What does it mean to put an editor "on-hold"?
We potentially have the need to hire an editor, but don't have the specifics of the job yet. He asked that we'd put him "on-hold"...does that mean we have to pay him for that day even if we don't use him?
What's the standard for trying to get someone to commit their time without specifics on a particular project?
Sounds like he's asking for a contingency fee for keeping himself available to you "on-call". That sounds fair to me, if you can't lock down the time frame, he can't be turning down other potential work just on the chance you will book him.
You could put him on a retainer, you could have a gentleman's agreement that if he doesn't hear a word from you by x date, any further waiting will be compensated for, in some mutually agreeable fashion. I think the amounts and the time frames must vary quite a bit. When I used to do weddings, I booked with a third to a half-payment up-front, and this I would refund if the gig was cancelled within 48 hours of the shoot or earlier. I had to do that once, the wedding was canceled. Canceling after I've laid out money for rentals or turned down other work meand I keep the deposit.
If you want to hold a guy to work for you, without a set time, well, let's make it me, as a hypothetical, I would expect a firm commitment three days to a week ahead to book the room. I would tell them there is no charge for me to wait as long as there is nothing else coming up, they are "penciled in", but this doesn't commit me to do the work until they make it firm with a down payment.
If I get another conflicting job offered to me in that week, I call you and say "decision time: they are ready to go now for four days. If you still want me in that four days, I need a commitment or I have to take the other gig, it's just business. Man's gotta eat, after all. Now, I WANT to work on your project very much, but you're not ready. If you don't want me to take the other gig, I want a half-day added to your bill for each day I have to wait, or we can push the start date on your production to after this current gig, and I won't charge you anything extra." I think that would be emminently fair, myself. Other prople probably have different systems, if you do, I'd like to hear how YOU handle this.
It works like this You (client expect freelancer to commit to you once project is underway and not flake out on you which will screw you royally.)
He freelancer desires you client to commit to him so he can turn down other paying work which he will lose out on and not be able to pay his mortgage,send his kid to school, eat at his favorite diner, take his wife out for some well deserved R&R.
Your client or maybe even you can or is unwilling to firmly commit so you want to hedge your bets and tell the freelancer "well the job may happen but I don't want to commit to you at this time cause I don't want to pay out if the job does not happen"
What can you do in such a case.
Well the answer is to tell the freelancer this is not a firm booking just a pencil me in and if another client challenges for the time then call me immediately to check the job status and then maybe we will have an answer and formally book the freelancer at that time.
IF you cannot provide a solid answer then the freelancer is allowed to take another job immediately in which case if your job does happen do not expect to be able to retain their services unless they are still available.
A hold is a request to work for a company for a planned job. Let say you put a editor on hold for the month of April. You have not contracted him, nor do you owe him any money for the hold. If he gets any offers for work for that month, he would have to say he has a hold for the month but will find out if the hold want to turn the hold into a booking. He would then call the client who put him on hold first and by tradittion give them first option to his services. When the hold becomes firm in turns into a booking and the company agrees to hire the freelancer at at the rate and freelancer is considered booked and has to be payed for the term of the contract regardless of any changes. You are selling your exclusive time commitment when you would have to turn down all other offers. Hope this helps.
The big problem with this scenario is the part about contacting the Hold-Requester. Often there is a slight time delay because the Hold-Requester is "on another line" or "out of the office" and unavailable via cell phone. By the time the hold-requester releases the days, the new client has found someone else.
Whether you offer these hold-requests should depend on your other work; if you have projects with long lead times, and you can always fill in for a blown date, it's okay. If your facility is sitting idle because of a hold-request gone bad, that's another story.
I'm late to this conversation but I regularly use the First-Hold / Second-Hold / Firm method of booking my time.
It works like this:
First-Hold: You have booked me for specified date(s). The time is yours but you may cancel at any time, up to 48 hours before the booking. At 48 hours you must Firm or Release the time. If you Release, no problem, you owe nothing.
Second-Hold: Someone has me on First-Hold but if they release you are next in line for that booking, You become a First Hold.
Firm: A firm booking has a financial obligation, usually a half-day for every day they've Firmed. I turn down all work once a date has been Firmed.
Frequently a client will call and is ready to put in a Firm booking, but someone else has a First Hold. At that point I call the person on First Hold and tell them I have a Firm buyer. They must either Release or Firm. I usually give them 4-6 hours to get back to me - which is usually enough time. If they Release then anyone on Second Hold has an opportunity to Firm or Release. If they also Release then the person putting in the Firm gets the time and now is obligated should they subsequently release the time.
