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Government Payments

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Steve WargoGovernment Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 12:18:43 am

About ten years ago, there was a wide spread rumor that there was some sort of huge lawsuit against the government and there was a court order that the government had to pay production companies within 30 days. Yeah, I know. It's the most ridiculous thing any human being has ever stated. But, it was a big deal back then.

Does anyone else have a recollection of this or am I the only one on hallucinogenic drugs?

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
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walter biscardiRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 12:08:42 pm

Governments are notoriously slow for payments. I don't recall this at all, though I suppose you could find it in some sort of archive.

I'm fortunate that the local government I work with is very good about making payments generally in less than 20 days.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
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Mark SuszkoRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 3:51:24 pm

There's also a litle trick to that, Walter, might come in handy some day with a state or local government. Many of them have adopted "prompt payment" legislation which forces the payment staff to put a priority on any bill that gives a discount for prompt payment, over one that doesn't.

So, if you mark your bill with a prominent notice: "Discount of 5% off total if paid within 10 days of receipt", you get to go to the front of the line. Might shave ten to eighty days off the wait to get paid. Or not, because even cutting in line may not help if the line is really long.

Ask your doctor, er, accountant, if prompt payment discounts are right for YOU.

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"


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Todd at Fantastic PlasticRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 4:16:58 pm

Mark is absolutely right...

Many offices actually expect invoices that have standard "2/10 net/30" terms and will pay fast with only the 2% discount.

In fact, I've heard tell of some government offices paying within 10 days and taking the 2% discount, even if you didn't offer the discount on the invoice... they are just used to doing it.

We don't do tons of government work, but do occassionaly do the odd military or Nasa gig (another post house in town does LOTS of it... I've always told them not to consider us competition because you can't pay me enough to be that bored)... however we have always found them to pay very quickly.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Timothy J. AllenRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 10:30:01 pm

Whoa there! Government video productions don't HAVE to be boring.

The problem is that there are some who think that a video isn't credible unless it's filled with specific jargon, pie charts, and bullet points. ;-)

We see the same problem in other corporate videos too...

(Show of hands... Who here thinks that "maximizing shareholder value" means that much to the average assembly-line worker?)

Sorry to get off on that tangent, but it's an issue I deal with daily. (Don't get me started on clients who want one video to "be targeted towards congress, children and THE GENERAL PUBLIC". In my opinion, the phrases "targeted" and "general public" don't belong in the same sentence.)

But I digress...
More to the point of this thread: I would echo the suggestion of accepting credit cards. If for no other reason, that usually means your invoice doesn't have to cross as many people's desks to get processed.

Also, make sure you send your invoice to the correct person and there is a very clear reference on the invoice as to what it's for. When dealing with the large government organizations, the client that is actually using your service may not even know anyone in the actual department that processes and pays the bills.






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Todd at Fantastic PlasticRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 10:51:12 pm

[Timothy J. Allen] "Also, make sure you send your invoice to the correct person"

I'll echo that...

And sometimes the correct person isn't the most obvious one....

They are not government, but we do a bit of work for a gigantic corporate client here in town... usually dealing with one of three different people there. TWO of them are GREAT, and steamroll our invoices through in no time flat. The other person sits on them, misplaces them, loses them completely, sends them to the wrong people, etc etc. The last time he for some unkown reason decided to have their office in IRELAND pay us... causing delays. And it's not that he is not trying to pay, he's just very scattered and not a "money guy," he has already mentally moved on to the next project. So we try to deal with the other two people whenever possible.

Also, it helps to educate yourself a bit to see what kinds of invoices scoot through and what kinds hit roadblocks. Again, with this same company... we usually do a project for them every week or two and have learned that with their particular beancounters anything UNDER $10,000 is practically rubberstamped... but anything OVER $10,000 leads to all kinds of red tape and everyone including the custodian's mother-in-law has to sign off on it. SO... we bill them for shooting and posting separately, so each part of the invoice gets under the $10K wire and it slides right through. Or bill them for preprod/shoot/edit/duplication or whatever separately, whatever it takes to break the total bill up into <$10K chunks. We're not tryng to pull a fast one... their comptroller actually suggested we do it that way.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Timothy J. AllenRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:04:10 am

So true, Todd.

