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  • Standard pay terms

  • mccaincow

    May 30, 2005 at 10:11 pm

    I am a freelance camera package owner/operator. Many of my clients are producers that work in corporate video, etc. They typically want at least 30 days to pay me after the invoice date. Is this standard practice in the high end corporate video world? I would like to ask for a better turn around time, however I dont want to be unreasonable or be too far out of the norm. I have tried offering a discount for prompt payment, however typically they still take at least 30 days. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

  • Arnie Schlissel

    May 31, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    By all means, offer them a discount for early payment, or better still, add a finance charge if they pay late. Just make sure that they’re informed about the charge before you accept the gig. Also, get a non refundable deposit before the day of the shoot.


  • Michael Munkittrick

    June 1, 2005 at 1:02 pm

    30-day Net terms are pretty standard on the creative side, but not for shooters and day-labor workers. If you’re getting your payment after 30 days, change your agreements to read that the agreed amount is good for 10 or 15 days, after which a 5% fee is collected in addition to that fee. When we hire shooters, we pay them the day of, or the day after the shoot. We prefer to review the product, but when it’s a person that we’re familiar with we pay them on the spot.

    Michael Munkittrick
    Managing Creative Director
    Evolve Media Solutions

    Forum COWmunity leader for:
    Sony DV
    Magic Bullet

  • David Jones

    June 1, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    30 days is typical.

  • Frank Laughlin

    June 3, 2005 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve never paid a ‘crew’ member anything other than the day of the shoot. I’m unaware of any production company getting terms on paying any crew. Very unusual.

  • Frank Otto

    June 6, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    [Frank Laughlin] “I’m unaware of any production company getting terms on paying any crew. Very unusual.”

    Not really. Depends on who you work for. ESPN and it’s regionals pay on 30 days for the most part unless you’ve got a contract or rider with them that states otherwise. A majority of remote video providers/crewing companies pay in 14 days…if you get the “Paperwork” in on the day on the shoot and don’t mail or fax it later.

    As an IC you are in fact, an entity and not labor so larger companies and corporations aren’t subject to many of the federal and state labor regs for timely pay. MAny corporations are on a 30-45-90 day cycle, some hold all submissions until the next cycle.

    For nearly 25 years I’ve had a contract and memorandum of engagement that spells out precicely when I get paid. That is agreed on and signed copies are given to each client before accepting any work. The gist is 14 days from end of production to recieve a 15% discount from the “high rate” (the agreed on rate which is always 15% higher than my “fixed” rate.) If it goes 30 days, the high rate is payed on…if it goes 30 days plus 7, then I add 18% service charge for each seven day period the monies aren’t recieved.

    Yes, it’s legal. As a “business” I can set my own rates for service and penalties, up to 182% per 24 hour period by my states regulations, others may vary.

    But remember, to have any real clout you have to have A) a service they want bad enough to pay your terms and B) a bonafide entity that covers you as a business, paying yourself from those proceeds. Yes, you can just be Joe Operator and put in an invoice, but without terms and contracts and a federal tax I.D., companies that use your services will put paying you into their general billing cycle.


    Frank Otto

  • Michael Munkittrick

    June 6, 2005 at 4:55 pm

    As a quick side note to Frank’s post, I shoot quite frequently for ABC and ESPN and there has never been a delay in payment as I’m aware of the terms before I arrive and they hand me a check at the end of the venue. I have been paid on a 30 day net before when working with ABC, but generally if they know you, you get paid the day you work except in certain instances.

    Frank’s dead-on about the Federal ID and setting your terms. If you have a “deal” and you’re an individual, they are generally not enforceable, but if you have all of the legal necessities of a company…like a tax ID and and a Federal EIC number you have some, albeit a very slight amount considering your employer.

    Michael Munkittrick
    Managing Creative Director
    Evolve Media Solutions

    Forum COWmunity leader for:
    Sony DV
    Magic Bullet

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