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What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?

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Bryan KeithWhat is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 27, 2006 at 4:20:10 pm

This has always been a little fuzzy to me. Just curious how others are doing it.

When working on projects with various clients, I'm always shipping materials out. And, being in Manhattan, a courier service is also fairly common. Do you guys often just swallow this expense? After a while it can add up. Do you re-bill this expense to the client? Include an estimated expense in the initial bid for the job?

thanks,

Bryan


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Mark SuszkoRe: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 27, 2006 at 6:04:02 pm

I would suggest in most cases, to simplify billings, ask the client up front if you can use their account number for things like Fedex or personal couriers. Say that this is your standard practice, and they may not blink, unless they have not set up such an account.

This has the advantage of making them think twice about how many things they need shipped right away, and saves you trying to guess how many trips or ships to plan for in the budget. You can say it speeds the process (it does) to do this as standard practice, and that they have the benefit of an immediate audit trail of this expense line, so it keeps their costs under control in that you're not over billing approximate amounts just to cover shipping expenses: they only pay for what they actually use. See, make it seem like a benefit to them. The fact it makes your life less complicated is just a coincidence:-)



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JNeo25Re: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 27, 2006 at 7:25:37 pm

I had a client that was located in Burbank while I worked in Santa Monica. They had been paying day rates for Symphony, Me (Producer) and an editor for about a 2 years, practically full-time. While I was producer only, I would run 'over the hill' and grab tapes, check in, etc., so couriers were rare. Well, my editor got a great gig and couldn't turn it down, so I started self editing. The work was still good, and the client was happy - until they noticed abotu 200 bucks in courier bills over a 3 week period. I was in the middle of editing and producing a spot (with no increase in day rate for over two years) when the call came in.

Client: "John, these courier bills are getting out of hand".
Me: "Really? How bad is it?"
Client: "Bad, it was 200 bucks in the last 3 weeks. From now on you're going to have to pay for a courier yourself. You choose to live on the west side, so we shouldn't have to pay for that."
Me: "Hmm. I'm sorry you feel that way. This is an unfortunate byproduct of my self-editing now, because I'm not able to drive over the hill myself to pick tapes up. If you think about it, I'm saving you $9700 a month on editor fees".
Client: (internal logic rejecting pause) "Well....you could self edit in Burbank, so no more couriers".
Me: (small pinprick aneurism behind now-twitching eye) "um, ok then".

This was a really really big network and was absolutely true. The Creative Director then told me just to bill an extra day every month to cover it.

My current clients doesn't seem to have any problem with couriers. Courier costs really depend on the individual circumstance. If the client forgot to give you a source tape, or just remembers on the 8th edit that they wanted another shot in there that they didn't give you, make them pay. If you screwed up something on the delivery, then you should probably pay.

Hope that helps. Wow. Felt good to get that one out. :-)



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Bryan KeithRe: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 27, 2006 at 8:15:02 pm

Thanks for the story JNeo. That cracked me up.

I have generally been asking for client fedex #'s when it it their project and I have to send elements back to them. Haven't had any complaints or issues...but, depeneding on the client, I someimes have this slightly uneasy feeling about asking. I'm waiting for the day when I get the " I just paid you X amount of dollars for this project and you cant even use your own fedex account?"

When clients come over to edit at my facility, I will always pay for lunch deliveries. I view that as a common courtesy....but shipping expenses I view differently.

Again, I have no issue doing so...if I feel the shipment is serving my overall purpose as opposed to a client's. Just wanting to hear other's accounts.


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shvrRe: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 28, 2006 at 12:56:10 pm

That's funny. I was doing a DVD authoring job for a client in Chicago (I live in Ca) and she insisted on having a copy of the work in progress DVD sent everyday as we were making some final tweaks. I ended up sending out 11 dvds via express mail over a 3 week period.

When the final DVD proof was sent, she told me that she was not paying for the overnight shipping of 15.00 per package (she could see the postal sticker on the envelopes) because that was way too much money, besides she has a fedex account that would have been cheaper. I asked her why she never mentioned it before - and her response was classic - because I never asked her.

She got me there. I ended up billing her an extra hour or two to cover myself, but now I make sure I specify shipping charges are the responsibility of the client. I really don't like to fudge my labor billing to cover other expenses.


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Michael D. BrownRe: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Sep 28, 2006 at 12:25:46 pm

Postage & shipping is a common everyday business expense. Your contract, deal memo, agreement, etc. (you do have that, don't you?) can simply say, "plus postage and shipping."
All the production companies I work with charge for shipping. I really don't know of any business that doesn't.
There's no way to estimate it because you don't know at the beginning how many trips a project will need.

Mike Brown
Video/Film Producer
American Heart Association


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JbaumchenRe: What is the PC way when dealing with courier and fed ex expenses with clients?
by on Oct 11, 2006 at 2:54:07 am

I always used the customer's courrier to send them rough cuts and to return their graphics/raw footage. I used my own account to send them the completed master. Just a customer service sort of thing with me.


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