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Client's Budget Is To Low?

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eric
Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 12, 2007 at 5:36:59 pm

Hi Folks

I have a client which has given me some of work lately. Their budget have been fair so no major problems. Now....they need a job done which will take much longer to do but their budget for this job remains the same as before. I told them I'd have to look at the title and give them a more accurate quote tomorrow. He writes me back saying we MUST stay within budget.

So what do I do? Tell them I can't do the work? I guess I hate alienating a client or at least I feel like I am. Any advice on how to play the "budget game" out there? Not many people do this kind of work either. I just want fair pay.

Thanks
E


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greg
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 12, 2007 at 7:01:44 pm

I would let them know what can and can't be done for that budget. Let them make the choice of what to exclude to stay within their budget


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walter biscardi
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 12, 2007 at 7:55:54 pm

[eric] "So what do I do? Tell them I can't do the work? I guess I hate alienating a client or at least I feel like I am. Any advice on how to play the "budget game" out there? Not many people do this kind of work either. I just want fair pay."

I'll agree with what Greg said. You need to spell out to the client that you cannot do more work for the same amount of pay. Explain that you will work with them to figure what can and cannot be done for their budget.

If they are unwilling to compromise the workload, then your best decision is to walk away. If you agree to this added workflow for the same pay as before, then you have zero recourse when the same client comes back next month with the same deal. Your time is valuable and in the long run, your best decision is to make the client absolutely aware that you cannot compromise past a certain level to do the project.

I do this all the time with my clients. They'll tell me the budget isn't quite what it should be so we'll come to some arrangement prior to starting production. Usually we'll shorten the edit or maybe remove all the graphics treatment or kill the music, whatever, to bring the production down to meet the budget. If it's a long term client, I'll always give them a little more than they paid for. If it's a new client, I'm very punctual on what time is alloted.

I have had to turn away work and when that happens, the client usually comes back to me for the next project. They really don't understand the difference in quality of our work until they hire someone else for much less.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
http://www.biscardicreative.com
HD Editorial & Animation for Broadcast and independent productions.

All Things Apple Podcast! http://cowcast.creativecow.net/all_things_apple/index.html

Read my blog! http://blogs.creativecow.net/WalterBiscardi


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eric
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 12, 2007 at 8:14:45 pm

Thanks Guys

Sound advice. I do want to to offer some HD DVD services in the future to this client so I didn't really wanted to alienate them. I guess I shouldn't feel I'm being a jerk for not taking what they offer but I do sometimes.

E


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greg
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 12, 2007 at 8:55:03 pm

It's a hard thing to do...I'm a people pleaser myself I hate to say no. But in the end, it'll help you with this client and future clients. Good luck!


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beenyweenies
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 2:01:12 am

Being a pleaser is a dangerous trait in our industry. You are a nice guy, and there is nothing wrong with that. But mark my words - people will walk all over you if you don't learn now how to pass on jobs. It's tough because passing on money is never easy, but I assure you all you would be doing is establishing a horrible client relationship.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 3:49:34 am

If you cave to their price, that will be your new price. They feel as though they've got you and it's up to you to do what will affect your future.

On the other hand, I've had a few situations where the department only had so many dollars for a project and they made it up to me on something a few weeks later.

My suggestion would be to have a heart to heart, strictly business discussion with your contact. If you decide to go ahead because the future looks bright with them, make sure that you even it out before too long or they will quickly forget.

Sometimes, the company contact has been given a budget and there simply isn't any more. You can be their hero and help them in one situation but don't make a habit of it.

We're giving you this advice because we've all learned the hard way.

Your results may vary.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 5:35:36 pm

Bottomline: If you take this job at this rate, be prepared to do ALL their jobs at that rate. That is a FACT. If they tell you otherwise, they are full of, well, er, um, manure. This, as human nature will come into play -- it always does -- and they will say that "Well, if you were willing to work for that on that long job, these jobs are far shorter, so why can't you do them for less than before? After all, we've had our budgets cut and we must stay within budget."

Do not do this. Never. No. Nine. Nada. Nicht. No. No. No.

Oh, and don't...

Ron Lindeboom


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Mark Suszko
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 6:26:02 pm

When five or more people tell you "danger, don't do it" about something, you'd better take them at their word.

