Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall Fund Drive

I have always been very fortunate with getting paid on time. I require all clients to provide a 50% deposit in order to book a shoot with the balance due upon receipt of final images (in reality, I give clients up to 30 days to pay that final bill and once in a while, an invoice has gone to 45-60 days). In nine years of shooting professionally, I have never had to write off bad debt.

In my years as an ad agency account manager, I remember the "we don't pay our vendors until our client pays us" rule and despite my disagreement with it, I did have to abide by it when I hired photographers to shoot for my clients. However, I felt then and I still feel now, this rule weakens vendor relationships.

I pay my assistants, accountants, book keepers, web designers and other people who provide services to me within 1-2 weeks of receiving an invoice. As a result, they all jump for me when I need them, which allows me to provide better service to my clients. By paying my vendors in a timely manner, they know I respect the service they provide.

5 comments:

Andrew Ptak said...

Hello Corey - just found your site and Blog and they're a great inspiration.

I shoot hospitality and lifestyle too, although not in your league, so you can relax! On the subject of getting paid, I find that many companies, including big ones, want to pay in Contra and when I balk, they tell me that they've never paid for an assignment and that's just the way it is.

We can go into all of the reasons as to why they can get away with that, but I'm interested to know how you handle that kind of situation. Thanks.

Corey Weiner said...

Hi Andrew. I tried to reply via email but I got no response. I'm not sure what you mean when you say your clients want to "pay in Contra" so please let me know and I can give you my best advice.

I will tell you that just as in any business, people should be paid for their work. The only instance where I will gladly forgo payment is if I am working for family, friends or charities.

Andrew Ptak said...

Hi Corey - don't know what happened about the email - ??

I guess that "Contra" is just a local term around here. It refers, basically, to barter. What I find often is that a resort will want me to shoot in return for giving me a free week some other time.

I have done the odd one like that if there has been something about the place that I would really like to add to my portfolio, but generally I decline.

However, it has become so prevelant with both large and small operations insisting that they won't pay because they just don't have to. Someone will always do it on their terms and that's all there is to it.

I've answered some of these requests with my own request of a property release so I can at least use it for Stock and have always been turned down. I'm beginning to think that there is just no way to make a living with these people.

Corey Weiner said...

I have been asked by resorts and other clients to do shoots on trade and in 10 years, I have never accepted any. First, I need the money. Second, I will choose where to go on vacation and pay cash for it.

Some of my clients have told me about past barter deals where the photographer did bad work or ran up a huge tab at the bar. It's just like any other industry. Would you hire a doctor in exchange for something?

Some resorts know the difference between good work and mediocre work and are willing to pay for it. These clients understand that a few thousand dollars for great images will be returned to them through many years of bookings. The other resorts will never understand the value of good work and you will never convince them otherwise so it is best to move onto other opportunities.

That's why 75% of all travel advertising is annoying to look at. Another 22% is boring and ineffective. The remaining 3% is beautiful and brilliant. Those are the clients you should go for and they will gladly pay you.

Good luck!

Andrew Ptak said...

I guess the main thread of my question is do you find this getting worse? I do and it's bugging the hell out of me when even large corporations do this.

While I have your attention for a bit, I've often wondered about my production and workflow habits on Resort jobs, but I don't know anyone else who does this to ask about theirs. For instance, I see you are/were in Cancun. I just got back from Mayakoba, just south of there, where I shot 120Gigs in a week - I bracket a lot. I liked the place and just went nuts, but what a headache in post production when I got back!

I'm never too sure what my final edited take should be in order to do a thorough job and justify myself. I often benchmark that around 200 edited shots should be right for a week's work, but I don't know how I came up with that number.

Care to share a little about your own production workflow? By the way, who were you shooting for in Cancun? Just curious, in case I know it.

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