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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 03 Nov 2015 (Tuesday) 09:16
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How do you secure dates for sessions?

 
PicBug
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Nov 03, 2015 09:16 |  #1

when using the security deposit to secure the session date, what if they hem/haw and just don't send it and the session date is getting close?. I have one client that a week and a half ago I sent the contract for her to fill out that includes the request to pay the deposit, and details of all of that and her session in an email. I've heard from her, but no payment or contract received yet. I did send her a friendly email last night to confirm her intentions, letting her know I have another client interested in that date, and to let me know by the end of tomorrow so I can let the other client know if it's free.

I'm not sure I handled this best and wonder what suggestions you all have for securing the dates and when the client delays on paying, and then if they don't how do you close off or tactfully reschedule.


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kjonnnn
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Nov 03, 2015 11:56 |  #2

Its pretty simple. YOU set the date. (At the time or meeting, or signing of contrart, or whenever you want). But the session date isnt held until deposit is received. No exceptions. No its the mail, not Im sending next week, but when the deposit is received and in your hand. You dont need to be tactful, just professional. Make it clear from the first meeting. With your present client, informed them if deposit isnt received by xx-xx-xx, the date will be given away. They're already late, so thats not being rude, thats just business.




  
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Littlejon ­ Dsgn
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Nov 03, 2015 12:46 |  #3

We will hold a date for 48 hours from when we send the contract and request our retainer. After which the date is back up for grabs. We make it very clear to all our potential clients that we WILL release the date after 48 hours. For weddings the prime dates go fast, I don't really care who's wedding I am photographing, the first to pay is the one I will show up and work at.

We have sent reminder emails very similar to yours to prod along people if needed. We have also had people come back to us with payment info only to find out we booked their date a week or two before that while they were dilly dallying.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Nov 03, 2015 13:41 |  #4

It may help to accept deposits via PayPal, so that your client can pay you in a manner in which you will receive (and confirm) the payment immediately.
Make it easy for the client, and they are more likely to follow through and do it.


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kcpyro
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Nov 03, 2015 14:21 |  #5

We take payment over the phone using Square.


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BlakeC
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Nov 03, 2015 14:45 |  #6

I have a no tolerance policy for this. Until you give me a non-refundable deposit, it is just talk and you are not on my calendar.

I use PayPal Invoice, as well as accept cash & check in person. Although, nothing is in stone until the check clears. I am busy and have plenty of people who want the same date. First to pay gets it. All forms of payment receive a receipt as well.

If someone expresses interest in a certain date/time and SAY they want to pay the deposit. I hold their date for 24hrs to give them time to actually pay it.

It's disrespectful for you to waste MY time and think that you are so important that my world revolves around you. Don't jerk me around and waste my time. Pay your deposit or keep moving. I won't waste your time, so don't waste mine. You wasting my time, costs me money. If you are set on having me do your photos, you are going to have to pay, so what is the problem in paying a non-refundable deposit now?

For your particular case, it sounds like you have given her ample opportunity to pay and reserve her time on your calendar. Since she is communicating with you, it sounds like she is still planning on it. Tell her, "I need you to pay your deposit now or I will be forced to remove you from my calendar." If she doesn't pay, she knows what happens. I would keep her on my calendar but mark it as un-paid and consider it an open time slot. If someone else is willing to pay the deposit, schedule them in and no need to notify her that she is not scheduled anymore because you have already told her several times and made it clear. When/if the time comes and she contacts you angry about it, refer her back to the reminders and warnings you gave her.

I have had several potential clients email me and ask to book me for a certain date/time then never pay a deposit. So, I did just what I told you to do. I scheduled someone over them who paid their deposit and did not notify the previous "client." And guess what, I never heard from them! They never called to cancel or asked where I was. Talk about disrespectful! They said "put me down for this date/time" then at some point decided NOT to do photos and did not think it would be appropriate to inform me?! pft!


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Nov 03, 2015 15:50 |  #7

Agreed, until you have a signed agreement and any funds you collect up front they are not a client, they are a prospect.

