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Cancellation fee for multiple days

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Bob ColeCancellation fee for multiple days
by on Mar 24, 2016 at 6:48:07 pm

When a client books you for multiple days, for instance one 5-day week, what is your policy on cancellation fees?

For one or two days' work, I understand that many of us charge on a sliding scale, depending on how many hours before call time the client cancels. Also, some ask for a firm, non-cancellable booking if another client requests the same date.

But for multiple days, it gets tricky. The stakes are that much higher, on both ends of the relationship. What do you think is a reasonable cancellation policy for a one-week job?


Bob C

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Mark SuszkoRe: Cancellation fee for multiple days
by on Mar 25, 2016 at 8:06:32 pm

My answer may not be what you expect.

Stuff happens. You have to be merciful and flexible, if you want repeat business and a client contact over the long haul. Key is determining if this is really just an act of God, or a client being crooked or flaky.

My personal policy has always been, if you reach me and cancel at least 24 hours ahead, it's a full refund, *unless* I've step-rented or booked something unusual for your gig that costs me out-of-pocket. I'll then charge you whatever it costs me, without a mark-up, unless I can cancel/return the extra item/booking myself for a credit, or put it to other, money-making use.

If you cancel on the morning of a week-long shoot, I'm billing everything it cost me to be ready for you, whatever the hired hands cost me, plus the first full day for my time. And a note goes in your database entry which will affect my pricing policy/ schedule priority for you, the next time we have dealings. Typically, this will be reflected in higher down-payments and additional overall markup as a "troublemaker tax".

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grinner hesterRe: Cancellation fee for multiple days
by on Mar 28, 2016 at 4:37:05 pm

This totally depends on the relationship with the client and the relationship you want in the future. The black and white business part of this is they booked you for those days and owe you for them. But friendships and business relationships go far and beyond that.
I would explain that you booked those days and now have to get a half day pay for all 5.
Word smithing and respect will dictate how it goes. Do know they won't respect you if you lay down dead on it.

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Bob ColeRe: Cancellation fee for multiple days
by on Apr 4, 2016 at 7:23:54 pm
Last Edited By Bob Cole on Apr 4, 2016 at 7:24:32 pm

Your observation about the importance of the particular relationship is very true. I've paid my valued free-lancers in full for cancelled days, even beyond the 48 hour period, because they turned down other work to commit to me.

[grinner hester] "I would explain that you booked those days and now have to get a half day pay for all 5."

Back to the multiple-day cancellation issue: How many days in advance would trigger such a payment?

Let's say a client reserves June 1-7. What is the appropriate fee (if any) if the cancellation occurs May 1? May 15? May 30?

Given the 48/24 hour (half/full) policy a lot of us have for a single day, it seems to me that for multiple days, the advance notice should be longer. If, since May 1, I've let other clients know I'm not available from June 1-7, should I be compensated for that?

Another issue: Define "half" in terms of payment. A lot of people charge about 80% of the full rate for a "half day," given that by the time you go to the location, do the job, and return, you've probably lost the use of the entire day for any other job.

Happily, this is a rare situation - it's just that my number has come up on this score a couple of times lately, and I would like to know how other people approach this issue.

Bob C

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