Should I go after them for the money?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Cinka, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    I was hired by a fashion company to shoot a large scale catalog session for an excellent rate they suggested. The coordinator asked me to find models and a hair and make-up person. Initially, they'd asked for a photographer with a studio. Mine is under construction, so I currently rent at a local place. I asked the company to split the difference with me (and mentioned it wasn't a big deal if they couldn't) and they said they'd think about it. Meanwhile, I started looking for models and hair/make-up. I spent a great deal of time corresponding, looking through portfolios, and speaking with people.

    About a week later, I was told the shoot was being postponed to the following Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. I emailed on Sunday asking for an update and didn't hear from anyone. I tried calling several times to no avail. I finally talked a staff member who told me the shoot had already taken place. WTF? I tried to get clarification from the coordinator who would not return my calls. The coordinator later lied and said she'd tried to call, but my phone was disconnected. BS. I further sent several email asking for an update.

    So I sent them an invoice for my time. I cleared a block of time for this shoot, missed other opportunities, and worked hard on good faith.

    Today, I was told that under no circumstances would they pay my invoice.

    So, did I waste my time or should I go after them for the money? I feel F'd over and totally gypped. They hired me and then did the shoot with someone else without a proper cancellation on my end. As far as I knew, we were going forward. Perhaps good faith doesn't exist in business?

    Thoughts? Help? Experience?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Do you have anything signed by them? If not, you are probably SOL.

    Take it as a lesson and next time get a contract signed before you do any work.
     
  3. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    No, nothing signed. Doesn't a verbal contract amount to anything?
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Suposedly it does...but good luck making it stick.
     
  5. Cinka

    Cinka TPF Noob!

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    Yeah. I figured. So, going forward, should I have clients sign a contract? If so, what kind of contract (where can I find one). Is this standard practice with freelancers?
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Always always always a contract.
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would also suggest being more decisive about what the client needs to pay for. Unfortunately, saying things like "Well I have this additional cost, you can help pay for it but you don't have to" is going to paint you as unprofessional and may result in the kind of treatment you got.

    I'm not picking on you, by the way. I say this from experience. Unfortunately, I find that photographers can really get treated like crap at times, and as much as you want to just work "on the level" and expect people will be reasonable and fair, frequently they will not be.

    Cite your prices clearly up front, do not waver from your quotes, get contracts before laying out your own funds or bookng materials and locations, etc.

    The flip side of this is if you make it TOO formal and you're newer with less experience, you may scare clients off. Grow into it slowly... don't try whipping a 40 page contract at someone, but always be clear and concise and make sure you have a sound agreement that you are comfortable with.
     
  8. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    I agree with Mike -- I think you're SOL, unfortunately. :(
     
  9. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    How good of an attorney can you afford?
     
  10. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I have been through this before especially here in CA. Not a lot can be said that you do not already know. Take it light. Do not go after them. As you get clients on the hook try and feel them out a little better. Experience will help in future endeavors.

    Love & Bass
     

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