How to ask my client for non refundable deposit?

I just started doing freelance wedding videography recently and I would like to know how to ask my client for a non refundable deposit professionally over email? I'm very bad at this...

1 year ago - 4 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

Here's a simple request:
"Subject Line: Wedding Videography Quote
Body of email: (Your quote) for (the service you're going to do) on (date the client request you show up) is (the full price). Your deposit of (how ever much you want upfront, and I suggest at the very minimum 33% of the total including taxes if you have to pay them) will be subtracted from your total invoice.

The balance is due on (whenever you say, not more than 2 days after the event and some photographers pick up the balance before they leave the event). You can pay in full or send your deposit by either (whichever way you want them to pay you - personal check, money order, Paypal, cash is good too).

This quote is good until (give them a specific date for making their deposit, maybe 3 days before the event) Thank you, (your name)".

And for future reference, go to Paypal and create a template invoice (won't cost you anything to send an invoice) so you will have it for your next client or go to a good office supply store and get some blanks. It will save you time later on.

1 year ago

Other Answers

First, why is the deposit unrefundable? You are providing a service--and you have a perfect right to request a deposit, but if there is a situation where you cannot perform the service, you SHOULD refund the deposit. If the client does not get what they wanted, AFTER you take the photos, that's when the deposit should not be refunded--even if the pictures are not purchased--because you will have paid for your film and your skill and your time; not liking the product is grounds for not BUYING the photos, but the deposit should not be refunded.

However, if something happens that you cannot take the photos, or if they cancel, then you've lost nothing but the appointment. A deposit should be refunded then, minus a very small "service fee" for holding the appointment open.

You ought to see an attorney to have him help you write up contracts for clients to sign--get EVERYTHING in writing--and have clients sign the contract prior to performing the photography. When a client contact you, you can simply send them a .pdf of the contract, ask them to sign it, and email it back to you--or see them in person for the same thing--and then no one will be able to sue you if something goes wrong. Your contract should have a blank line for the date you will take the pictures, and the time you will arrive, and it should be very clearly stated what you are going to do and who you are (and are NOT) going to take pictures of--and you need to make sure you get release forms signed for anyone under age 18 that you photograph. You also want to have a list of the services and prices for those services you are providing: i.e., proofs, albums, developing, retouching, etc. Make sure your terms are very clear and that the client agrees to them before you take a single shot. You might also want to ask the attorney if it's ethical to use photographs from a wedding in your personal portfolio, and if he or she can draft a clause stating this for you in the contract.

by Christin K - 1 year ago

You should do a quick estimate of what it would cost you to be all ready to go, having canceled other gigs, to get there, do the work, deliver the proofs (watermarked for your safety) and THEN have them say they don't like any of it.

For instance, non-recurring costs (pro rated for a one-day shoot), say $150, plus your time for load/travel/setup/shooting/edits/proofs, say $500, making a total non-refundable deposit of $650. That way, when they phone you the night before and say that somebody's cousin is going to take over with the video, you don't have to complain about "having lost" anything. If they don't like the work AFTER you've done it, they simply forfeit the deposit but don't have to pay "the rest of it" for copies they no longer want.

The second payment, for them to obtain a licensed copy of your work for specific purposes, would be deliverable prior to sending them the final product, of course.

Obviously, if they get nothing of any objective value, you would have to return the deposit anyway, since you cannot expect to be paid for not having done the job in any acceptable form. Your contract could also establish the amount of the deposit at the entire extent of any damages you might "owe" them for damages, including consequential or incidental (i.e., you blew their one shot at having a wedding video). The message there is, "if you wanted a guarantee, you should have hired TWO different photographers" and then selected the resulting product of your preference." You're not their insurance company.

Your own local business lawyer will put it all into proper form and perspective for you.

by bcnu - 1 year ago

Simply state "There is a non refundable deposit of $xx to book my services. This is included in the cost of the package, but will not be returned to you should you choose to cancel."

by Corals mommy - 1 year ago