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Invoicing during ongoing projects


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:18 PM

I have just finished the shooting phase of a project which involved considerable out-of-pocket expenses - quite a bit of mileage, feeding crew, and I subcontracted a jib operator and sound recordist. I have a good relationship with both that I'd like to maintain by paying promptly, and I personally have very little patience for the "I can't pay you because the client hasn't paid me" line. I can pay them either way, but what I'd like to do is invoice the client for work to date.

The deadline for post on this project is the 16th of next month, exactly a month away, and this company have been slightly iffy payers on one past occasion (though perfectly fine in several others).

Would it be reasonable for me to ask them, at a meeting tomorrow, if they're happy for me to invoice them for work to date?

P
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:28 PM

I have just finished the shooting phase of a project which involved considerable out-of-pocket expenses - quite a bit of mileage, feeding crew, and I subcontracted a jib operator and sound recordist. I have a good relationship with both that I'd like to maintain by paying promptly, and I personally have very little patience for the "I can't pay you because the client hasn't paid me" line. I can pay them either way, but what I'd like to do is invoice the client for work to date.

The deadline for post on this project is the 16th of next month, exactly a month away, and this company have been slightly iffy payers on one past occasion (though perfectly fine in several others).

Would it be reasonable for me to ask them, at a meeting tomorrow, if they're happy for me to invoice them for work to date?

P


You don't take at least 50% of your budget up front before you start work any way?

I always did that on all corporate projects I have worked on. Then I hold the master until I have the other 50%.

R,
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:07 PM

You don't take at least 50% of your budget up front before you start work any way?


Inasmuch as I actually hope to get the job, no.

So I guess that would be a "yes", then.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:54 PM

Inasmuch as I actually hope to get the job, no.

So I guess that would be a "yes", then.


I would certainly ask them. Especially when it's an out of pocket situation like you have here.

R,
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 08:52 PM

I have just finished the shooting phase of a project which involved considerable out-of-pocket expenses - quite a bit of mileage, feeding crew, and I subcontracted a jib operator and sound recordist. I have a good relationship with both that I'd like to maintain by paying promptly, and I personally have very little patience for the "I can't pay you because the client hasn't paid me" line. I can pay them either way, but what I'd like to do is invoice the client for work to date.

The deadline for post on this project is the 16th of next month, exactly a month away, and this company have been slightly iffy payers on one past occasion (though perfectly fine in several others).

Would it be reasonable for me to ask them, at a meeting tomorrow, if they're happy for me to invoice them for work to date?

P


Absolutely invoice. Really, for any job that goes on for multiple weeks, you should be able to submit invoices for labor and "reimbursements" every week. Even if you're not submitting on a weekly basis, you should MAKE separate invoices for every week. What this provides is that they won't be tempted to hold just one BIG invoice and gives them the "freedom" to pay separate, smaller, invoices on a more regular basis. ALSO, depending upon the individual check amounts, most banks will hold large checks for ten days or more. Smaller individual checks will clear much quicker giving you access to those funds so you can pay your credit cards or other bills you've racked up.

Especially if they're "iffy," be sure to invoice smaller amounts and more regularly. They can bundle them as they wish, but it gives them the "out" to pay smaller portions if necessary. While not ideal, at least you'll have some money coming in instead of nothing at all.
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 08:56 PM

I would certainly ask them. Especially when it's an out of pocket situation like you have here.

R,


I concur with Richard and Brian. Be careful Phil!
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#7 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 04:42 AM

I concur with Richard and Brian. Be careful Phil!


I wouldn't ask them I'd tell them you're invoicing for the production phase. When post finishes that'll be a another invoice. If the roles were reversed would this company ask you if it was ok to invoice you?
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#8 Thomas Dobbie

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 06:16 AM

I concur with Richard and Brian. Be careful Phil!


I'm currently working on a long drawn out corporate job. The deal I negotiated was 30% up front,followed by 30% at the end of the shooting phase,and the balance upon delivery after post. That's the kind of terms I normally work for,and haven't had any
problems. If the client has a history of late payments,I normally ask for more up front.Out of pocket expenses I invoice separately,and expect to have the invoice paid upon presentation.
You've got to be tough,because even the best clients will take advantage if you let them.
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#9 Freya Black

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 08:05 AM

It may even be that with smaller invoices, they won't even notice that they are paying for them. :)

When people get a big bill they go eeeek!

When they get a little bill they just pay it.

love

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#10 David Auner aac

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:37 AM

I'm currently working on a long drawn out corporate job. The deal I negotiated was 30% up front,followed by 30% at the end of the shooting phase,and the balance upon delivery after post.


Yep, I work like that too for larger projects. It's quite common in our field here to invoice in that manner. Few companies reject that kind of deal.

Cheers, Dave
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 02:34 PM

Ho hum, all lessons for the future. I'm starting to do bigger and bigger jobs (jibs? unheard of a few years ago) which I'm not entirely comfortable taking through my personal bank account. Maybe time for some sort of offically-recognised company.

P
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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 09:11 AM

I'm in a similar boat, Phil, and I highly recommend separating out your "work" account from your personal, even if you're only opening up another checking account.
I often do a 50/50; or I'll require the company pay for all "equipment and operators" first and then invoice for my own labor second as, like you, I don't mind having to wait longer for my pay so long as the people I work with get taken care of. It's important, to me, that my crew gets their pay as soon as possible.
If this is a client you've had for awhile, and it seems as they are, just give them the invoice and if they question it, explain why you're billing them in this fashion.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 September 2009 - 12:06 PM

For what it's worth, they said no, and that I could invoice them at the end of the month.

I'm a cretin.

P
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Metropolis Post

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