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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 30 Aug 2012 (Thursday) 23:41
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So I finally got a nightmare client...

 
Apex174
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Aug 30, 2012 23:41 |  #1

I booked an 18th birthday party and in the beginning I was really hoping that the mom wouldn't call back.

I need some feedback from my photograher's community here on what you guys would do if in my shoes.

It's a long story but, in a nutshell, here are some cliff notes:

Initial proposal, she said it was expensive. I didn't budge and kept my pricing

A few weeks go by and she called again and asked if my quote was the best price. I said, "you called me because you liked my work and yes, that is the best price". (The price I gave her is almost 60% of what I would charge becuase a DJ friend referred her, and it was a 18th birthday party so I figured the lesser rate because of the event workflow).

We meet and go over details with the husband to clarify my package. Again trying to bargain me down. I modified the package a bit, she pays the deposit, but takes the contract home and said will sign it and email to me.....weeks go by and she was renegging on what's on the contract trying to reduce the cost by nickel & diming my add ons to her package.

A pre-event shoot was included in her package for her daughter, the celebrant. She somehow twisted the shoot to include an entourage of the birthday celebrant & her friends. In addition, she called be within the week to reschedule the shoot from 8/11, because all the kids can't make it. I said 8/25 is the last date I can shoot because my schedule is booked for other weekends. She wanted to do a weekday...I said I am not available on weekdays.

So we shoot on 8/25. I made all the kids submit a model release and consent form from parents if under 18. I asked if she had the contract. She played it like she forgot.....I knew she would play that game and I brought a copy with me. No worries, I still kept cool and the shoot goes well with the celebrant and her friends. Also, ended up removing a guest sign-in book from the package to lower her cost which we already agreed to from our meeting. A ploy to why she didn't sign the contract in the first place.

So here is what really gets me fired up....She sends me a message "asking" if I had an easel for her daughter's portrait at the reception. I said no, I do not, but the hotel usally can provide one for you. She says the hotel doesn't have one (I checked the hotel and they HAVE one to rent out for $20). After I said that the easel is not part of my deal and I don't own one to provide her. She had the nerve to say "I thought you were a professional, why can't you provide a complete package to include an easel and frame with the portrait. (I include an enlarged print of the celebrant but no frame) This was made clear at our meeting with her husband. I refrained from responding right away as I was so pissed off and worked up. I replied a few hours later to say "let me ask around if someone has an easel". So that got her out of my hair for almost a week.

She messaged me today "any luck with the easel?", I said "not yet"...."by the way, the hotel can rent one out to you" She replied back with "That's added expense!".

So I again refrain to lash out at her and instead log in to here and type this to cool down and respond intelligently.

I have never in my 5 years of pro-shooting have I encountered a very unreasonable and demanding client who will take your arm when you offer a hand.

Sorry for the long back ground story but would like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks


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cru
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Aug 31, 2012 00:15 |  #2

Seems simple enough. Just say "easel was not in our contract. If you want one you will have to rent it from the hotel or buy your own..."

If she claims you aren't "professional" that's just her trying to pick at you, you reply "A professional knows what is in the contract, and an easel isn't in there." :)




  
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snakeman55
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Aug 31, 2012 00:44 |  #3

Ugh - I would have bailed shortly after meeting her I think.


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Apex174
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Aug 31, 2012 00:55 |  #4

snakeman55 wrote in post #14929518 (external link)
Ugh - I would have bailed shortly after meeting her I think.

i now wish I had.


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snakeman55
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Aug 31, 2012 00:57 |  #5

Apex174 wrote in post #14929555 (external link)
i now wish I had.

Yeah, live and learn.


-Adam
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Christopher ­ Steven ­ b
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Aug 31, 2012 01:07 |  #6

My instinct when hearing these stories IN GENERAL is to wonder if the business-person (that is, you) showed their belly too many times and early in the meeting process. I find that when I meet with people and I see that there is a game going on, I stamp it out pretty quickly in a way that would make them too embarrassed to try it again. One of the things I had to learn when moving from a purely arts vision to an arts+business vision, is that clients crave rules, guidance, set limits. If you show them that things can be budged, shifted, reduced etc., it suggests to them that it's all a facade (and of course, it is). Chaos ensues.

But I'd bet you know all of this, OP; and you probably are doing the best you can at this point. Who knows, though. You endure this, you do good work, and she'll send all of her friends to--oh. oh wait.



