Why it's hard to survive in this business these days...

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by Andy, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. Andy

    Andy Guest

    We take on a new client, a keen youngish music video producer,
    introduced to me by a director friend, he has mega flashy website, talks
    the talk, and comes across as a real professional.
    So we hire him a complete shooting kit , camera, grip equipment, lights
    etc
    He collects the gear, drops it off again.. Ok They've scratched an ND
    grad, and a couple of gells are stuck together after being put away hot,
    but nothing too serious.
    So we invoice him... standard 30 day invoice.
    2 weeks later he hires from us again.... pretty much the same kit, same
    result..

    6 weeks later, no payments, so we send him a statement with an OVERDUE
    invoice sticker on it.. nothing. So i give it a week, and try to phone
    the guy.. no answer.. try his mobile.. no andswer .. e.mail him.. no
    answer, text him.. no answer..
    This goes on for another week...
    In this time I notice that he's logging in to his myspace account every
    day, so I start messaging him there, no reply.. even when he's showing
    as actually online..
    So totally exasperated I email a load of people that he has as contacts
    on his myspace page, explain the he owes me money and that i can't
    contact him, and am concerned that he might be out of business / ill /
    had an accident / or is dead..

    Not surprisingly, suddenly I get a reply from him, but the content just
    beggars belief:-

    "Andy,
    I have been having some days off with my new girlfriend and apologies
    for not getting back sooner...

    As I run a very small business, I am not always able to pick up the
    work phone when I am on holiday or answer emails when I am on holiday! I
    have no one else to do it!

    I am awaiting payment to pay your invoices. Contacting anyone else will
    certainly not get you paid, and will only hinder you getting paid..by
    causing stress and anxiety for those concerned in dealing with Get
    Noticed Media, which doesnt really help anyones cause...but, I
    understand your thoughts...

    But, anyway, your invoices will be paid once I am in receipt of the
    necessary funds...Sincere apologies for the delay...but, if we can be
    civil it will help us both. Shouldnt be too long....I will certainly pay
    up...please let this ease your concern, its just we are awaiting a new
    version of a track to do the master to...as the previous one they have
    decided to change to a newer mix..
    Hope you are well, and again apologies for the delay
    Regards,
    Kevin

    Kevin Crabtree, MA
    Producer
    0774 756 3449
    Get Noticed Media
    Commercials-Music Videos-Promos
    www.getnoticedmedia.co.uk
    www.myspace.com/getnoticedmedia

    Crew-Creative-Post-VFX-BACC-Media Buying"

    Is it just me.... or does everyone under 30 think the world owes them a
    living off the back of everyone else...?????
     
    Andy, Dec 17, 2006
    #1
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  2. Andy

    G Hardy Guest

    It's just you.

    Late payment is nothing new, and there are well established avenues to chase
    them, such as a series of progressively heavy credit control letters
    culminating in a small claims procedure. This post just looks to me like an
    attempt to spam your company on the newsgroup (although I'm getting cynical
    in my old age). To be honest, if it really is an attempt to garner business,
    you've probably not won yourself any potential clients by admitting your
    underhand tactics when chasing a bill that's six weeks overdue.
     
    G Hardy, Dec 17, 2006
    #2
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  3. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Wrong end of the stick mister...

    All I was doing was expressing my astonishment at the guys reply to my
    e.mail

    "Sorry you can swing for your money I'm off on holiday and I've switched
    off the phones"

    I'm not touting for work...It's not my company name on the e.mail ...
    it's his...!









    But whilst I'm on the subject...

    Think about it.... YOU have to compete with this guy in a competetive
    business for the same work. BUT

    You have to pay someone to answer your phones
    You have to pay overheads
    You have to capitalise your own projects
    you have to have insurance
    you have to pay union rates for subcontractors..


    He apparently works out of his bedroom at his mums house... and pays
    none of the above...

    is that going to please you when you are up against him on a quote for
    the same job...

    probably not...
     
    Andy, Dec 17, 2006
    #3
  4. Andy

    G Hardy Guest

    So that makes it all OK? As well as hitting all the people he knows on
    MySpace, you're bad-mouthing him on Usenet as well.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating his behaviour, it's just that your
    response seems a bit, well, childish - considering (as I said) that unpaid
    invoices are a fact of business and can be dealt with by more appropriate
    means.

    I'd be lying if I said I'd never let the answering machine take a call from
    someone I owed money to...


