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Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals

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Ryan SantosCancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 20, 2007 at 1:30:58 pm

All my lights (and other equipment, except for the camera) are rented. If in case it rains hard and we have to cancel or postpone the shoot, who pays for the rentals? From where I live, and I'm not sure if this is how it is in other places, we pay the rent before the equipment leaves the rental house. Will I charge it to the client?

Next problem is that some clients (although only a few of them) here cannot and will not sign an "open ended" deal, that is, I cannot make provisions for additional charges should we need it (as in the case above). They wanted a fixed price.

What is the common trade practice? Thanks guys.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 20, 2007 at 3:54:37 pm

I think you gotta bill for the lights, if not all, at least half. You had to make certain commitments in order to be available to execute the work. That included certain gear like lights. I avoid problems like this by paying for that stuff with a down payment from the client before the project started. Then it ceases to become an issue. Another way to go is to bill by the project, keeping a running tab, but you say some of your clients won't go for this. I think you have to play hardball at such times and say "No, I want to do that, but I can't do it because you wouldn't pay for it". We all hate saying that, but sometimes it is the only way.

It is important you get a good relationship established with the rental place, in your case, a quick call to the rental place may have resulted in them comping or postponing your rental for weather. This is something you need to work out at the time of the rental, and policies are different everywhere you go. In some cases, it may be that if you can return the lights by a certain time, so someone else can use them, the rental shop will tear up the bill or just defer it to the rescheduled day.

The key is to work this out in advance.


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GregRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 20, 2007 at 4:37:43 pm

Mark has given you great advice. We give our clients contract to sign which details cancellation fees and payments, including bad weather. The signed contract is required along with a deposit before we do any work on the project. We also have a section in our contract related to additional fees that reqult from changes in schedule, aditional materials required, etc. If the client is argumentative at that point...they will be worse when they see the final invoice.


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BruceRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 20, 2007 at 9:46:14 pm

A new client should put some money up front - enough to cover basic outgoings. A regular client will know the score on the cost of cancellation. If the client has no financial obligation then he will not think twice about cancelling and leave you to pick up the tab.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 20, 2007 at 10:23:23 pm

If you want to boil this issue down to Ferengi Rules of Aquisition, it would be:

The client pays you for everything, that's the very definition of a "Client".

You may have to front money from time to time but only with the understanding you are passing these costs on to the client. If they don't agree, they are not a client (see definition).


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Raymond Motion PicturesRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 21, 2007 at 5:09:37 am

[Mark Suszko] "You may have to front money from time to time but only with the understanding you are passing these costs on to the client. If they don't agree, they are not a client (see definition)."

If it ain't in the contract, there ain't no stinkin' definition!
Listen: there is one thing on a corporate communications guy's mind: His Job. He can't screw up. He'll pay double if he knows you won't screw up - but you have to lay it out for him. No surprises. Trust me on this - your job (in part) is to make him look good. When accounting approves your contract - he's off the hook and remains a corporate warrior - and you get paid. Easy as that.

I could write a book on this. Most video guys never see the inner sanctums - when you do, price is no longer the criteria - it's something else.


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Nick GriffinRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 21, 2007 at 1:12:36 pm

[Raymond Motion Pictures] When you"...see the inner sanctums, price is no longer the criteria - it's something else."

I've written here and in the COW magazine about this before and Ray has hit the nail on the head. Some inexperienced clients focus on price -- usually because that's the only factor they can wrap their head around. When you take the time to probe and draw them out you usually find out that price is further down the list and well below the actual first priority.

In a corporate environment looking good for your boss or bosses is almost invariably priority one. For the manager it's pleasing his boss, the director. For the director it can be the vice president(s). Take it all the way up the chain and for the CEO and chairman it's the board or stockholders and, for the really good leaders, the consensus of those who work for them.

What makes the people who hire us look good? As the last post says "no surprises." If it was supposed to cost $10,000 then getting an invoice for more is a surprise. If it's supposed to cover four ideas or four locations and it's only about two, that's a surprise. If it's supposed to include all the key executives and one or two key players are missing, that's a surprise.

I'm not saying that we, as providers of services, are supposed to give away freebies like extra shoot days or re-takes for stuff that's not our fault. Instead what this is all about is COMMUNICATION. The better we are at making sure the client understands the process, understands that Tuesday is the day we're shooting in Duluth so everybody who is supposed to be there WILL be there, in short understands THEIR part in the process, the better for the project, the better for us and the fewer surprises.


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Nate GrahamRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 21, 2007 at 4:36:04 pm

While we're on the subject of cancellations and contracts . . . I was wondering if all y'all wouldn't mind listing some of the items that you've been sure to include in your contracts (i.e. cancellation fees, etc).

I think that this post is a good example of how there are, sometimes, a few things that seem to get overlooked in our contracts.

Gentlemen, what say ye?


Nate


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Raymond Motion PicturesRe: Cancelled shoot- who pays for the equipment rentals
by on Nov 26, 2007 at 1:05:35 am

[Nate Graham] "While we're on the subject of cancellations and contracts . . . I was wondering if all y'all wouldn't mind listing some of the items that you've been sure to include in your contracts (i.e. cancellation fees, etc)."

"If it rains, you lose and I get paid?" You'd have to be a huge name in the industry to get that approved. A real prima-donna. Let's get real. A big client or agency wants a team player. Experience has taught me that when you do a bang up job, they will pay for a rain out...because you're on the team. i.e. you'll know when to ask for the tack on...they want you back because you're friggin' brilliant.

Comprehensive contracts only point out a lack of confidence...not some sort of amazing astuteness and foreknowledge. "If it rains beyond 11:01am of the day of the shoot...and by rain, we mean a precipitation level of beyond ...and by precipitation, we mean rain, hail, snow, frogs or any material organic or otherwise falling from the sky... "



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