Troublesome clients

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by ksmattfish, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    How much BS will you put up with?

    At the beginning of this year a fellow called and spoked to me about getting some BW portraits taken. He was interested in my vintage cameras, and wanted the portraits taken with medium or large format film, and for me to hand print them.

    We arranged several meetings which he never showed up for; in both cases I hung out for an hour waiting. We kept communicating by phone and email, and he decided that he didn't need to meet with me, he knew he wanted me to do the portraits, and we set up a time.

    About an hour before I was planning on leaving (he lives in another town, and we were to do the portraits at his house) he called and cancelled because he was ill. That's fine, I don't want to take someone's portrrait when they aren't feeling good. We set up another portrait session, which he cancelled on the day of the shoot, and then we set up a 3rd session, which he again cancelled on the day of.

    I didn't hear from him for several months, and then he called me Sunday asking if I could come up and take portraits of him and his daughter (in from out of town) this week. I am really busy right now (Sept and Oct are my busiest months), but I rescheduled some things, and we were to do it tonight. I asked for directions to his home, and he wanted to email them to me. Here it is, 4 hours before the shoot is supposed to start, and I haven't recieved an email or phone call so I don't know where I'm supposed to be. I have both emailed and called him with no reply. If he doesn't get ahold of me in the next couple of hours this will be the sixth time he's jerked me around.

    Another client emailed me today about getting some reprints done from a shoot I did last year. She put in an order 8 months ago, and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since. We have communicated via email on several occasions, but the check has never arrived. I offered to deliver them in person on several ocacsions. Today she has put in a different order. I emailed her back and told her I still had her first order, and it needs to be paid for before I'm making anymore reprints.

    Sheesh, I'm having a bad client day!
     
  2. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    I hear ya! We've had a few instances of brides getting upset about things after a wedding. I always try to explain our policies clearly and they sign a contract but it seems that some people will never be happy. I've also noticed that the less someone pays (i.e. small wedding, just a few hours of coverage) the more they demand while people who order full packages and albums are almost always fully satisfied. Seems to run in streaks as well.

    Good luck with your clients!
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I always ask the client to read the contract, but I can tell they almost never do. I go over the important points until I see their eyes start to glaze over. I can't imagine signing something for a service that's going to cost $1000+ (wedding photography) without reading the contract. It's only 2 pages, and that's because I want it to be easy to read. I could easily cram it into less than a page if I wanted to hide stuff in the small print.
     
  4. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    Yup, I go over the contract as welll, and mine has only a very few basic bullet points for the same reason.
     
  5. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    A lot of studios require a credit card number or some sort of deposit when a portrait session is scheduled, then charge a no-show fee or a kill-fee if the appt is cancelled less than 36 hrs before the session time, or something like that.
     
  6. Karalee

    Karalee hOtLiPs!

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    If sir cancels a lot calls you again, you should get money up front, like John says, hes already wasted your time enough. Non refundable deposit ;)
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, Matt, you know you aren't going to waste YOUR time anymore with this portrait guy. If and when he contacts you again, tell him you're just too busy, and you'll call HIM when things slow down. And I'd want payment in full, in the form of a money order, before I did ANY work on him. He's just not instilling any confidence here. :roll: If he can't be bothered to show up to get the pictures taken, he probably won't ever be convinced it's not free. :lol:

    ugh.....clients. :razz:
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I tried to imagine just how I would handle this. You've got a tough one. I'm thinking that at this point, I would have to speak plane to him, explaining it's time to send some money. I honestly haven't come up against anyone quite like this, but I think the notice of billing will bring about some sort of resolution. If it runs hims off, you'll save some agravation.

    Good luck.

    -Pete
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    This has been a tricky one, because the guy seems really nice on the phone, and I was excited that he was into old cameras, and such. He's a retired surgeon, and talks about wanting to show me his Leicas. Unless it has turned out that he's just some lonely, old guy who likes to talk to me on the phone. :shrug:

    At this point I have decided that I am officially done with him, and I won't be returning anymore of his calls or emails (assuming I get any).

    I don't really get nervous showing up for a shoot or wedding anymore, but my biggest fear is that I'll forget or be late to a meeting with a client. That just seems so unprofessional, disrespectful, and rude, unless there is a really, really good excuse. Who knows, maybe he got in an accident? But he does have a record of this sort of behavior.

    I do all of my portraits "on location". Wedding clients always want to meet, but many times people hire me for portraits over the phone after seeing my website. I used to ask for a deposit, but it just seems easier for the clients if they can pay in person on the day of the shoot, and I rarely have had any problems. When I have a studio someday there will definately be a non-refundable retainer.
     
  10. Reflexions

    Reflexions TPF Noob!

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    We always charge a creation fee. In the rare times that a client has not shown for their sitting, they have to pay this fee when booking the reshoot. As for the order sitting on your shelf, our clients always pay 1/2 of the order total as a deposit. We've yet to have anyone complin about this policy, or fail to pick up their prints. (Knock wood)
    Another photographer in our market charge a 200.00 deposit for a shoot, refundable with your order, and not refundable if you no-show.
    hope this helps.
     
  11. CrazyAva

    CrazyAva TPF Noob!

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    I hear ya! This is seriously how it is for me. Those who don't have a lot and you help them out with a smaller package they end up wanting more and more, they think you are going to just keep handing them stuff.
     
  12. CrazyAva

    CrazyAva TPF Noob!

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    Oh and as for the order sitting on your shelf. I do not print until I receive payment. One of my many policies. Another policy I have is.........if someone cancels on me twice, I don't reschedule with them. I have more important things in life than waiting around for some turd. :lol:
     

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