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Billing Question

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Aaron Cadieux
Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 3:11:19 pm

Hey All,

Got hired to shoot an event. The agreement was for a set amount based on 5 hours of coverage. The event ended up running 90 minutes longer than the 5 hours. I billed the client accordingly. The client complained about the extra $75. He said that we were "all at the mercy of the caterers" and that the extra time was unavoidable. I decided it wasn't worth getting into a pissing contest for $75, and the bill was adjusted to the original agreed-upon amount.

I am just curious as to how you guys would have handled it. How is the caterers' service speed my problem? After all, the guy who hired me for the gig also booked the caterers. All I know is that 90 extra minutes were taken up of my time, and (in my mind), I should be compensated.

Thanks,

Aaron


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Todd Terry
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 3:32:51 pm

$75 is peanuts, especially if they are having an event big enough that it will take five hours AND be catered. They shouldn't be complaining about an amount that small.

In fact, I frankly think they should be grateful that your hourly rate is so low.

I would have sent them a full bill, nicely explaining the overage. Water under the bridge now, though, I suppose.


T2

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






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Mark Suszko
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 4:20:50 pm

The issue becomes what was on paper, beforehand, regarding such situations. If it wasn't written on paper that you woulld add on for overtime, then you are pretty much stuck with the set figure you quoted. If it wasn't in your paper contraqct, I bet it will be next time.

Consider it $75 towards your business school tuition, and count yourself lucky the insight came so cheap. Other's are not as fortunate.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 5:16:22 pm

I was in a somewhat similar situation at $200/hr. When the clock ran out they had the option to pay the overtime. They didn't. The crew stopped and the cameras went off.

If a client books and is uncertain about the time because of things out of their control, it's not your cost to bear. You should warn them of that possibility before hand though.

If something runs just a few minutes over I'd certainly give them the courtesy but not for 90 minutes.

If you book to do an event from beginning to end and the end time may vary you should clearly state that the time that they claim is being considered only as an estimate and either they grant you the right and are willing to pay for the entire time OR you'll ask at the end of the estimated time if they're willing to pay for overtime.



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cowcowcowcowcow
grinner hester
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 7:22:26 pm

half day rate... full day rate and time and a half OT unless otherwise discussed.
In this case it was otherwise discussed at a flat rate. When that happens you stick to that flat rate or commit career suicide. If someone can't take your word, they just won't take ya.



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Greg Ball
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 7:57:06 pm

First, did you have an agreement in writing? If so how was it stated? Was there any mention of what would happen if it went over 5 hours?

Second, why do people charge hourly rates in this business? It's either a full day rate or half day rate, where anything over 4-5 hours (depending on your half day definition) is then charged at a full day rate.
Get the client to sign it.

Third, if that's not your agreement, contact the client and say you're in danger of going overtime, ask if they wish to pay additional fees or shall you stop shooting at 5 hours. Then you're covered.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 8:18:56 pm

[Greg Ball] "Second, why do people charge hourly rates in this business? It's either a full day rate or half day rate, where anything over 4-5 hours (depending on your half day definition) is then charged at a full day rate."

With some clients it's half day rate plus x dollars and hour over that. People charge hourly overtime. I see no problem with that. A client asks me what 5 hours will cost and I tell them the price and warn them that additional hours will cost additional dollars. BTW this even happens with full days. Your day rate is 8, they want 9 so I tell them what 9 costs. It goes 10, they pay for 10. They always have the option to nix the additional hour(s).






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Greg Ball
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 9:30:58 pm

We definitely charge hourly overtime. The client know that and it's included in our contract/agreement. Te client know exactly what the fees will be if we go over the time budgeted. If the client requests 9 hours up front, I tell them what 9 hours will cost and what the hourly rate will be after 9 hours. The key here is I let the client know and agree upfront. They know what was discussed and what they agreed to,so there's no disagreements later on.





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Mike Cohen
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 8:28:03 pm

I will go further than Grinner:

Cost for the shoot - make your price so that it is good for the client but also good for you. We don't talk about hours of work - we talk about projects. If the project is the shoot - we give a set price, making sure we account for whatever time we will spend on it. Events at convention centers or hotels always vary.

On the flip side, we were once shooting a roundtable session in a hotel meeting room at Disneyworld. The group ahead of us ended an hour late - we got all our gear setup in the hall so we could setup quickly when they wrapped. Then we were interrupted by the next group. You gotta roll with it and tell your clients to expect the same - overall you need to be in agreement as to what happens when what happens might happen.

Mike Cohen


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Ned Miller
Re: Billing Question
on Jul 14, 2010 at 11:25:47 pm

You should have grabbed $75 of dinner and drinks! I do...

I run into this all the time and the previous posters have been correct. Now you know better for next time. You need to divide clients into two categories: "Never will see again" or "Possible Repeat Clients". Within those two classifications I further subdivide them into another two groups: "Those spending their own money" or "Those spending their company's money".

In sum, cut slack for possible repeat customers and those spending their own money. They appreciate it and will remember you.

Good luck next time.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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