    I won't have to compete with him - the "rec" in this newsgroup is short for
    "recreational". I work out of a bedroom in my own home, but apart from that,
    my setup is similar to his. The few paid weddings I do undertake each
    contibute to the contract for the next. For example, we did a wedding where
    the guests were so drunk and agressive (towards each other) that we were
    concerned for our safety. Our terms now state that if we feel ourselves or
    our equipment to be in danger, we walk - no warning, no refund.

    From the "devil's advocate" perspective, you have to admire his audacity. He
    runs a company with (virtually) no overheads and strings along his debtors.
    He'll be rich long before I am...

    I've never managed to find a company like yours that offers favourable
    credit terms to brand new customers. The only time I needed to hire gear, we
    used a company called Hammerhead in Manchester, and paid up front. Your
    terms will probably evolve to only offer such credit to proven customers or
    those that have passed some sort of credit check.

    There's plenty you could have done before taking him on as a customer to
    help ensure you got your money, there's plenty you can do now to get what
    you're owed, but what you're actually doing is as unusual as the response
    from your customer...

    What will happen is your prices will go up to cover for bad debts, so honest
    traders will end up paying the price for Kevin's misdemeanours. It happens
    in all industry - take car insurance for example.

    I understand your annoyance, but it's a business fact of life. Learn from
    it - if it doesn't bankrupt you, it will make you stronger.

    ;o)
     
    G Hardy, Dec 17, 2006
    #4
  5. Andy

    Tony Morgan Guest

    IMHO Andy is displaying as much (lack of) business acumen as his client.

    Write to the client stating, politely, that since your terms of business
    are strictly 30 days following invoice, he has failed to comply with
    your terms and conditions of business. Then state that if client fails
    to settle outstanding invoices within seven days, you will have no
    alternative but to seek recovery of all outstanding debts through the
    Small Claims Court. Add that an application will also be made to the
    Small Claims Court for an order seeking all costs incurred. to be paid
    by the client.

    Send by Recorded Delivery.

    Obviously the client is sailing close to the wind and will inevitably go
    bust. If Andy can show that he took all reasonable steps to obtain
    settlement before any other firms make applications to the Small Claims
    Court - if the guy is made insolvent or bankrupt, then you should be at
    the top of the heap when the client's assets are shared out.

    Perhaps I should remind Andy that since the client is not a registered
    Limited Liability Company, the client is himself personally liable for
    all debts incurred in the pursuance of his business. That means that if
    the Small Claims Court makes an order for payment of outstanding debts
    and costs, and then the client fails to pay - it is the Small Claims
    Court who sends in the bailiffs to recover assets (aka house, car etc)
    from the client. And it is the Small Claims Court who (if payments are
    not made) can initiate insolvency or bankruptcy orders.

    That is why anyone starting a small business is well advised to do so as
    a Limited Liability Company - which as it says on the box, limits the
    personal liability of all directors (pro rata) to that of the share
    capital (typically for small business £100). Unless of course the
    directors trade illegally.

    I should also add that "spreading the word" about the client (as you say
    you have done) will simply broadcast that you are a soft touch and be
    seen as an open invitation for others to not pay you. Also it could
    backfire on you since the client might say that you have damaged his
    business when he is called by the Small Claims Court to account for his
    non-payment.

    It is always best, in maintaining cash-flow, to "keep it inside the box"
    since broadcasting late/bad payment will do nothing to inspire
    confidence in your company.
     
    Tony Morgan, Dec 17, 2006
    #5
  6. Andy

    Andy Guest

    Tony, I always respect your postings on here and whilst I totally agree
    and AM in the process of following up the normal channels of debt
    recovery. This guy is obviously not replying to any of the letters
    recorded deliveries etc... and I know I've been conned..
    which hurts...
    I am regularly chasing debts from big reputable companies, and i know
    that they won't pay until the 90 day mark, but the procedure has to be
    followed and eventually you get paid, but I know I will get paid, and I
    know that this is just business, and not a con...
    In this situation I was lead to believe thatI was dealing with a
    reputable company, and then find out that I'm not...

    Gareth,
    I started in the business some 15 years ago exactly the same way you
    did, I did the weddings and the minor corporates, and I've worked hard
    and made my way up in the business.

    We don't hire to (or work for) unproven companies, and we do do credit
    checks etc, except when we are passed on to someone via
    reccomendation, and when we do our damndest to help someone out, as in
    this case..!
    We are not a hire company per se.. we hired the guy our own kit as a
    favour..

    I'm merely smarting from being conned, and attempting to make sure that
    others don't get conned as well.

    If bad mouthing the guy in every possible forum stops someone else
    getting conned, then IMHO the result is well worth the means...
     
    Andy, Dec 18, 2006
    #6
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