doesn't figure in my loss of prints that the couples could've ordered as well on top of that. Also lost the exposure for those who were unaware that I do photography and possibility of future jobs.

    I still woudn't offer prints at the event. I would not consider printing them w/o checking each of them and editing out blemishes and making minor corrections. Plus I don't think prints from an inkjet would be a benefit from me or the client.

    Anyone care to share a copy of their contract with me? I need to revise mine.
     

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