One of the common questions or points of discussion among wedding photographers is related to pending payments. The client is not paying on time or the client is refusing to pay the last installment once the delivery is made.
How can you avoid a situation where the client is not paying after the wedding?
Lets us discuss a situation where you have already delivered all the deliverables and you are having issues with your payment.
Is there any hope to recover the pending payment?
The one-line answer “No“. The fight to recover that money is not worth your time and effort.
Most probably you may not have signed a wedding photography agreement with the bride and groom. It is more common when wedding photography is a weekend job. Alternatively, even if you have the contract will be not strong enough to hold any standing in the legal system.
If there is any chance, it is through negotiation without losing your cool or temper. Only cool heads are good negotiators.
I have to admit that it is easier said than done. But that is the baseline of any negotiation. Try to keep the conversation going, negotiate with a solution that is win-win for both parties. If you are in the middle of “fight”, it is already a lost cause.
What you should do?
Firstly, you should always sign a wedding contract/agreement. It should have clear payment terms and conditions including the delivery schedule.
Be a professional and follow the terms and conditions as if they are verses from almighty.
Secondly, it does not matter how your client is behaving/acting right now. The fact is you have zero control.
Ask yourself honestly why the client is not paying?
Ask if you met the client’s expectation as set by you at the time of booking?
Or what is the client’s expectation now and how genuine and realistic they are? If you meet those expectations, can he clear the payment when those are met?
If the reasons for holding on to your payment are genuine where the quality of the service or deliverables was not up to the mark. They have all the reasons to be upset and stop your final payment.
In such a scenario, go ahead and do your best to meet those expectations and most of the time the payment gets cleared. It may sound too good to be true but it does!
In another common scenario, when the client is making up excuses or reasons just to stop the payment or deny the final installment altogether. You know everything was going smoothly and suddenly after you gave the final delivery. The client is coming up with issues in your work during or after the wedding.
It is an indication that the client is making up reasons just to avoid the final payment. There are no easier ways to recover the payment. The wedding contract comes handy in such a situation and most of the time works as an avoidant of these unpleasant scenarios.
I charge 100% before the wedding starts. It is mentioned in my contract as well as the quote.
It sets the client expectations and for whatever reasons if the client is not okay with my terms and conditions, he will give it a pass in hiring me.
You should be ready to lose some clients to develop a work style. Work with the client who hires you for your quality of work as well as your work culture.
Be a professional when you are taking a 100% payment. Always go the extra edge to deliver quality.
It is all about your workflow and how you want to run your business.