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visa

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johnsabbath d'urzo
visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 2:03:19 pm

i did a job for a client. he owns me money from the past. we agreed at the at the start of this year I will wait till he has the money from last year,, but every job from this point on is c.o.d with visa. on every job this year he sent a courier to pick up the final product and I would fax him the invoice with a visa form. but it has been 3 weeks since the job is out and it's on air right now. do i just charge his visa without a signature??? we met his budget and delivered. before this job started he did not pay for the last because he wanted to pay half price, then the new job came in the one that i'm waiting to get paid on c.o.d it haas been 3 weeks. i said you have to pay for the last job first before i start the new job becuase of the out standing money. he said he wanted to pay half price i said no i will give you a discount but not half price. he said i will take the new job elsewhere, i said fine. then a few hours latter his worker called me and said his boss is pissed off and will pay the last job with the discount that i offered. so he wanted me to do the new job at a fixed price and i told him this price includes 14 hours anything more you will be charged for it....well the job came within budget and like i said he sent a courier to pick it up and i sent over a visa form and should have been c.o.d....it has been 3 weeks now and he is bouncing me around with his accountant. i sent out a reminder email last week and heard nothing back. what do i do?


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Mark Suszko
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 4:22:53 pm

Stop being a doormat?

Run the VISA as soon as it is signed. Or insist on cash.

I understand that it is often an extra financial burden to get a merchant credit card account so you can process electronically, I think a lot of people doing the smaller jobs are using PayPal, which works like a credit card, in fact can be slaved to your credit card, lets you do instant payments over the web and generate shipping datea as well if you want, but you don't have the huge fees of merchant accounts.

Some people are down on Paypal after having had a bad experience, but I haven't had a lick of trouble yet myself. I think for small-budget lone wolf operators it can make a lot of sense if you set it up right. Just one more option in your arsenal.


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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 5:05:31 pm

i have a merchant account i dont have a signature and he has the product for 3 weeks. he said he was going to fax me a signature for the last 3 weeks and nothing. i called him twice and his accountant 3 times and sent him 2 emails and still nothing. if i put it through the visa without a signature he can fight it and get his money back. what do i do? if i got to collections there is no garentee to get money either for all the passed money that he has outstanding. how do i fix this? and get my money.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 6:17:40 pm

John,

When was the last time you went to a store and bought something with a promise?

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 6:21:10 pm

I KNOW BUT I FEEL IF YOU MAKE IT TO HARD WITH A CLIENT THEY WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELES WHAT DO YOU THINK? HE HAS BEEN PAYING ME WITH VISA ALL YEAR ABOUT 1-2 JOBS A MONTH SO I TOOK HIS WORD FOR IT.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 6:32:23 pm

I know you're frustrated, but it's no reason to start yelling...

Living in fear of losing clients is a bitch, but doing business on a wing and a prayer isn't good business, and real businesses (like stores) don't do it.

My advice to you is, either go after the guy, or write the whole thing off, but don't sit around a stew about it, that'll kill you.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 7:18:01 pm

sorry did mean to come across as yelling, just a big mess. he just paid me for the last job, what do i do about the last year outstanding it's a lot of money and doesnt want to make a payment plan. or future work how should i handle this account, he is a grinder.




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Michael Hancock
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 7:24:30 pm

[johnsabbath d'urzo] "or future work how should i handle this account, he is a grinder."

Either drop him, or he pays with cash or signs the Visa slip before he gets the final product.

He wants dubs to go to air? He pays you before you hand over the tapes. If he wants to send a courier, you send him the invoice and the courier brings it along, signed and paid, or the courier brings cash. If the courier shows up without the cash or signed slip, send him/her back without the tapes. Remember: No tapes until you get the money.

Regarding last year's money--if you really want him to pay it, stop doing work for him now until he's current on all outstanding bills. If he takes him work elsewhere and won't pay, go to small claims court (but good luck ever getting a dime). If this guy is a grinder you need to either learn to deal with him (get paid before you give him the final product!!) or cut him loose. Otherwise he's going to keep taking advantage of you and you'll always be owed money.


