How far do you Travel for a Meeting?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by st.john_pope, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Hi,
    A Couple want to meet me,However the round Trip is 4 hours
    and i know they are seeing other Photographers.
    Do you bite the Bullet or explain the situation?
    Thanks St.J
     
  2. You can probably find several threads on this topic if you search. :)

    We now have a studio, but before we made that move we had to meet potential clients
    somewhere else. We chose a local coffee shop with really nice ambiance where the staff
    knew us and welcomed us to sit and chat with couples as long as we needed. Whenever
    someone wanted to meet with us, we would say, "Great! We meet at xxxx; I'll be glad to
    send you directions if you're unfamiliar with that area." Most of the time people just went
    with it.

    Every now and then someone would ask us to meet them somewhere else, and the
    response was always, "I'm so sorry, but we're only available to meet at xxxx." Sounds
    harsh, but time and time again it was proven that the more we bent over backwards to
    meet with a potential client, the LESS likely they were to book us. People who REALLY
    wanted to meet with us would drive to any location we gave them.

    Do NOT drive 4 hours for a meeting. Ask them to meet you in your locale at a venue of
    your choosing. If they aren't willing to make the drive, they're not serious about you.

    And don't feel the need to apologize or "explain the situation". There's no situation to
    explain. You are located in X city, and if they want to meet you, they need to DRIVE to X
    city. It's not rocket science. :)
     
  3. I gotta agree with Anne. We actually only meet clients in our studio/office. Its rare that anyone even asks us to drive to meet them, and when they do we just say that we don't do that. I don't think I've ever been asked for an explanation or anything, but if I were I'd just say that its logistically impossible for us to meet all of the couples who'd like to hire us at different locations and still get everybody's albums done.
     
  4. How many miles is that (not that I have an informative answer)?

    A 2 hour drive (one way) in Southern California might be only 30 miles during the wrong part of the day.
     
  5. Sure! ..... as long as they paid me my regular rate for my time. But back in the real world ...
    what Anne said.
     
  6. Hi,
    I should clarify i am Based in England and the potential client base is countrywide
    I am starting to get requests from all over and i can see this might create a problem i
    need to solve.
    St.J
     
  7. I don't think it matters where you're based. We are in the States in Georgia. We've shot
    weddings for couples from all over the US, many of whom we have never met before the
    wedding day. If they want to meet us, they come to us.

    Just a few months ago we met with a couple who live 5 hours away. They drove 5 hours to
    Atlanta to meet us. Booked us on the spot. Then drove 5 hours back home. If they had
    not booked us, someone else would have, so it would have been insane for us to drive to
    THEM. (Not to mention the fact that people always have the option to book without
    meeting in person!)

    The say to solve this problem is to decide on ONE location where you would like to meet,
    and stick to it.
     
  8. To me, it seems like there is a point where you have to be accomodating to a client (or
    potential client) in some rare special cases. Not something you do regularly, but if someone
    really liked my work, wanted to meet, but just couldn't travel for some reason, maybe I would
    make a little trip. But definitely not a 4 hour drive. There's a point where the photographer
    just starts looking desparate. You don't want that.
     
  9. I can't think of a single reason that would make me travel to a potential client just for a
    consultation. My doctor doesn't come to me. Neither does my lawyer, or my accountant, or
    the chef at my favorite restaurant. If it's important, people will MAKE time.
     
  10. My Day Job is Commercial Photography and there is no question of who visits who!
    If i was getting Married again!! i would expect the Photographer to come to me,
    within reason.
    St.J
     
  11. Up to 30 minutes of driving time would be the maximum (in my estimation.) If you go the round-trip once, and they plan the wedding further away, you are going to be a traveling photographer....
     
  12. I used to make house calls & don't anymore. If they're interested they will come to see me. I always explain that I have too much to carry around & I do. I've got several album styles and framed portraits. I've gotten burned by brides standing me up after I made a trip to see them, so I just don't do it anymore. Like others have said I get quite a few couples book me over the phone. Quite frankly I would like most or all to book over the phone or via email. I'm kind of tired of the "tire kickers" and the brides who want everything & don't want to pay for it. I had a couple in last week & she wanted 16 to 18 hours of coverage & wanted to pay a very low rate. Needless to say I don't actively pursue those kinds of clients.I get a little cranky every once in awhile so please forgive my rant.
     
  13. Anne,

    There is one and only one reason I could think of to meet a client somewhere other than my studio... Wheelchair access. It's never come up, but it was something we did think about. Even then I wouldn't drive four hours. Heck, in RI anything over 10 minutes is a day trip.
     
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    St J wrote: `My Day Job is Commercial Photography and there is no question of who visits who! If i was getting Married again!! i would expect the Photographer to come to me, within reason. St.J`

    I agree with the first part but not your conclusion. The two are separate.

    The studio I have just taken over has a small cast of commercial clients: we meet with them and the art director at various locations.

    That is how it has been in Commercial Photography here too for several years: and sometimes we meet at the studio if it a studio shoot.

    BUT: we have a large Wedding Portrait base clientele.

    The prospective clients come to our studio reception where the initial sales meeting takes place: just like they visit the Reception Lounge or Hotel and Church they will be booking.


    It would be in only exceptional circumstances where we would meet off site or conduct that initial meeting over the phone, (I recall only once by phone for the Sister of a previous Wedding Client, and that was confirmed with a later meeting at our studio)

    It is professional and is seen to be professional to conduct these two different parts of our business these two different ways.

    We do Weddings interstate (> 500KM).

    WW
     
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Ms Alamsy wrote: `I can't think of a single reason that would make me travel to a potential client just for a consultation.`

    I can: if they pay in advance for it.

    Such an answer (treating them as a client already confirmed) and having a `outside hours` or `off site consultation fee` on one`s services and chart of costs, leaves the sales door open.

    You might be surprised at the one or two per year that take up the offer: especially if it, or portion of it, is deducted from the final fees payable.

    WW
     
  16. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Just in case the segue and logic are missed in my two previous posts:

    In the second post I am simply treating the Prospective Wedding client as a Confirmed Commercial Client and charging accordingly: even if the Wedding is not booked (highly doubtful) there is a fee paid for the `consultation`.

    Whilst there might not be a line of fee individually designated in all circumstances for the meetings with commercial clients, any successful business would have these costs built into their fees structure.

    WW
     

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