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Topic: Bad Business
Message: Posted by: shobley (Oct 11, 2003 11:54PM)

I've just got back from a private party booking that turned a little sour at the end. I wanted to solicit some feedback from others in the group.

I was booked to perform at a private party for 2 hours. When I called to confirm the host asked me if I would be available for another hour on top. I told him that I could do that, and that we should discuss it again at the end of the original booking period, to see how the party was progressing, and if the guests would be receptive to another hour of magic.

As it turned out I worked the extra hour anyway, and when I approached the host to indicate I was about to leave, it became very awkward.

It was obvious he had been drinking very heavily and essentially began throwing money at me with the intent of me staying on for another hour. I politely informed the host that I did not want to do this, and I would require paying.

It then seemed that I would not be paid until I did stay for the extra time. Eventually I had to call on a mutual friend to resolve the situation, as all business etiquette had flown out the window.

The party was truly winding down at this time, and many of the guests were leaving.

Has anyone else been in this situation?

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Oct 12, 2003 06:30AM)
I would have just done what he wanted but I'm a wimp!I find talking money with drunk people very hard!

Maybe, if I was on my toes I would have made tried to make it to his benefit for me not to stay longer. I might say: "gee I'd love to stay longer but it seems as if the evening is winding down and I'd hate to take advantage of you".

Unforunately, being drunk, logic isn't really going to help is it?

In future you might like to

a) get EVERYTHING in writing including an overtime fee.
b) get paid for the first two hours at the START of the night. Some guys I know offer a 10% discount if the bill BEFORE the event.
c) Don't do ANY extra time without consulting the guy.

At the end of the day, the problems arose from the fact that he LIKED you and WANTED MORE so don't get too stressed!!! Take it as a compliment!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 12, 2003 10:43AM)
That is a tough situation to be in. I try to avoid problems like that by:

1) having a contract written up and signed and agreed upon before I arrive to do the performance

2) Try to have them agree to my payment before the party starts. You can bring up the fact that that way it will be easier for you and for them to enjoy the party without each other having to stop the party functions to settle payment.

3) I would never do any extra time unless I spoke with the client and got the apporval ahead of time.

It certainly does not solve all the problems, but I try to minimize as many potential problems as I can. I think you did the best you could under the circumstances.
Message: Posted by: RobertBloor (Oct 12, 2003 01:06PM)

Just two comments...(or 12)

First, next time the client asks for an extra hour prior to the event, book it, or don't. Waiting to discuss it while the party is going on won't help you, as you found out.

Secondly, you handled this one alright. If the guy had been drinking your job was to try and defuse the situation.

It sounds like you did by bringing in a friend to assist.

Deal with drunks is never easy and there is no sure fire method of resolving situations like yours.

As far as how you look as a business person - don't worry about it. You conducted yourself accordingly, he was drunk.

Robert Bloor
Message: Posted by: shobley (Oct 12, 2003 03:35PM)
Thanks for the advice.

I'm well aware that I should get all performance details in writing, in advance. There were several factors that made this tricky, as the booking was a "last minute" affair.

All the same, next time I will refuse to take a gig if there is no written contract.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 12, 2003 03:48PM)
I think that may be the best idea for you. I do think you handled the situation as best as anyone really could under the cicumstances.
Message: Posted by: Ricky B (Oct 12, 2003 09:04PM)
[i]"There were several factors that made this tricky, as the booking was a "last minute" affair."[/i]

You should have a standard form of contract for each type of venue you perform in. If possible fax it to the customer beforehand and have him sign it and fax it back.

In this case, you could tell the last minute customer on the phone that you would bring your standard agreement with you, that you and he would go over it, and that he would need to sign it before you start. You need to get verbal agreement from the customer that he will sign it upon your arrival.

If he questions you about why you need a written agreement, you can explain right there on the phone. And if the customer is offended (the good ones wouldn't be), you want to know that before you show up!

You can be low key about it. "Gee, since we don't have time for me to send you my standard agreement and get it back to me before the show, I'll just bring it with me and you can sign it when I get there, O.K.?"

Of course, you would have to show up *before* the scheduled show time to make sure you have time to discuss the agreement with the customer if needed.

The more urgent that it is to the customer that you start performing, the easier it is to get the agreement signed--if you stand your ground and require it.

Message: Posted by: jlibby (Oct 13, 2003 09:59AM)
I think under the circumstances, you handled the situation very well.

For future reference, even on a last minute booking, there's no reason you can't get a signed agreement and a deposit, thanks to fax machines and Paypal.

Have a great day!
Joe L.