Michael.





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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 25, 2008 at 8:21:03 pm

what legal term on the contract or invoice do i put down for c.o.d? on future jobs with this guy.



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moody glasgow
Re: visa
on Nov 26, 2008 at 12:50:19 am

[johnsabbath d'urzo] "what legal term on the contract or invoice do i put down for c.o.d? on future jobs with this guy."

LOL... After all the previous posts, you are still worried about future jobs with him...

He's going to grind you and grind you until you pop. You either put your foot down now, or give up and admit he owns you.


EDIT: After looking at your previous topics, I really hope this isnt the same client. I have a bad feeling that this is the same client, and he's still stringing you along. I predict next month we will see another post about how he REALLY owes you money, and how you have to work with him so he will start to pay you the money he owes you.
I do mean sound harsh. He will not change unless you make him change. That won't happen until you change your behavior. You may think you are doing good by keeping busy with work, but the truth is you are in a dead end situation, and you have to stop.
I truly hope we don't hear about this client again.



moody glasgow
editing.compositing.design


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: visa
on Nov 26, 2008 at 2:56:01 pm

[moody glasgow] "You either put your foot down now, or give up and admit he owns you."


Moody is right.

If you watch HBO's "Oz" series about life in prison, to paraphrase Moody's comment in the parlance of Oz, you are going to be his bitch or you are not. The choice is yours.

That is the simple choice of the matter and all of the smokescreen of future work and losing clients is pure bull, this guy is NOT a client, he is a certified grinder -- oh, and at this point he owns you.

Pardon the crude speech in this post but in the spirit of the business magazine I worked on back in the mid- to late-80s, this one is Straight Talk for Small Business.

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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Steve Wargo
Re: visa
on Nov 26, 2008 at 1:39:05 pm

[johnsabbath d'urzo] "THEY WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELES "

Are you afraid that he will go somewhere else and screw other people? It's not real sex. It's just slang. Get a divorce right now. The time you spend chasing this dog and his money could be time spent chasing a new client who will respect and pay you. You're starting to sound like a battered wife who keeps going home. After a second time, it's your fault.

How much money are we talking about here? $50 or $50,000?


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
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: visa
on Nov 26, 2008 at 2:34:37 pm

[johnsabbath d'urzo] "i have a merchant account i dont have a signature and he has the product for 3 weeks. he said he was going to fax me a signature for the last 3 weeks and nothing. i called him twice and his accountant 3 times and sent him 2 emails and still nothing."


Nothing? You must be joking, John. That callus disregard and failure to deal with you in good faith IS the answer, man. The trouble is, you are not listening.

This guy sees you as a real sap and he knows he can work you and treat you like dirt and you will let him. As Steve Wargo said, you are like a battered wife who keeps going back to the bastard and yet wants sympathy for the abuse.

You are NOT going to get the past monies you are owed, John. That is the fact of the matter. He is using it as bait to keep you on the hook and the taste of that worm has you shoving the hook right through the roof of your mouth.

Look at the track record. Look at the way he has treated you. Look at the fact that on one of your jobs he withheld payment because he wanted it at half price -- which you stated in the opening post you made. Look at the fact that he is airing a job that he promised to pay you for and has not even given you the courtesy of a reply when you contact him or his accountant.

Write this off as tuition in the Business School of Hard Knocks (from its' freshman Business Basics course track, btw) and learn from it.

Move on and get real customers.

Oh, and for fear of sounding like a broken record, go read Client or Grinders: How Understanding the 3 Market Types Affects Success. You really need to understand what is in that article.

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 26, 2008 at 10:41:28 pm

Thanks for the help. I will read the link tonight. What are some good steps in setting up a company for a new account if they want 30 day tearms. I have to restructur my business and be more stricked with clients. It's hard to put on all the hats. He owns about 20-25k from the past and his client is gone and he never got paid. He is out a lot more than me.


