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A bit of a business question

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  #1  
Old 07-26-2004, 11:58 AM
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grafx grafx is offline
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A bit of a business question

Ok in a nutshell I need to know if I handled something properly:
I have client that has a very large clientele base and shoots many photos which I then retouch. The money is good, but it can be stressful at times. In the last 3-4 months my client has been getting rather bad at paying on time and in the full amount of an invoice. They always have a bit of a running tab added onto each statement (I should have nipped this in the butt from the get-go).

At the beginning of month I uploaded a batch of photos and with the running tab it ended up being $800 + due. The client then was unable to be reached for the whole month and just popped up again last Thursday saying they were uploading pics due for this week. Not a problem, I thought until I saw she uploaded 18 photos and said more where coming. This was all with the statement that they were mailing me a money order for the previous balance...BTW they are only sending $700. My deal is that if the client gets me the photos before a weekend, I can return them by the following Thursday. This was with the understanding of 10 photos per batch. As of Saturday there was no money order to be found so I did not begin work.

This morning I sent them an email telling them that work did not begin because the money order was not received and they might want to send me a list in the order in which they need the photos done. Not all 18+ will be done this week. I also went on to state that since I did not enforce my policy of payment in full within 2 weeks that I was being taken advantage of. ::I was mad:: I continued on about how I do not charge them for rushes, yet they do not pay in a timely manner...and on on on.

I found out the money order is not being mailed out until today (and for less than the invoice)...JOY! And that they feel I should give discounts for bad retouches...HUH??? I do unlimited corrections based on the instructions given to me by the photographer. They also rubbed in the fact that I did indeed state to them that there is not a rush if photos are uploaded before the weekend, but they forgot the part about the 10 pic max.

Should I collect my balances and drop 'em?
Is it correct to demand balances paid in full before begining new work?
What about this "bad retouch" stuff? It was the pictures they did not like, and no amount of retouching could help.
How do you stick firm to your policies without coming off as mean. I guess never let them slide.
I bend over backwards for people and I hate that I always seem to get the feeling of being screwed.
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:27 PM
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kiska kiska is offline
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Retouch and HOLD the photos you have. Don't release them till the photog has caught up on past due invoices. When their customers start complaining, maybe you'll get your $; and the 'held' photos will be ready to go. Just a thought.

kiska
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:30 PM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Hi grafx,

... well ... as an Italian I would have probably asked a couple of 'mafiosi' friends to approach the client with the 'offer' nobody can refuse....

Just kidding....

I really get so angry when people try to take advantage of somebody....

..Depends on how much you need that job... But what I think is that this situation could take a positive turn because now there is a possibility to clear things with your client and re-write the rules together.... so there won't be a
Quote:
(I should have nipped this in the butt from the get-go).
any more....

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Old 07-26-2004, 01:43 PM
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kiska kiska is offline
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Hey, Flora- I know a couple of 'good old boy Bubbas'. They are the mafiosi of the South.

kiska
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Old 07-26-2004, 02:31 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Hey! You know my neighbors???

Ba da ding ding ding ding ding ding ::duelling banjos::

People think NEFL...palm trees, beaches, vacation.....NOPE! Bunch of rednecks...LOL! We're not FL we're Southern Georgia. And I can say that being from a long line of Kentucky hillbillies ::grinz::

Jeff Foxworthy's definition of a redneck: Redneck: "A glorious absence of sophistication."
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Old 07-26-2004, 02:33 PM
Mike Mike is online now
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Sounds like a great time to set up some business policys and put them in WRITING! Give a copy to your customer and say from now on its this way or the highway.......

As to the $ owed, there would be no more work delivered or accepted till the books are balanced. The "bad" retouching you did is most likely just a smoke screen to try and get back to you.

There are some clients that are just not worth keeping. Heading that list here is folks you do not pay their bills on time and in full. Its nice to have lots of clients, but if they are causing you to lose sleep and get ulcers, forget them.

About the last thing I would try if you really want to keep them, is to put them on a pay in advance program. That way you have your $ and if they want to gripe about the work, they have to do the work to get their $ back.

Good luck

Mike
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Old 07-26-2004, 07:37 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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What bothers me about your situation is the part about "bad retouches". It seems like an excuse not to pay you the full amount. Did you establish a policy for "bad retouches"? It would seem to me that they would have returned an image for adjustments if the customer was not happy with the retouching - at the time the issue arouse. Unless you are notified, you can only assume the work was accepted. Personally, I wouldn't want to do business with this type of customer. But, if it is necessary, I would make it clear that images will not be accepted until the previous balance is paid in full, and, that will be the policy from that time forward. Also, you are in no way obligated to wait for their customer to pay - that is their business, an should not be a concern of yours.
If you establish a policy and stick to it, you should not feel as if you are being mean. It is good business. Think about it, how would the reputable businesses you deal with, handle the situation if you didn't pay?
One more thing...I would not be concerned whether this individual, who has no respect for your business, thinks you to be "mean".
Good luck with this.
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Old 07-27-2004, 07:23 AM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Getting a bit of a resolution

My client and I seem to have come to some sort of agreement. I am going ahead and working the new batch of pics, but as suggested, I'm holding them until the previous balance is received. The client seemed to have realized I was correct or as my father stated, "I had them by the short and curlies" I don't know which it was, but a list did come of what was needed for this week and it seemed fair (half of the orginal request) After this batch, I am indeed going to draft up a policy statement and send over. No more grey areas, but I am a push over and when time permits I will do everything in my power to make people happy. We will see how this works out. The client may just go shop about for another retoucher since I stood up for myself, but we will see.

Thanks for all the wonderful advice. I guess the more you work with people the more you learn.
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