urgent wedding payment question???

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by jemmy, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    queensland, australia
    Hi all,

    Am shooting a wedding on the 31st of March and have a question... I have shot weddings before but they have been for people I know and trust and they know and trust me. This is for a couple I will be meeting for the 1st time tomorrow night. In my contract I ask that a non-refundable deposit of 50% is paid to secure their wedding date on booking. Because they only booked last week:confused: I am collecting their retainer & signed contract tomorrow night. The only thing in the contract they were concerned with is that I ask for full payment to be made 2-3 weeks before the wedding. She wants to pay balance on collection of the photographs which I can partly understand... she doesnt know me from a bar of soap really? maybe I could do the runner (not that i EVER WOULD!!) or maybe I would not deliver what I said I would (not that i EVER WOULD!!) Basically want to know from your experience what you do????? I did read that someone on here had a couple bust up on their honeymoon and he never received the rest of his $$$.. but really it probably isn't gonna happen - although it would be a massive bumma if it did!!!!!. Does anyone not ask for the balance till the couple collect or does everyone demand $$ before the date????? and what do your clients say about it???????
    Any quick replies would be grand!!!!!! Thanks x jem xx
     
  2. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hi Jem,

    What has worked for me is to collect 1/3 as a non-refundable deposit, 1/3 anywhere from 2-4 weeks prior to the wedding then the final third upon delivery of the work. This way you get all your "working cash" ahead of time and should not have to come up with out of pocket money and then wait to collect it. It also as you addressed in your query, gives the client some piece of mind. I should also say that I used this in the past when i shot on film and have only just started to do digitally. In the one wedding that I shot digitally, the client asked to pay in full 1 week prior. In any case, I believe it reasonable whatever time table that you use, that you get a portion as a non-refundable deposit and then to collect at least a portion when the goods are delivered. Hope this helps.
     
  3. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    queensland, australia
    thanks bruce - the splitting into 3rds sounds like a good idea!

    ... anyone else have other suggestions
     
  4. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    The Space Coast of Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Personally I have been burned before, so I collect a 25% retainer (be careful calling it a deposit or they can win it back in court if there is a dispute) at booking and the remaining 75% 2 weeks before. If you present yourself as an experienced professional you should have no trouble getting paid up front. Advise them to call the Better Business Bureau and check your record. Make them comfotable that you are an honest business person.

    Every situation is different, but I decided a long time ago I was never going to be stuck in small claims court seeking my final payment. I have had a few people challenge the policy, but it never stopped anyone from booking.

    Even nice people will turn nasty when money is involved... and if they still owe you money they will string you along... "can't you make these all color and B&W? for free?" "Can't you erase the scar on my husbands face on 1600 photos for free?" If you are still owed money you'll find yourself working for free just to get what is owed to you in the first place.

    Be careful and good luck. ;)
     
  5. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I have not done wedding before but I have been a part of other contracts. It is pretty normal to get anywhere from 25% to 50% up front and then 50% to 75% on delivery. I think that is normal because it is a way of protection for the customer as well. Getting a percentage on the back end has never been a problem for me.
     
  6. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Messages:
    651
    Likes Received:
    7
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have gone with the 3rd's. With final payment received 3 weeks prior via check or 2 days prior via Cash in my hand. I have it in my contract that i will not show up if I dont' receive full cash payment 2 days prior to wedding. The first 3rd is non-refundable. I haven't had a problem and if they are bucky about it and pass on the client. I don't need to deal with a hardass. I only have so many weekends in a summer that are usable.
     
  7. Renair

    Renair TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,200
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I usually take a cut in advance, then get the rest upon delivery. Eg: I have two weddings booked for the summer for friends, I am charging just €1300 for the lot, about a grand cheaper then anyone else. I will get €500 deposit up front €300 1 week before the wedding and then €500 when they get the prints and DVD from me. Hope that helps.....
     
  8. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    queensland, australia
    thanks everyone... your help is much appreciated. I am thinking that I will stick with the 50% n.r. retainer then allow them to pay the 50% balance on pick up. i will make them come to me for collection and no photos will leave my hands till final payment is received. i guess i will see how that goes. thanks x
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    I take a small deposit ($400) and balance upon delivery of proofs. I have broken my own policy on occasion... turned out bad. There is a lot of excitement about the photographs immediately after the wedding. Once they have their proofs a couple of weeks, all this starts to cool off. Get all your money when you deliver the proofs.

    Also... I don't like the word retainer when booking. I do tell my clients when the make the final payment that it's a retainer... and that we bill against it. But if I call it a retainer when they book, and the event is cancelled... after I've turned away other work for the day.... I'll still have to work on a different day for the same money. I think I'll stick to deposits when booking.

    Pete
     
  10. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    650
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    The Space Coast of Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm sure it varies by State or Country, but in Florida if I use the word deposit and they cancel the wedding an hour before the ceremony they are legally entitled to that deposit back. If I use the word retainer I can keep it if they cancel or change the contract terms. Of course I also have in my contract that if they change the date and I am not available they don't get the retainer back and I don't shoot the event... at least I get some compensation for losing that day.

    The 50 50 approach is a good start - just be sure to have a well written contract for them to sign that protects you both. Good luck! :wink:
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Just remember that it takes a while for the check to really clear and if your account is credited and their check bounces two weeks later you're out of luck and paying bounced check charges and ... well, just make sure not to spend the money till it really clears and deposit any of them long before you do any actual work. ;) mike
     
  12. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    847
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    queensland, australia
    thanks guys. x
    pete, my original contract used the word 'deposit' but was advised on the forum and by other business friends that it was safer to use the word 'retainer' - plus i throw a 'non-refundabel' in front too!

    good point mike... i am only allowing payment by cash, bank cheque or money order at this stage so i am covered against bouncing cheques! x
     

Share This Page