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 12:42:20 am

[johnsabbath d'urzo] "He owes about 20-25k from the past and his client is gone and he never got paid. He is out a lot more than me."


This line is often used by grinders who want out of a bill and if you know the originator of the project and you call them after months of being strung along, you may find out that your "friend" is being less than ethical.

I am NOT saying that all people in that situation are liars but sometimes they are.

One of the best ways to avoid this in the future is to get 1/3rd down, 1/3rd half-way through the project (or at a specified point outlined in your contract -- you are using contracts, right?), and the final 1/3rd upon delivery.

Most good companies will not bat an eye at a policy like that. I have found that it's the grinders that do raise a stink.

You are not a financial institution, you are an editor. Don't confuse the company roles and missions.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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johnsabbath d'urzo
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 2:44:32 am

thanks Ron, yes I do use contract but would love to see one from another video post production company. Would you know where i can find some samples. I charge an hourly rate, now i'm finding some people would like a flat rate. I guess the right thing to do would be a flat rate with 2 changes then goes into an hourly...well everybody has a different way. Would you know the most common way to work?



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Greg Ball
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 4:58:31 am

Hey Mark, here's a question on PayPal. I also use PP when I have a client who needs to pay me to get the job shot. However PayPal charges a fee. Do you pass this fee onto the client? If so how do you let them know?

My take on this is that if they had made the decision to use my services earlier they could have paid by check, but now they must use PayPal. Why should I be stuck giving some of that money to PayPal?



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Todd Terry
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 5:11:43 am

Well, if you accept credit cards, whether through PayPal or if you have a merchant account and take credit cards directly... you are going to pay a fee for the privilege. It's not limited to PayPal, no credit card usage is free.

We do not take credit cards, but if we did I would just eat the CC fee, just like most any other store or business does. It would be more than worth it to have the funds quickly rather than having to hound clients about paying.


T2

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






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David Roth Weiss
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 5:15:54 am

[Greg Ball] "PayPal charges a fee. Do you pass this fee onto the client? If so how do you let them know?"

You have two elegant choices Greg and a few bad ones. The elegant choices are:

1) Disguise the surcharge by pumping-up your day rate.

2) Write off the PayPal commission as good will.

Bringing the surcharge to the attention of your client just isn't an elegant business proceedure. How do you feel when merchants try to lay a credit card surcharge on you?

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 6:41:57 am

Greg, I would just fold it (paypal fee) into my other operational costs, and not break it out on paper as an expense to the client. Yes, he's paying for it, it's just hidden in with any other costs like xeroxes, blank tape, whatever. You're not eating the cost of blank stock, are you? Surely, you add that in to the bill somewhere. Same for postage or for Fedex, if they don't want to give you their Fedex account number. Is this any different then?

You can make one guy pay for all of it, or a lot of guys pay for a fraction of it, if they ever use it or not... it is really up to you. Just be consistent about it, is my opinion. If everybody on your client list is paying a little fraction for it, then be as generous in a applying it as you can, I would say, so all will get the benefit if they ever need it some day.


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Greg Ball
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 4:54:20 pm

Hi Mark,
My problem lies in the fact that I give me clients a detailed proposal with everything itemized. Once they approve of the cost, and as we go to contract, we discuss deposits and other items like shipping etc. Only then do we see how they wish to pay. Are you suggesting I build in a 3-5% fee on top of our rates to cover PP fees?