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Apex174
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Aug 31, 2012 01:22 |  #7

I'm hoping to just get this event over with (early Oct.) and market to guest and others who will see my work and for those who will see how I work the event and see my professionalism.

I plan to print the celebrants picture from the shoot to some wallet prints with my info as a business card give away, because I have probably pissed off the mom already and will bad mouth me to some.


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johnpricephotography
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Aug 31, 2012 04:19 as a reply to  @ Apex174's post |  #8

Never before have I had bad customers, until this year and I get 2, one after the other demanding something that was not apart of the contract or trying to twist and change what was already planned so only they benefit.

For customer no.1 I satyed calm but inside I was boiling, I accepted the changes they wanted but wished I had not due to the extra work and stress it caused.

Customer no.2 the following week then started and I was starting to ask myself "what is happening here, One after the other." They was even more demanding than the previous couple and you could tell there was tension forming between us.
My lessons was learned with customer number 1, so was not going to allow this to happen again. I contacted them and cancelled the contract as I could no longer meet there requirements. they only had 2 weeks left to find another photographer which would have been very difficult, They couldnt appologise enough, They sent me a box of chocolates and the wife (they have never met) a bunch of flowers.

I felt so bad, I accepted the appology and we had a fantastic shoot, in which they loved the results and was only too happy sign off the contract as completed.

My lesson here is that within reason I do allow small tweaks but when customers start to take the piss, I would rather cancel the contract and pay back any money they have paid.

Is this not an option for you? I bet they would soon come back down to your level.


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tim
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Aug 31, 2012 05:17 |  #9

"Dear customer,

Unfortunately I'm not longer able to provide the services in our contract. Please accept this complete refund, and consider the work done to date and enlargement complimentary. If you would like a referral to another photographer please contact me by email.

My best wishes with your event.

Regards,

You"


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bigarchi
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Aug 31, 2012 08:34 |  #10

tim wrote in post #14929984 (external link)
"Dear customer,

Unfortunately I'm not longer able to provide the services in our contract. Please accept this complete refund, and consider the work done to date and enlargement complimentary. If you would like a referral to another photographer please contact me by email.

My best wishes with your event.

Regards,

You"

yeah, and does your contract have a 'right of withdrawal' section? if not, add it for the next time this happens..


~Mitch

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nicksan
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Aug 31, 2012 09:06 |  #11

Apex174 wrote in post #14929366 (external link)
Initial proposal, she said it was expensive. I didn't budge and kept my pricing

Apex174 wrote in post #14929366 (external link)
A few weeks go by and she called again and asked if my quote was the best price.

Apex174 wrote in post #14929366 (external link)
We meet and go over details with the husband to clarify my package. Again trying to bargain me down.

Apex174 wrote in post #14929366 (external link)
weeks go by and she was renegging on what's on the contract trying to reduce the cost by nickel & diming my add ons to her package.

So many red flags. Were you that desperate for her business? Live and learn. Next time, when these red flags are raised, walk away from them.




  
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highway0691
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Aug 31, 2012 09:11 |  #12

Apex174 wrote in post #14929366 (external link)
A few weeks go by and she called again and asked if my quote was the best price.

This is where I would've bailed out. My line is "I don't think I'm the photographer for you" to which they usually start to backpaddle. You'll be more the wiser next time by seeing the red flag!


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bigarchi
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Aug 31, 2012 09:36 |  #13

oh, and i've really only had one nightmare client so far. it was for a 50th wedding anniversary and I needed the money at the time.
leading up to the day, she was the worst client ever (daughter of the couple that was going to be suprised with the party).
many times I thought I should just get myself out of it, but like i said, it was a few bucks i really "needed" at the time.

turned out to be an awesome (but simple) event, and she turned out to be super grateful and the best to work with that day and afterwards. really suprised me.
anyway, i hope that things turn around anyway is all i'm saying :)


~Mitch

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tim
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Aug 31, 2012 14:43 |  #14

bigarchi wrote in post #14930407 (external link)
yeah, and does your contract have a 'right of withdrawal' section? if not, add it for the next time this happens..

Do contracts need a right of withdrawal section?


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windpig
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Aug 31, 2012 16:02 |  #15

tim wrote in post #14931861 (external link)
Do contracts need a right of withdrawal section?


It' depends on how much an attorney costs to deal with it after the fact.:cool:


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