Whew, yesterday’s post had me keeping up with comments all day. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the discussion – I’ve enjoyed hearing what you have to say.
One comment surfaced that made me want to share a story.
We had been in business for years, had the proper licensing and insurance in place, and had a very strong and lucrative business.
We met with a client and both “fell in love”. This bride and groom to be were from New York City, high powered, traveled the world, and were planning a very exotic wedding right here in the Rocky Mountains. They loved our work. We loved their personality and everything they were planning.
They were heading back to New York after meeting with us, and called a day later to book us. We forwarded a contract to the bride to be – in Word. She printed it, signed it, and sent it back. We likewise signed the copy once we had received it, made a copy for her and forwarded it back to her.
Several months later, we photographed one of the most fantastic weddings to date. It was on top of a mountain, beautiful day with not a cloud in sight. The food was great. The party was amazing. The bands were flown in from New York City. The wedding decorations were flown in from all over the world.
And the photographs were gorgeous.
So of course we started sharing them. We sent some to the caterer. Some to the wedding planner. Started using some for marketing. And then it happened.
One little email started it all. “Why are you sharing our images?”
We laughed and told her we loved her images. And that’s how we grow our business – we share a clients images with those vendors we worked with.
She reached out again and again and told us we couldn’t do that. “Its in the contract” she kept saying.
So finally I pulled out her contract and read it. She wasn’t making any sense so I went back to see what she could be referring to. And then I discovered it.
When she opened up our contract in Word, she had proceeded to change, add and delete things throughout the contract to please her. We were the “fools” and didn’t bother reading it when she returned it because we never assumed someone would change it.
It was definitely a “fool me once” scenario.
We signed it. We had to live up to it.
So we went in “whatever you want” mode for close to six months, giving this bride anything and everything she wanted. We changed our pricing (lowering it of course). We added products. And at the end, we sent her her negatives to do with as she pleased.
Trust me when I say I didn’t care about those negatives – I never wanted to see them again in my life anyway.
Six months of blood, sweat and tears.
We ranted. We cried. We stressed out beyond belief. We questioned our sanity. We questioned why we were in business. We questioned other people’s ethics and how they could do such a thing. We questioned our ignorance.
But at the end of the day, it was our fault. We signed a contract and we couldn’t change that. So we did what we had to do and learned from it.
I’ve talked about this multiple times on this blog because this was a BIG DEAL within our business.
Every day I said a special “Thank You” for having insurance. I never had to use it, but I worried every day about her suing us.
And people get sued all the time. Like the photographer who was sued and may have to completely recreate the wedding in order to take the photographs again – even though the bride and groom are divorced. Yes, crazy things happen.
And if someone out there starts to shoot for extra money, and decides to forgo insurance because “its just a little side business”, I hope this post makes them think twice.