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Mark Suszko
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 5:45:54 pm

Greg, this is only my own opinion now, and your complete honesty with the client is commendable, but there is such a thing as "too much information". Some wags here will point to one (OK, any) of my posts and say "Amen to that!".:-)

When you put literally every last item down on the bill in detail, I find that troublesome people or grinder wannabees will start to question these items point by point in an effort to whittle down your price. They'll say things like: "Oh, I can get the blank DVD's cheaper than that." And then they will start to insist you switch out suppliers, or carve the equivalent savings out of your profit margin. This is a death by a thousand cuts. It can affect how you do the program, when they balk at a certain expense line for say a dolly, crane rental, special lens, whatever, that you built the bid with. Pull the expensive item because it "looks" extravagant or unnecessary to some bean-counter, and suddenly, your video looks different than what you promised initially: Instead of dolly moves, you have to pull zooms. Instead of a prompter, you use cue cards and get a bad eye line. Instead of a steadicam, you have to increase post time to motion-stabilize in post. Etc Etc. and pretty soon, your video and your reputation look.... bad. Aren't they hiring you partly for your expertise and judgement? I'm just saying it can be counter-productive for the chef to reveal all the ingredients.

Sometimes you can counter these folks with statements like "Yes, the dvd blanks cost more: the Taiyo Yuden brand is highly regarded for a better quality level, we'll get fewer reject disks. I figure that your program about six-sigma and chasing a Deming Prize might tend to be undermined if we publish on Medion spindles from the dollar store that won't play on your customer's machines".

Sometimes you can't give as good an answer, then you look foolish or incompetent, just for picking stuff you know works.

Moreover, when you break out the costs to this micro-level of detail, Greg, you're giving away the recipe for your operation to competitors and to people at the client company that want to try and do it themselves. Free research everybody, have a copy! See exactly what my profit margin on this job is, and just where you can under-cut me to beat me out of the next gig, and judge me on my margin, not my results!

I don't have an MBA but I think this may not be smart business.

You started doing it this way, and now you may be stuck with it, as far as this client. For other clients, new ones, I think I would try to use more general categories and not strip my business so naked. Then you have places to add in additional fees and such for things like paypal and fedex without calling so much attention to them. A place to add some padding to cover the unexpected, and a pad from which you can draw out a discount/ partial refund later if needed. You've got to have a couple percentage points of maneuvering room in there somewhere just to be safe, but who's going to allow it to you if they can see that? Your other alternative is to just increase your personal hourly rate fee to reflect the added costs you're incurring, but that could also make you look greedy...

Client relationships are like marriages; good communication and honesty is key, but sometimes you skip mentioning a few little things in the interest of day-to-day harmony, like noticing the pretty lady walking her dog. Mention what breed her dog is, you're safe. Anything else, you're sleeping on the couch tonight, buddy!:-)


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Todd Terry
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 6:16:13 pm

[Mark Suszko] "When you put literally every last item down on the bill in detail, I find that troublesome people or grinder wannabees will start to question these items point by point in an effort to whittle down your price."

Exactly true, I completely concur with Mark.

We've had people do that, even though our bills aren't super itemized. For example, we charge a certain amount for a Betacam dub or a DVD... and once or twice a client has said "Hey, that's ok, we'll just buy our own box of Betas and bring them to you." We'll explain that's fine, if they wish to do that... but the cost per dub is still the same. The cost of a dub is not the tape stock, which is minimal... the actual cost is labor involved to make it and the use and wear on the expensive machine needed to do it.

I know of another company here that itemizes everything to death... hire them for a shoot and your invoice will even include the specific amount in feet of gaffer tape that was used. That's just crazy, in my opinion. Not only does it give the client an opportunity to question everything and whittle down and nitpick items... but it's got to be a massive billing headache.

Contrary to that, we have adopted very general and flat fees for almost everything. Need an edit? There's a flat suite rate... doesn't matter if you use all the NLE's bells and whistles, or very few. Need a shoot?... we didn't always do it this way but we have now evolved into a flat base rate there as well... it doesn't matter if we are shooting DV video or 35mm film, the base rate is the same and almost all of the shoot toys that we own are included. That way there is no "I don't think we need a jib" or "I don't think we'll need a dolly, how much less would that be?" conversations. The only equipment that we charge extra for are teleprompter and Steadicam. Otherwise the only itemized extras for a shoot are tape or film stock and mileage.

