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Archive 2013 · Deposit-Only Contract...
  
 
joelconner
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Deposit-Only Contract...


We have had more situations recently where a couple was not sure what package they wanted, but they know they wanted to book us before the date disappeared. So, they give us the deposit and we sign our full contract with all of the package and pricing details left blank or with a TBD on them. Then, once we get the details sorted, we redo the contract with all of the proper info included.

I was wondering if anyone in a similar situation uses a type of contract that is only meant for accepting the initial payment for reserving the date? I am thinking it would be nice to have a stripped down one that deals with the basics of the finances (cancellations, etc.) without going into all of the specific details of the full contract (like copyrights, non-guarentees, etc.)



Jan 16, 2013 at 05:12 PM
jcolman
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Deposit-Only Contract...


I have a two or three signed contracts where the couple has yet to decide on a package. I just use my standard contract and leave the package part unfilled.


Jan 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Deposit-Only Contract...


What's the least amount of money a couple could spend with you for their wedding? I would draw draw up a contract based on that. You can always add/amend/adjust later, but I would at least have my minimum (bottom package) covered by a contract. They could still leave the retainer to secure the date. I just don't like the idea of leaving blanks.


Jan 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM
misty23
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Deposit-Only Contract...


I give them an invoice receipt that I use for all of my sales, listing the deposit details reserving their date. Then when they choose their package, I make out the contract.


Jan 16, 2013 at 05:27 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Deposit-Only Contract...


misty23 wrote:
I give them an invoice receipt that I use for all of my sales, listing the deposit details reserving their date. Then when they choose their package, I make out the contract.



I used to do something similar, but I had my arse reamed on here for not having the deposit attached to a specific contract



Jan 16, 2013 at 05:46 PM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Deposit-Only Contract...


I have people do a deposit without picking a package all the time. Takes a lot of stress out of it and normally I can upsell them on a higher package.
We have a minimum package they must book so either way they go we are making the money we need to make.
I just amend the contract when they choose a package.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM
johnrg
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Deposit-Only Contract...


Agree with Jim--fill in the retainer amount and date, and put TBD for the package and final payment amount. Amend the contract later once they decide. It wouldn't hurt to consult with an attorney on how to handle the situation correctly, though.


Jan 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM
dlateulade
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Deposit-Only Contract...


I have them choose my lowest package, and let them know they can always choose a bigger package later.


Jan 16, 2013 at 06:05 PM
 

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TheGE
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Deposit-Only Contract...


joelconner wrote:
I am thinking it would be nice to have a stripped down one that deals with the basics of the finances (cancellations, etc.) without going into all of the specific details of the full contract (like copyrights, non-guarentees, etc.)


I think it's better that the initial contract does cover those details. since money's involved and they're giving you money based on what you've agreed on, memorialized in that Agreement. Why give them cause to later say, "Oh, I didn't know album selections are required to be in within 8 months, if we ordered albums" or "Oh I thought could pay after we pick up the albums, if we ordered albums" and especially "I wouldn't have given you a retainer if I knew THAT."

Plus having a new contract with new terms introduced at a later time opens the door to you maybe needing to negotiate again down the road. It's much easier to simply point to the original agreement and say, "that's already covered."



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:06 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Deposit-Only Contract...


Good points...maybe the way we were doing it before was better. It just seemed like more work to amend and resubmit the same thing rather than having something simple and dedicated to just the reservation.

So, psychology wise...I have always heard that "money spent is money forgotten." In that case, maybe doing the basic package by default is a good choice. Although, I would worry about people feeling like they have all they need and not wanting to bump up the package. Post wedding/engagement sales work well with this psychology, but I have zero experience trying to upgrade a package so I just don't know.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:11 PM
davenfl
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Deposit-Only Contract...


You really need to have the client sign a minimum service package contract with a deposit that includes language that allows the contract to be amended by mutual agreement of both parties. In certain states signing a contract which has blank terms renders the contract null and void at the sole discretion of the purchaser under consumer protection laws. It used to be buyer be ware but that has drastically changed. I haven't researched it lately but it may be well that federal law has been amended to provide the consumer similar protection.


Jan 16, 2013 at 06:23 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Deposit-Only Contract...


davenfl wrote:
You really need to have the client sign a minimum service package contract with a deposit that includes language that allows the contract to be amended by mutual agreement of both parties. In certain states signing a contract which has blank terms renders the contract null and void at the sole discretion of the purchaser under consumer protection laws. It used to be buyer be ware but that has drastically changed. I haven't researched it lately but it may be well that federal law has been amended to provide the consumer similar protection.



I did add language in there that says that the full contract with service details must be completed either 6 months before the wedding date or before any services (such as engagement session) are rendered. Actually, let me just post a link to the pdf so you can see what I did. This may just be a bad route to go altogether, but at the moment it made perfect sense to me

http://www.conner-photography.com/ConnerPhoto_RetainerContract.pdf



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Daboyle
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Deposit-Only Contract...


If people feel like they have all they need, then that burden falls on you. It is your job to market yourself and what you can offer. Typically I can market higher packages by selling the importance of bridals and engagements, a second shooter, and sometimes even Albums. I never try to sell something to a client that they really don't need, nor try to convince them to get something they really don't want - but as a professional it is my job to encourage them to get something that they would be missing out on otherwise - and explain to them clearly, why in the long run, it is important.

A lot has to do with the naming of packages and making the lowest package feel like the bare minimum, and just "getting by". While some want the bare minimum - most realize this is a once in a lifetime event and are ok with spending more, as long as you can explain the importance of spending more and justify it for them. It then is you job after to deliver as promised, exceed expectations, deliver excellent service, educate your clients along the way and make them feel secure about the decision they made. If you can do this, you will be successful.



Jan 16, 2013 at 06:36 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Deposit-Only Contract...


joelconner wrote:
Good points...maybe the way we were doing it before was better. It just seemed like more work to amend and resubmit the same thing rather than having something simple and dedicated to just the reservation.


You don't need to amend and resubmit what essentially is an rider to the original contract. Instead, you simply write up what the additional item is to append to the contract and any details pertaining to that: size, quantity, cost, that sort of thing, whatever new change it makes to the contract. It's simply in the form of a letter. And in the body of that letter, mention that this represents an addendum to the Agreement dated xx/xx/xxxx. It's called a letter of representation.

I would worry about people feeling like they have all they need and not wanting to bump up the package.

Depends on what's in that first package and how desirous everything it doesn't include is, doesn't it?





Jan 16, 2013 at 08:55 PM
joelconner
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Deposit-Only Contract...


TheGE wrote:
You don't need to amend and resubmit what essentially is an rider to the original contract. Instead, you simply write up what the additional item is to append to the contract and any details pertaining to that: size, quantity, cost, that sort of thing, whatever new change it makes to the contract. It's simply in the form of a letter. And in the body of that letter, mention that this represents an addendum to the Agreement dated xx/xx/xxxx. It's called a letter of representation.

Depends on what's in that first package and how desirous everything it doesn't include is, doesn't it?



Gottcha...that makes sense. Seems definitely to be the best way to go. As for people sticking with the basic package...it's hard to know how people would respond without trying it. In the 32 weddings we have booked for this year, I think only one has the lowest package...and that's because they had to really stretch even to get there. So, I would imagine people would go up from there. I suppose if I frame it the entire time like this lowest package is just because "we need to have something in there," then it will be easy to bring it up again once they have time to decide.



Jan 16, 2013 at 09:05 PM





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