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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Going Pro: How to avoid canceling a booking? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Memory-Jah
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Mülheim an der Ruhr / Germany
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Another topic regarding being professional and overcoming every obstacles that come along with it.
Let's say someone booked you for a gig 3 Months from now. You settle a deal which he/she agrees on. Then after one month he/she tells you: Hey I found someone else who does it for less (just an example). What now? I know it might differ from country to country. As far as I know, in Germany, written agreements, even just a plain email, is a binding contract.
However to not even give them the opportunity to cancel your booking (you might have dissmissed later bookings on that day for example), what do I do? Or what do you do? Once you agreed each other on the booking via mail orphone or even in person, doy ou suggest setting up an offical bill and send it over to them? The bill might have the clause that the payment has to be made upon recieving the agreed enternainment act. But then you have it secured. ...so hard to explain without the proper vocabulary haha. I do not know the correct legal / lawyer like words here. I hope you can follow me.

Any advice on this topic?

All the best,
Markus
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
alexander_may
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South Africa
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There is only one way to accept a booking, and that is with a payment of a 50% deposit. Once they tell you they want to book you, you email over your booking form together with bank details. If they cancel they lose out on their deposit (unless of course it is for a very valid reason).

You are running a business, so act professional. With a written agreement together with deposit both you and the client are covered, and it actually makes them feel more comfortable knowing that.
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MeetMagicMike
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Gainesville Fl
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I let my clients know that I have no cancellation fee. Letting them know there is no cancellation fee gives them the confidence to book and makes up for those rare times where they actually cancel.

I never take deposits and I can only remember two occasions out of thousands where there was any problem. In spite of those two occasions I don't regret my policy.

I deal mostly with parents, libraries, daycares, and local business owners. I request payment at the event and a few times people have told me upon arriving that they goofed and didn't have the check so could they mail it to me? I said sure and guess what? They mailed it to me.
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twistedace
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philadelphia
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I agree with Alexander. I always get a non-refundable deposit to hold the date.
Memory-Jah
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Mülheim an der Ruhr / Germany
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Thank you for your insights. Do you suggest that payment is always to be made on the day of the event?
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
george1953
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Mallorca (Spain)
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I always have a cancellation fee, and I always insist on payment at the venue. Otherwise if they can cell at the last minute you can't fill that date and you lose out through no fault of your own.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
Memory-Jah
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Ok I see. I was not sure if I should write the bill now for a wedding booking which is in August. I guess, I have to wait then. Is it unpolite or unprofessional to ask the customers when they want to pay? like now or at the venue?

@George: how high is your fee? And at which point and how do you instruct the people that you have this kind of fee?
"Dropping your pants while you set off flash paper may allow your pass to go undetected, but it's still not invisible." - Count Elmsley
davidpaul$
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When a show is discussed with a client and we agree on the date, time and price, I send them via mail a "Performance
Agreement". The agreement details the show pariculars ie: date and time of show, location, length of time, price, deposit requirements and cancellation policy.

The cacellation policy states that if the show is cancelled with less than 14 days notice except in the cases of extreme weather or other unavoidable circumstances they are responsible for the fee of the show. (Cancellation notice must be received in writing or email) I send 2 copies of the agreement with a cover letter and self addressed stamped envelope. The client signs the agreement and sends a copy back to me. I also require that the agreement be sent back within 1 to 2 weeks, if not , the agreement is considered cancelled.
By handling the business end of your interactions with your client, you will be perceived as a professional and likewise treated like one.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Alan Munro
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I live in an area where there are a high percentage of churchgoers, hence there is a big problem with people misrepresenting themselves, because they can justify anything in their minds. To remedy this, I always get a 50% deposit, to gauge how serious they are about the gig. I make exceptions for repeat clients, unless they're low-ballers. Low-ballers have high cancellation rates.
RobertlewisIR
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Colorado
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I have them sign a contract upon booking. I do have a cancellation fee, but it's a loose one. If I have at least thirty days notice, I keep $50 from their deposit (and actually, if they call me up with plenty of notice and a legitimate reason, I frequently even waive that fee as a customer service). But if they call me the night before to cancel, that 50% deposit stays in my bank account. It's all spelled out clearly in the contract. I do give clients the opportunity to not pay the deposit (though they pay a bit more if I collect on the day of the performance), but the contract still spells out the same fees. Most people are happy to take the discounted rate and pay the deposit.
~Bob