Obviously if we have to pay more ourselves for equipment or personnel that we don't already have (say they need a specific makeup artist, or the shoot will require 10 HMIs and we have to rent some) then those items are charged appropriately and itemized.

I just wouldn't itemize a credit card charge... it just looks kind of sleazy and nickle-and-dimeish. It's certainly easy enough to hide 3% in a bill... just charge a little more per hour on an item or two, or pad it into something like props, meals, or craft services. There's nothing dishonest about it. And do that for every project, even if you don't know how they are going to pay. If they don't end up paying by credit card, just consider it interest on however long they do take to send you a check. If they hand you cash as the job is completed (when's the last time that happened?), consider it your little bonus for a job well done.



T2

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






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Greg Ball
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 6:29:38 pm

Thanks Mark and Todd. Just this week I started giving just the total price without a breakdown.
I hear you loud and clear. Have a great holiday.



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Steve Wargo
Re: visa
on Nov 27, 2008 at 9:42:28 pm

Just to throw something more into the fire, it's a policy of all of the credit card firms that a vendor (us) is not allowed to bill the card holder for the fee. You can offer a cash discount but you cant say "Credit Card Charges 2.5%" on the invoice.

We cover it under an "administrative" charge. At first, I was really shy about this but not one single person has complained. Several have asked and my reply is "That's for the time we spent in planning and cleanup". They usually just want to know what it's for. Man, I should have been doing that the last 20 years. Too many of us make the mistake of billing for what we'd want to pay instead of what we should be charging.

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
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Bill Davis
Re: visa
on Nov 28, 2008 at 8:22:24 pm

Just to amplify Steve's idea...

Decades ago I adopted a modified version of Production Estimating that I modeled on the "Above the line/Below the line - motion picture standards back in the day.

I actually mostly use it for my own estimating and most clients just want my simple single-page QUOTE sheet, but sometimes on larger bids, I'll include the Estimate forms.

The very FIRST line-item on my estimate is the Production Fee. It's bold, it's clear and it typically falls between 25-40% of the estimate total.

When I go over the estimate with the client, it's the FIRST line I point out to discuss.

"This is what you're paying ME for my knowledge and experience, to run my business and create your video." (they typically nod and we go on to the specifics)

What has surprise me, however, is that even when budgets are squeezed and we've had to cut line-items to meet budgets, no client has EVER asked me to CUT my production fee! Weird. I think it's too hard for them to imply to my face that I'm worth less than I'm asking.

That clearly makes the discussion of business overhead stuff like credit card fees irrelevant. Those kind of costs are insignificant in the face of the sizable up front production fee.

I also adopted and still use another motion picture billing practice from those days that a couple of you might find interesting.

When I fill out the line items in my Filemaker Pro Estimating form adds "contingency fees" to both the Production group costs total and the Post Production costs total (6% and 10% respectively)

Then a little asterisk right below the "TOTAL" field at the bottom notes what I'm doing in kinda small type.

A few times over the years, accounting departments have called me to discuss invoice specifics and they all started by noting something like "We checked - as is our routine - your invoice math and were at first confused, then we noticed the contingencies and when we re-calculated, confirmed your totals are accurate..."

It's weird, but I think the accounting types actually ENJOYED having something mathematically unusual to do in their parade of numbers...

I think that for numbers people - it gives them the impression (hopefully accurate) that I understand how my business should operate and that my numbers aren't derived from thin air.

Keep it simple for the clients - also give the accounting types enough to chew on so they can run some more interesting numbers and earn their living as well?

I'm not sure it makes any difference, but I also know that in the larger companies I work with, I've come to know the names of the people in accounting and they're happy to take our calls and let us know what's been processed and what's stuck on someone's desk - and PERHAPS those silly calls about our contingency numbers were the initial excuse to talk to the back room folks and start to form relationships where the checks (now the direct electionic payment transfers) are born.

Or maybe nobody really cares. But, if not actual food, it's at least, perhaps, a few small snacks for thought.

FWIW.



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