Monday, February 01, 2010

Bringing home the bacon

Well this isn't exactly a tutorial, but as a freelancer, its important how do you deal with the delicate issue of payment with regards to your clients.

I did an assignment recently. After a some time, the client called me up and asked for the image files. So in the end, I did send over the goods. The trouble starts when you start following up to clarify payment procedures (which has since been hopefully resolved)

To avoid these issues, I can suggest the following :

1. Send the client a set of the downsized edited photos, then request for payment before sending the originals (it doesn't work with all clients, but hopefully it does, at least for the reputable ones). At least it shows that you've been working on their project and not idling away.

2. If the message doesn't go through, send *gentle reminders through phone calls, SMSes, emails. OK, there are times where it doesn't work to your advantage if you aren't tactful, but continue to be firm and polite in the process.

3. Suggest to give your photos in a DVD / CD and meet the client in person, and then ask for payment on the spot.

4. Only deal with reputable clients, those you know you can somewhat trust. There are times when new clients appear out of the blue, but you have to give them the benefit of doubt if you'd like to earn your dough. Make sure you lay out your terms before you seal the deal.

5. Compile a legal document that enlists yours and the clients rights, but that's still no guarantee that they're gonna pay even though they've read through it and signed it.

6. Request for a retainer before you do the job (eg. 1/3 of the total fee). By accepting a deposit, you are getting a client's commitment to you that they want you for their day. If they cancel (for no good reason) 2 weeks before the day, than you are compensated for the lost days revenues. I will always return a deposit in the case of death or serious injury to the Bride/ Groom or immediates (Mom and Dad) or reschedule at their convenience.

In the end, it helps to be firm in your policies and courteous when dealing with clients. Its a delicate balancing act that we all have to deal it, whether we're photographers or not.




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