Your choices are to turn the clients down politely but flatly, counter-offer a way to do it that fits their stated budget, (IF you are personally willing to work on it that way,) or refer them to your competitor.

That last trick will either saddle the competitor with a money-losing, time-eating job, or he will try to lowball it, and the resulting train wreck will send your now-humbled clients back to you, their savior, who, regrettably, must charge even more now to fix the lowball project.

Finally, you would be surprised at the number of hard-limit figures that suddenly magically get revised upwards after you've turned them down flat and let them stew in their own juices for a couple days. Their deadlines need not be your deadlines unless you sign on, and remember that as the clock ticks down on their deadline, they are sweating way more bullets than you. They still have a boss to please, even if you're not taking their assignment. Likewise, maybe it's better for everyone if they hold off doing something overly ambitious until they can afford to do it RIGHT.

A couple times early in my career, when I was more foolish/fearless/candid and had nobody else to support, I flat out told a few potential clients that their project was a waste of money and time because it was not something that could be helped by making a video, at least, not the kind of video they were asking ME for. I said I would be ashamed to take their money and not deliver something that would actually help them, and that I'd rather have their respect for saying no on principles than their money for being a yes man. Then I lef tthem with a couple of heartfelt suggestions as to alternative methods that would be a better fit for their needs.

A couple times that turned out exactly right, and it was because I had NOT caved in and done a half-fast job before, that they came to me again later to make something "done right".





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eric
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 13, 2007 at 7:21:55 pm

Many Thanks!

My actual quote for the job was 10X was they were offering. I politely wrote him back and stated exactly what needed to be done and why and gave him the quote. I haven't heard back. :)

Thanks so much for the advice...


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Steve Wargo
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 9:22:17 pm

Spend the time that would have been spent on their job to look for a new client. Or, to just go have a beer and thank yourself. There's a lot of fish in the sea. All you need is a good hook.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 13, 2007 at 9:32:48 pm

Remember: Right now, whoever talks first, loses.

Whenever you are in a situation wherein you have named your price and you are pushing to the close (or probably not in this case), memorize these words: Whoever talks first, loses.

Make them come to you. Don't you dare go make a call or pop by them. If they are going to come up to your price, it won't be because you call them at this point and ask what they think.

Repeat after me: "I promise, Ron and all the guys with the gray haired heads up top. I won't do that, honest and cross my heart, I won't!"

If they don't get hold of you, go fishing and have a beer like Steve says. It will be time better spent. In fact, forget the fishing and just go have a beer, that will be time much better spent.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom



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eric
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 14, 2007 at 4:59:23 pm

I promise, Ron and all the guys with the gray haired heads up top. I won't do that, honest and cross my heart, I won't!


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eric
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 14, 2007 at 5:05:08 pm

One more thing...The assets they sent me are still in my hands. I still have not heard back from them. I guess I should just wait a little while. At what point should I contact them and say - "hello...I have your content here"?

You guys are great!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 14, 2007 at 5:21:34 pm

If you don't want the job, send the assets back immediately under registered and insured mail with signature receipt and tracking numbers. Better yet, hand-deliver them and demand a signature for them on some memo you can write up that basically says "Here's everything that was yours, I'm out of it". If they want you to stay and have a chat, politely tell them you have something scheduled right now and have to run, but to call and make an appointment for another time "real soon". Then split. Politely.

If you want the job and are just holding out for more money, say nothing until asked. Just bundle and store away everything securely and for the love of God don't lose anything.

Grinders LIVE to find some legit fault they can hold over your head indefinitely.


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
on Sep 20, 2007 at 2:08:57 pm

somebody said it some years ago:
To meet somebody's budget, you never cut price, you cut services.

It may be that you can't cut enough services to get the job done at the requested budget; then its black and white and no hard feelings.
Steve


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eric
Re: Client's Budget Is To Low?
by
on Sep 20, 2007 at 6:34:44 pm

Thanks Steve

There's only one way to do what they need and it will take about 3 days work...so there's no cutting services here. I'm still waiting to here from them. I guess I'll just keep there assets safe forever if I have to. I want to send them back the stuff but not sure how long to go with that.


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