Offering Payment Plans?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by William Petruzzo, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    After having to turn away four couples this wedding season because they couldn't afford me, I'm beginning to seriously consider the option of offering payment plans to my customers. Because I'm still brain storming, I thought I'd post the idea up here and see what the community thinks.

    Any experience? Ideas? Pitfalls?
     
  2. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Problem is once you deliver the product, they may decide they dont need to pay the rest, knowing it will probably cost you to take them to claims.

    I think some offer monthly payments before the wedding, or the balance due before anything is picked up. Ive read that after the wedding, paying for the pictures are not the priority, so it may take a while.

    You could refer them to a bank that has good bank loans. :D

    If you accept paypal, they have a payment program? Im not sure how that affects your end if they decide not to pay.
     
  3. MikeBookPro

    MikeBookPro TPF Noob!

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    I would think any payment plan where the client doesn't get anything until they are paid in full would be fine, even if it is after the event. For example, if you charge $5000 for a wedding, including prints/CD/whatever, and the couple gives you a $1000 deposit, $1000 a month before the wedding, and $1000 on the wedding day. You've received $3000, and shoot the wedding. If they don't pay the remaining $2000, they don't get prints/CD/whatever.

    Is this what you had in mind?
     
  4. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, it was definitely going to be something in that neighborhood. Digital negatives are only included in top packages (which is where clients are most likely to want to finance things). I could easily open up online proofing, but not actually deliver anything until the full payment is in.

    But clients often book six months in advance. If the wedding package were $4000 and they paid $500 to save the date and about $430 for the next eight months, they'd be paid in full about three months after the wedding which isn't all that much longer than it would be normally for them to get their images.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Are you saying they couldn't afford your least expensive package?
     
  6. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    No, they couldn't afford they feature set they wanted. Actually, it was more that they weren't able to come up with the cash for the deposit all at once. Something that could be rectified between accepting credit card payments and offering payment plans.
     
  7. rhondag

    rhondag TPF Noob!

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    I offer payment plans for my wedding clients...the final payment is due when I arrive to shoot the wedding. So far, everyone has paid their final payment before then...just because they know it will be a busy day.
    I wouldn't even consider letting them pay AFTER the wedding.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Around here it takes 50% of the package cost to hold a date and final payment is required 30 days before the event, so payment instruments have time to clear. (That's pretty much standard with all vendors in this neck of the woods.)

    So, those on a monthly payment plan aren't guaranteed a hold on their date, and no pre-event photography is done, until the full deposit amount has been paid. The payment plan is structured so the total package amount is reached 30 days prior to the event.
    Actually, what we have been calling a deposit is a non-refundable retainer here, and covers the studio's time and costs for the administrative work/file setup, consults, etc. Check in your state about the legal difference between a retainer and a deposit.

    If a payment is missed, without contacting us beforehand, the contract is void and any monies paid that exceed the retainer amount are returned.

    You should have a contract specifically for clients on a payment plan.
     

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