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  1. #1
    Senior Member retroactiv's Avatar
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    Customers Not Paying

    I just sent a wedding customer of mine to a collection agency to try and get some of my money that I'm owed from them. I took there wedding two months ago and haven't heard from them since but, isn't it funny that I've tried calling there house, there parents, there work, gone to there work, and they call me today (the same day the collection agency started hounding them).

    Also for those who will ask I have a clause in my contract that they signed that they have to pay all legal and collections fees.


    My question what do others like you do in this sort of situation?
    Do you think that waiting two months, without any contact to send them to a collection agency is a right thing to do?

    Also one more question bad checks (I've been lucky so far). What do you do when you get a bad check?
    Chris Johnson
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  2. #2
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    I'm not a pro (or even really an amateur for that matter :P) but in that situation, I believe you did the absolutely right thing. 2 months is completely ridiculous, not only for not paying for a product, but not contacting you at all.

  3. #3
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    I think it's ok. You have a contract and they new what they were hiring you for. I'm in the process of trying to get some money out of a client. There was no contract and the amount isn't that much so it's not worth taking legal action. I'm only out about $45. I have sent a couple emails, and 2 bills by snail mail and haven't gotten any response. At this point, I'm chalking it up to a learning experience. If it was for more money, I'm sure I would think differently.

    On a side note. To find this persons mailing address, I had to go to our states court records. Guess why she was in the court system? Yup, people suing her for money that she owed them...
    Mike

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  4. #4
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    I've been restoring and refinnishing racing yachts for just over a decade. Nowadays I can tell who will be a problem, when it comes to any form of payment.

    There are 3 types of owners who are often trouble and one type of owner who is always trouble; The owner who tells me how to do it but has not ever done it and who comes with his advice from a car body mate. The owner who skites about their day trading exploits and wants to only talk about day trading and swings every conversation about their boat around to their day trading, and the owner who says something like, "I don't get out of bed for less than $5,000 a day," they're the most difficult. Finally ALL WARNING BELLS GO OFF, when their wives become involved.

    So what I do is, I remove the rudder from their boats, just before completion. I leave working on the rudder to the very last, and I'll reinstall it after the final payment has been recieved.

    It isn't that the owners can't go and buy a new rudder for less than my fee generally ... it is just that it can take up to two years to get a new rudder made around here and yacht rudders aren't found on department store shelves for some unknown reason.

    I don't know how you could use this guaranteed and wonderful strategy for prompt and complete payment for photography services ... in future, maybe retaining all images of the Bride's Mother until the final payment has been recieved?

    The guys with the biggest boats can be the worst of problems when their wives become involved. I hate it when women get involved in boat modifications. The wind is free, so the wives have an attitude of, "It is a privilege for you to work on our boat, boy ... so why aren't you as cheap and as affordable as the person who mowes our lawns?" ... well take one guess madam, and does your boat have a life raft?

    Once a Skipper's wife becomes involved, I always have to read the riot act to the male owner. It isn't the guys who want to change the contract repeatedly, they just want their boats finished ... it is always the wives who want to penny pinch and cant understand why something hidden away might need strengthening, to cater for a more powerful set-up.

    Once the wives meet me, I can usually scare them witless about their yachts breaking up at sea. "Always step up into a life raft Madam, that is my best advice." Mentioning 'stepping-up' into a life raft works every time ... for breaking down even the hardest of negotiating females.

    I'm guessing that there are a fair number of females involved in organizing the final payment for wedding photos?

    You have just been told what the real problem is. Business realities often offend. I don't ever have default payments.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 12-03-2008 at 08:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Sports photo junkie jorgemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    For my own work, my contract for weddings states that a $200 deposit is required when the contract is signed, and full payment is required 2 weeks in advance of the date. I will make exceptions for the random person that has a legitimate reason though.

    I let them know that if for some reason the payment in full isn't made before the wedding, then they won't see any images until I am paid in full. So far I haven't had any problems, but I'm sure one will arise somewhere down the line.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member retroactiv's Avatar
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    Thank you for all of your advice, you know after they figured out what is going on they wrote me a check for 100 bucks too bad they owe 6 times that and now they have collections fees on top of it.
    Chris Johnson
    Nikon Samurai # 30 chrisjohnsonpic.com
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  7. #7
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    Unfortunately, there is not a good way of handling some deadbeats. Some people will not pay unless you take dramatic actions.

    I have found that adding a late fee encourages clients to pay earlier. It does not need to be anything huge, just a couple of dollars will work.

  8. #8
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    Quote Originally Posted by Nealrm
    Unfortunately, there is not a good way of handling some deadbeats. Some people will not pay unless you take dramatic actions.

    I have found that adding a late fee encourages clients to pay earlier. It does not need to be anything huge, just a couple of dollars will work.
    Reiterating.. Cheap people don't have a limit to how cheap they are.

  9. #9
    Senior Member retroactiv's Avatar
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    Re: Customers Not Paying

    See I had a $50.00 late fee and they didn't pay that either.
    Chris Johnson
    Nikon Samurai # 30 chrisjohnsonpic.com
    Nikon D2Xs, Nikon D50, SB-800, AF Nikkor 80-200 D ED f2.8, AF Nikkor 50 D f1.8, AF Nikkor 18-55 G ED f5.6

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