Black and White Photography of New York - Dave Beckerman

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Collecting Money

23 September, 2008 (20:25)

holding-on-9842 Collecting Money

Holding On

I don’t give straight out advice often - but here’s one piece that I will give to photographers: if at all possible, get your payment up front.

One reason that the website has worked (other than the obvious fact that people want to own the prints) is that the potential customer pays for the print(s) first, and then I produce and send it to them.

However, with art-buyers, the sale often goes like this: they will offer to pay you 50% up front, and the rest when they are paid by their client.  Almost every time I’ve done this, it has taken months and in one case a year, to get that second half of the payment - and has required me to become a collection department.  That means remembering to send invoices to the bad clients every few months.  These are usually ignored.

Interior designers, or office managers who are buying for their office spaces, are always better.  They pay you up front,  and are happy to do so.  They receive the prints in a timely manner, and I go out of my way to help them with things like framing ideas, and cropping issues.

Really large institutions are the worst.

They expect you to send them the prints and when their accounts payable department gets around it, you’ll get your money.  In one case this took a year.

So my advice is simple.  Try your best not to fall into the half up-front, half when they get paid by their client or payment when they get around to it.  I don’t have any advice on how to do this - but you may have to be willing to lose a sale.

So I’m holding on - and my business is very seasonal - and eventually I get paid - but it’s a shame that some of these places want to play games.  I understand and have some sympathy for the art-buyers as that is a tricky business and they have their own cash-flow problems.

But the big institutions - places that you’ve all heard of - they just annoy the hell out of me.  They’ve got millions sitting in their accounts, and I’m watching my e-mail for orders so that I know I can get the rent paid, or order a cheese-burger deluxe rather than cooking rice and beans.

So I think I’ll file this under: musing & grumbling , though it’s more grumbling.


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Comment from mcananeya
Time: September 23, 2008, 8:38 pm

What a beautiful picture….

The highlights in the upper left, the fog in the upper right, the textureless (at least on my monitor at work) black coat bottom middle which serves to anchor the picture and contrasts wonderfully with the bright and creased face of the woman. The metal post, running through the length of the frame, conveys strength and stability. You can tell why the woman is holding onto it….

Thanks for this.


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