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davidpaul$
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Also.... make sure you obtain liability insurance....Anything can happen and people can sue you for anything.
I don't know what the laws are like in your country, but it the US it's a must.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
Christopher Lyle
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Dallas, Texas
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I don't take deposits. Never have...doubt I will start. My x policy is 100% if they x for any reason. I let them know this at the time if booking before I send the contract. It also states this policy on my contract. If it bothers them that much, the. They don't have to book.

I've only had to take 3 clients to court in my career for payment. That's pretty good based on my workload.
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Motley Mage
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Were those three cancallations? Or have you had bums just not pay you after the show? Just curious.
danfreed
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West Chester PA
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Yeah, if you take a casual approach like I have been doing for several years, then you will get hosed once in a while. I consider getting screwed by cancellations and non-payments a cost of doing things because I save a bunch of time and effort by not fiddling with contracts and deposits, and I don't have too many problems. However, I think I'm going to have to go back to doing contracts and deposits, with no-cancel clauses, and late payment clauses. Also, a clause that says if the check isn't ready for me when I arrive I can just leave if I choose, etc.
I had a company picnic cancel today for mid July that I booked a while ago, they decided to go in a "different direction", which tends to mean they booked someone cheaper or they decided to spend less, or they booked moonbounces & stuff instead. I had a charity gig about 10 days ago that was supposed to pay at the gig, I couldn't find him and did my 3 hours of strolling. I emailed him and he apoligized and said he'd send the check, but I still don't have it and he isn't returning my emails and call. I can't really charge him interest unless I go to small claims court cause I didn't have a contract, only an invoice. I used to do all that contract & deposit stuff, but now I'm going to have to go back to that.
Christopher Lyle
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No pays
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Nash
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For anything other than a private party, you should and will have to use a contract, invoice, and any sort of tax related documents.
But yeah, it gets tricky if its a smaller paying gig and private party. I usually just do a contract but not a deposit, it just seems like a hassle for my client.

If anyone is tacky enough to cancel on you a month before because they found someone cheaper, maybe its a blessing in disguise, I would hate to perform for someone who doesn't value what I do and only care about getting something for cheap.
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

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MeetMagicMike
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Gainesville Fl
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Quote:
I live in an area where there are a high percentage of churchgoers, hence there is a big problem with people misrepresenting themselves, because they can justify anything in their minds.


Quite a generalization.
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MagiCol
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Dargaville, New Zealand
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I recently changed my approach from cash on the day over to requiring full payment before the event. If a business or person doesn't have the money on hand before the show, who's to know that they will have it on the day of the show? Payment = booked, rather than pencilling in booking which may not eventuate.
A charge of part of it if client cancels early enough [to cover my time etc. in preparing for the event and I may have missed out on an alternative booking] with balance returned.
I also have in my terms that their payment of the fee is agreement to abide by my contract (which is open to discussion before-hand].
I moved to this approach to simplify things - avoid bookwork of keeping track of part-payments, balance of payment, exchanging of signed copies of the contract, and the like.

The change of approach has worked so far.
The presentation makes the magic.
bunkyhenry
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NYC Metro
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Quote:
On May 28, 2014, MeetMagicMike wrote:
I let my clients know that I have no cancellation fee. Letting them know there is no cancellation fee gives them the confidence to book and makes up for those rare times where they actually cancel.

I never take deposits and I can only remember two occasions out of thousands where there was any problem. In spite of those two occasions I don't regret my policy.

I deal mostly with parents, libraries, daycares, and local business owners. I request payment at the event and a few times people have told me upon arriving that they goofed and didn't have the check so could they mail it to me? I said sure and guess what? They mailed it to me.


This is the way that I do it and have had very few problems.
bishthemagish
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I never take a deposit. I have never had a client not pay me. I go by a no doe no show. They pay me at the gig and it is in the agreement. I call the client a few days before the gig to make sure they have not changed the time of the performance, I get directions, and I tell them to have my fee ready.
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