Quick Turn Around Time...
I've got a really good client who has more frequently been asking for quick turn around times on projects. For instance, last week I had to shoot an interview with an executive, then do all the editing that night so they could show the clip the following morning.
Now I've got a 3/4 day shoot planned for them on a Thursday (shooting a tradeshow event), and they want to show a finished highlight video (3-4 minutes) on the following Monday morning. As the editor (and one of the shooters), I know that going through all the footage, finding music, creating graphics, etc. is going to take some time - not to mention the revisions I'll get from the 5-6 people who review the video (most likely at 3:30 or 4 on Friday)...ah, corporate video!
And I really don't want to work over the weekend...did I mention I've done it the last 2 weekends on other projects for them?
As a new small production company owner, how do the rest of you all handle these type of situations? This is without question my biggest client, and I want to keep them happy. But I also don't want to get taken advantage of. They produce a lot of videos and I know they use other companies too, and I'm really wondering if they all bend over backwards to make these kinds of deadlines. Should I bring up a rush charge?
Any input or advice would be great.
You are complaining you are getting too much well-paying work??? Here, let me help you with that, send all yuor clients over to me....:-P
Bill them more for the non-standard overtime hours. Have a higher weekend rate, and if you really don't want to work weekends, either say you're already booked elsewhere or charge a ridiculously high rate to discourage them. (But if you offer a super high rate and they still go for it, be ready to jump if they go along with it, or you're going to look very bad. Frankly, a too-high rate will just get you into trouble later, after the heat's off.)
Never be afraid to bill what the job is really worth and what you are worth. That's just business. But always put these figures on the table before a deal is struck: afterwards, or mid-project is never a good idea.
They (the client) produce a lot of videos and I know they use other companies too, and I'm really wondering if they (the competition) all bend over backwards to make these kinds of deadlines - Eric
It's a safe bet that your competition is working just as hard or harder than you in maintaining their relationship with this client. It's the nature of the beast. As you already know this business is fiercely competitive. You do whatever it takes to keep going, which typically means working long hours to meet tight deadlines. As Mark said charge a fair rate and all will be well in the universe. For the job that had to be turned around in 24 hours it wouldn't be unreasonable to pass through overtime charges that were necessary to complete the job on time. For the highlights video I would charge them 2 full days of editing (Fri/Sat.) with no rush or overtime charges. Yeah, it stinks that you had to work another weekend, but at least you made some money.
"As a new small production company owner..." - Eric
I don't know how long you've been in business - you may already know this. It is much easier to retain an existing client than it is to find a new client. Meaning bend over backwards if that's what it takes to maintain the relationship. The exception is if the client is a grinder, i.e. they expect you to do a one day shoot and a two day edit for $500 and they complain about how much money they spent. Ron has an article here on Grinders that every new business owner should read. If your client is a grinder it's time to move on and find a better client.
The question isn't, are they taking advantage of me?
The question is, am I allowing them to take advantage of me?
If you're getting a fair price for your efforts then no one is being taken advantage of.
Thanks for all the feedback. As it turns out, after talking with the client some more, they were open and happy to push the deadline back until Tuesday.
I have no problem keeping a client happy, and working hard to do it. I guess I just didn't want to be giving something away that most other companies would charge for.
And yes, I fully realize that keeping a client is easier then finding a new one. I don't ever complain about having work - I know how tough this business is.