You mention someone else who wants the same date. If this is the case ask THEM for the contract and up-front charges to secure a CLIENT.

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Nov 04, 2015 08:10 |  #8

I follow the philosophy that Blake has stated, it's a business so run it like one. Back when I tested models I required a nonrefundable deposit to hold the time. The number of no-shows dropped dramatically and the window shoppers knew that I was serious. Now that I shoot Commercial projects, I generate an Estimate that needs to be signed and returned with a retainer. After working with a Client for six months, I allow 30 days for payment but the signed Estimate is still required. Editorial is and always has been 30 days.


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welshwizard1971
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Nov 04, 2015 08:50 |  #9

What Blake said sounds reasonable, but I would send an mail to let them know the date has gone, poor communications are a two way street, and this covers your arse against any comebacks, and being British, it just seems polite to do so.

I run a training company ( non photographic ) and I always tell people when their date has gone, and it's nowhere near as big an event as a wedding. But then I never request a deposit either, and in 8 years I've never had a no show, so thinking about it now, I've been very very lucky, especially as it's outdoors so very weather dependant, so time to change the policy I think.....


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BlakeC
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Nov 04, 2015 08:57 |  #10

welshwizard1971 wrote in post #17772005 (external link)
What Blake said sounds reasonable, but I would send an mail to let them know the date has gone, poor communications are a two way street, and this covers your arse against any comebacks, and being British, it just seems polite to do so.

lol.
I am polite the entire time. But being intentionally disrespected is a no no. Show me the same respect I show you and we will be good. By me telling them I need a retainer or nothing is held and them repeatedly ignoring me, they are saying to me that they do not care. So they get what they give. It may be harsh but it is a two way street. I am also not British...or Canadian; I can only be polite for so long.  :p

I also do not work for clients who see photographers as "the help" and expect us to stand unseen in the shadows.


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Littlejon ­ Dsgn
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Nov 04, 2015 09:05 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #11

Its hard enough keeping track of the people that have actually booked and paid a retainer, if I had to keep track of all the people "fishing" to let them know when "their date" gets booked I would never have time to actually take photos lol.




  
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BlakeC
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Nov 04, 2015 09:18 |  #12

Littlejon Dsgn wrote in post #17772025 (external link)
Its hard enough keeping track of the people that have actually booked and paid a retainer, if I had to keep track of all the people "fishing" to let them know when "their date" gets booked I would never have time to actually take photos lol.

I know! I had a lady contact me 2 months ago for a quote to do her wedding on Dec 5. I gave her the quote and said I need a retainer, she said she wanted me to do it and she would talk to her fiance and get back to me the next day. She needed to cancel her other photographer to book me (bad sign right there). I didn't hear from her for 2 weeks. And prior to this, we were emailing daily. Nothing was ever signed or paid. An Animal Rescue that I do charity work for contacted me to do a Santa Paws shoot on Dec 5. I immediately scheduled them instead. I still have not heard from the bride.


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Nov 06, 2015 19:14 |  #13

Yeah, that's tuff. On one hand, you want to do the work on the other.. Well its not on the books until the deposit is paid. Even up to the last minute, first payment gets the date. If a client does not pay their deposit but then the day of has the full payment for the shoot AND I am available, I may do the shoot. But they will pay before I do, and if there is travel, its just a flat out sorry we can re-schedule and you can pay your deposit for that date.

No reason to be rude or all that. Just professional. Let them know deposits need to be paid, or there will be no show for me the day of.

Take it a step further... They pay their deposit, now they need to pay their balance. For weddings, in my contracts this is three weeks prior to the date. No payment, no photographer, thank you for your donation.


Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer....
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Nov 06, 2015 19:15 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #14

Ill bet she found out her deposit to the other photographer was non refundable lol


Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer....
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Roamingbull
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Nov 06, 2015 19:20 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #15

I also allow a temp hold on dates to allow a client to pay. This can be 24 hours up to a week if the shoot is far enough out. But after that... its an open date available for hire.


Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer....
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How do you secure dates for sessions?
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