Reading the above it seems a bit complicated, but I'm following a system that's been used in my market for at least 15 years. It works, it's fair. Though the details of how many days in advance you must Firm or how much you owe if you release a Firm varies from company to company.
editor, compositor, nice guy
I have worked many times on a hold of time with cancellation deadlines. 48 hour cancellation, you pay full price. 70 hour cancellation is half price, and I will make calls to allow other clients to have that time for half price. (Most clients are not that adverse to paying half price if down the road they feel they might get an offer for half price.)
I'm curious how to breach the topic with new clients- I had a situation like this last summer where I had committed to a job for an NYC post-house (the word HOLD was never mentioned) for a monday and tuesday job - they called me on the previous thursday I think.... When I came in monday i waited until 1pm, trying to get a hold of some management or anyone at the business to call the client and confirm (after they didnt' show up by 1030AM). Maybe that was a bad move on my part, but it seems that they didn't call to confirm with the client (their bad) and so I guess everybody loses out, right? Seems like a bad business practice to me but I guess my questions are
Part 1) how should / can one bring up the issue of holding/cancellation/confirmation charges if the hold stage is skipped altogether? If they confirm you it seems like they've confirmed you.
Part 2) how can you get paid for a situation like this if there was no conversation about this
Part 3) is it worth it to go after a post -house for an issue liek this or will it do more harm than good? or is it more important to set a precedent?
Well, it certainly is a delicate matter. If you dearly want the post house's business, you probably can't afford to press too far, but you will have to diplomatically set a boundary about last-minute or unannounced cancellations. You are in a corner if you never stated your terms before. In that case, you can only go by what others in similar circumstances get from this client.
You might want to sneak a question into your casual conversation along the line sof: "so, what do your other editors do when this happens, I expect they still invoice a partial fee or something?"
Their response should tell you everything you need to know. If they are good, honest folks, they'll outright tell you. If they hem and haw or deny ever paying a partial fee for blow-off appointments, then they are not being completely honest with you.
Heck, even my dentist charges a fee for missed appointments without an advance cancellation. The issue shouldn't have to be is there a policy, but what the specific percentage or flat fee amounts to.
If they flat-out dismiss the possibility, and you still want to work with them in the future, I think I would want to ask for a small fee up-front to book the date, which you pocket if there's a cancellation, or deduct off the finished billing.
[aaron ekroth] "Part 1) how should / can one bring up the issue of holding/cancellation/confirmation charges if the hold stage is skipped altogether? If they confirm you it seems like they've confirmed you."
During the conversation when they "confirm" you, always ask, "Is this is a firm booking or a hold?" If they don't know what that means then you've created an opportunity to educate them. Explain the difference while also explaining your cancellation policy. If they agree to the cancellation policy then you can agree to the firm booking.
[aaron ekroth] "Part 3) is it worth it to go after a post -house for an issue liek this or will it do more harm than good? or is it more important to set a precedent?"
You said this happened last summer, so at this point I'd just write it off as a learning experience. In the future, if this happens to you again (which it won't because you always ask, "Is this a firm or a hold?"), it's extremely important to follow up with the person who booked you - that day or the next. Be nice. Mis-understandings happen. But when they finish speaking with you it should be clear in their mind that you're running a real business, even if you're "just" a freelancer. Hopefully they fully understand the position they put you in and they'll offer you a half day... after all, you showed up exactly as they requested. And you stuck around for half a day.
Again, if you follow my suggestion in Part 1, you won't have to worry about how to handle it. Just send out your invoice that night and follow up three days later to make sure they've gotten it and there aren't any objections.
Money is tough to talk about. Occassionally I still have problems with it (usually with jobs I *really* want but am nervous about not getting), but we shouldn't be nervous. It's business. You're exchanging your services for their money. It's very simple, really. You should expect to have a discussion about both sides of the transaction whenever necessary and always at the time of booking.
editor, compositor, nice guy
thank you patrick-
very helpful indeed- your comments put forward what i had been trying to articulate and what you say about the difficulty in addressing these matters is true-
i had essentially written it off as a learning experience but your comments helped me with what to do, not just what not to do-
Thanks a million-
ps hope you guys have made a smooth move to manhattan if you've already moved