The magic numbers might be different in different places. It helps to ask.

In one department I worked in, there is a total different path and process for invoices under $2500 then there is for invoices over that amount. It's not just payment either, it affects whether the government requires bids from at least three vendors, whether a purchase decision can be left to the discretion of one person - without that person having to write a "sole source justification", etc., etc.

There are several "break points" that lead to additional layers of paperwork and complexity on the purchasing side of government offices. While that extra paperwork is inconvenient for vendors and government employees, the main purpose is to ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars by the government. An unfortunate side effect of that protection is the cost (and time) of processing that "extra" paperwork.



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David Roth WeissA Really Big Conspiracy
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 6:12:45 pm

[walter biscardi] "Governments are notoriously slow for payments."

So much so that I have developed a new conspiracy theory to explain it...

Have you ever noticed that bills always arrive on time, while payments are always late???

Of course we all joke about it using the oldest joke in the book, "the check is in the mail." The problem is, and this is where the conspiracy begins, unfortunately, it really is in the mail.

You see, what no one knows is that a "shadow" post office exists here in the U.S., one that delivers only the payments, and one which is intentionally several times slower than the Post Office that we all know about--you know, the efficient one, that delivers the bills.

Its a super-secret, black ops branch of the U.S. Post Office, probably run by Haliburton--one whose primary job is to create nationwide check kiting for both government and big business, creating a huge float, effectively stealing interest right out of the pockets of all innocent and unsuspecting citizens.

So, the next time you run down to the mailbox to see if that big payment or deposit is there, why bother, you know its not, and now you know why...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

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Bob ColeRe: A Really Big Conspiracy
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 6:25:25 pm

I would like to announce the immediate detention of Mr. David "Wrath" Weiss. He is now being transported to a little vacation camp in the southern Cuba area.

Bob C

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Steve WargoRe: A Really Big Conspiracy
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 4:29:44 am

[David Roth Weiss] "You see, what no one knows is that a "shadow" post office exists here in the U.S., one that delivers only the payments, and one which is intentionally several times slower than the Post Office that we all know about--you know, the efficient one, that delivers the bills.

Its a super-secret, black ops branch of the U.S. Post Office, probably run by Haliburton--one whose primary job is to create nationwide check kiting for both government and big business, creating a huge float, effectively stealing interest right out of the pockets of all innocent and unsuspecting citizens.

So, the next time you run down to the mailbox to see if that big payment or deposit is there, why bother, you know its not, and now you know why...
"


Put that in script form and let's talk.




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

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Mick HaenslerRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 5:04:01 pm

I've not done a ton of government work, but when I do they usually pay when FP is delivered by credit card. Catch is, you have to take CC's, which we do.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Bob ColeRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 23, 2008 at 7:45:47 pm

[Steve Wargo] "Does anyone else have a recollection of this or am I the only one on hallucinogenic drugs?"

Yes, and probably no.

Here is the web page:

http://www.fms.treas.gov/prompt/regulations.html

Bob C





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Steve WargoRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 4:48:12 am

So Bob, I wish I'd seen this last year when I was in the hospital so I could take a week to read it. I knew that something went down but I'd never seen it.

Would anyone like to read it and write a summary?

Thanks Bob. You made my day.

By the way, the reason that I asked was because I just replied to a gov't RFP for my local city. We got the bid the last time and it's been 5 years and we're up again. There was a paragraph on payment and they asked what our terms were but also stated that they couldn't consider the terms when deciding.

One interesting part was that they asked "Your rate for travel - all inclusive". When you slice your rate by 50% and then add vehicle expense at $ .50 per mile, at 70 mph, it looks like an inflated price. But, the numbers are the numbers.




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

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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grinner hesterRe: Government Payments
by on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:22:32 am

[Steve Wargo] "Does anyone else have a recollection of this or am I the only one on hallucinogenic drugs?"
the only one with drugs goof enough to think our gov't will ever unwillingly pay for anything.





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