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money refund concerns

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Unzarjonesmoney refund concerns
by on Sep 29, 2006 at 4:43:57 am

Hello, I've been making montages for family and friends for free and have decided to try doing some outside my day job for extra cash to test the water.
I may be paranoid here but I'm concerned about making a dvd for someone, getting paid, then having them burn a copy on their pc and telling me they aren't satified and want their money back. Is it acceptable to say upfront no cash back due to the nature of the work, but that I'll try to ensure satisfaction? I figure that may be enough to scare off deadbeats, but will still do a refund if pressed. Any suggestions appreciated.

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Gary ChvatalRe: money refund concerns
by on Sep 29, 2006 at 1:30:56 pm

I wouldn't refund money for montages. Clients need to approve the product before they take it. I might offer to make reasonable revisions but not wholesale changes. Its hard to stop clients from making copies. I try to price copies low enough that they buy copies at the point of sale but after they take the disc all bets are off...

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Tim WilsonRe: money refund concerns
by on Sep 29, 2006 at 2:57:17 pm

Gary's right. You need full approval before you burn anything to disk.

For review, I still prefer VHS or very, very small QuickTime/WMV files for approval -- with a watermark in both cases, something like "For your approval," or "Draft." Nothing that suggests they'll rip you off. :-)

To add to Gary's point, I never turned a final version over to the customer without them paying me first.

The speech goes something like: if it's not approved, I'll fix it before I burn it. If it's approved, you have to pay me before you take it home. (Or whatever your terms for payment - you get the idea.)

Once it leaves your hands, though, they can do what they want with it. They paid for it, so it's theirs. That's why you need the full payment first.


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DougRe: money refund concerns
by on Sep 29, 2006 at 3:21:28 pm

Make sure the initial price covers your cost of editing and the one 'free' copy, then price additional copies cheap enough to encourage them to buy them from you. That way you get paid for your work, anything else is gravy.


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UnzarjonesRe: money refund concerns
by on Sep 29, 2006 at 7:33:40 pm

Thanks all for the good replies. I like the idea of the small watermarked approval file. I don't mind if they burn their own copies as long as they don't do it to get out of paying me for the original. UJ

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debeRe: money refund concerns
by on Sep 30, 2006 at 12:23:35 am

Might I suggest a different way of thinking for you.

You are not selling them a disk. You are selling them your services. You want to get paid for your time and effort, not for the disk you hand them. The disk is not the product, what's ON the disk is the product. Get paid for that!

Like the others' said, give them one copy when they pay the invoice for the work you've done, (hopefully an hourly or day rate), and make the additional per copy price low enough that it makes it easier for them to pay you to make copies than it is to make their own.

Don't forget to archive or somehow store a copy that you can easily make copies from. Having to ask them for the copy you gave them so you can make your additional copies would be embarassing!

Having a direct on disk printer and being able to give them nicely printed disks will encourage them to come back to you for the copies. Many folks won't have a printer like that, and that's what sets you above the "home-burners".


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shvrRe: money refund concerns
by on Oct 1, 2006 at 1:51:30 am

Back in the day, when I worked for an industrial film company, most of our contracts specified that the client was to receive ONE TIMED PRINT of the finished film.

Additional prints were X number of dollars. The negative itself was even more, and generally would cost the client about 1/3 the production cost.

The real money back then was in delivering prints and with a good relationship with a lab, you could make many times more what the production cost if you kept the negative under your control.

Occasionaly, we would have a large client (like HP) who would insist that we turn over the negative as part of the deal, and that was fine, we just billed them at a rate that made sure we were covered. Even still, clients such as these would often purchase the prints from us.

But as things got competitive and video became the dominate format for delivery, trying to make money on copies was just very difficult.

But I am very specific about the final delivery format these days - either tape, DVD, or hard drive and the client only gets that when the project is paid in full.

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