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What would you do with this client???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PauFerro, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    So, 3 weeks ago a client calls me and wants me to play Christmas music with a jazz band at a mall. She gives four dates. One of which is today. I arrange musicians, send invoices through their admittedly fussy corporate procurement/invoicing system, and then throughout the week, contact her via email about the location we are to perform. Where does she want us at the mall?

    She doesn't answer, so I find out who her assistant is, and contact her, asking for clarification. I get an email last night that they will tell me this morning, a few hours before the gig. Now, after I have packed up all my equipment and taken it to work (a system, basses, etcetera), she sends a text saying I have the date wrong, and that the only dates we are booked are for next month. Yet she confirmed today's date in an email, and processed invoices I sent for today. I have the email trail.

    She has been a "bad client" in the past, like not paying me on the day of the gig, presumably out of being derelict as her sister mall, who uses the exact same processes and disbursement center, always pays me in advance.

    Would you insist that she follow through on her commitment to hire us for today given all the resources we have mobilized today? Or would you just let it go? I still have three other dates from her in December, and she is a repeat client, albeit a very frustrating one. I also gave her a sweet deal on the price when they screamed budget problems.

    Consider how competitive it is in this town, and how guys are lined up to take this gig. At the same time, sheesh, tell me a few hours before a gig I have the date wrong when she's had a ton of communication and confirmations on it??? There are times when I wonder if the customer isn't always right. And this seems like one of those times.

    Comments welcome....
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Send her the confirmation email, and ask that today's cancellation be confirmed. Play the other dates on the calendar. Then you have to decide if going to collect is worth losing her (and the other mall). Losing the other client would be my biggest concern.
  3. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    This seems to be coming more common as Amazon and the internet eats the malls. We’ve been having the same kind of thing down here for a couple years and finally just gave up on them. I’m not sure why these folks have such a hard time using a calendar, but by my estimation it all seems like too much trouble, especially if they’re beating you up on your price. Might just be time to write these deals off, and move along. Doesn’t look like malls are going to be around much longer anyway, unless they turn them all into live music venues.
  4. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    What does your contract say about cancellations?
  5. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Assuming you'll have to pay the band members you've organised for today anyway, I'd insist that the client at the very least covers their pay.
    If you really want to keep working for them (which seems like a bad idea, as if they get away with this sort of thing once, who's to say they won't do it again?), take a hit on your own cut.
    Downunderwonder, TheBear and joebar like this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    if it were me (and if i read your post correctly): i'd chalk it up to the dues-paying we all do, let her off the hook (until the other dates are played), get the money for the other dates you have scheduled...
    ...and when all is said and done: sit down with her: go over your issues, thank her for her support, and book next year asap. good luck! :thumbsup:

    if all the trains ran on time we wouldn't need watches!
    Munjibunga likes this.
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    It depends on the terms of your contract with them. I'm assuming you have a cancellation cause with them and will be reimbursed for this.
    TheBear likes this.
  8. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I decided to stand my ground on this one. To educate the client, so to speak, about what it takes to pull off a gig. That some of the musicians do it full time as income, and turn down other jobs. And that we have all packed up a lot of heavy equipment. All while being appreciative of other work she has for us in the future.

    I left my position in a voice mail since she rarely picks up. She called me back within a half hour.

    End result -- she offered to give is an additional gig to make up for this one.

    Glad I spoke up. The customer isn't always right -- sometimes they behave badly and need a reminder.

    I think she'll be more careful next time....thanks for the input. Always have to think hard before before going head to head with a client, even when I'm nice as pie about it.
  9. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Good on you being professional about it, even when the client isn't.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Good move being diplomatic.
    Spidey2112 and desertrider71 like this.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Now that you have that settled, time to fire the drummer. Talkbass law.
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    If she has been a bad client in the past, why are you still trying to business with her? I would move on and forget about her.
    Fender_Bender likes this.
  13. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Glad at least you got some compensation for your trouble. Assuming she doesn't XXX you on the future dates...

    I'd put her on my flake list, and avoid doing further business with her.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  14. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    sounds like the client used to be a drummer.
  15. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Drummers- They hit things.
    JimmyM likes this.
  16. 2112


    Apr 30, 2005
    You need to ask yourself why you're in the business. Like most I'm sure you fall somewhere along a spectrum that runs from 100% serving your feelings to 100% making money.

    On the "100% serving your feelings" end you find prima donnas, bands that don't give a crap about their audience, groups that make ridiculous self-serving demands of their clients, and acts that cut & run when everything doesn't go the way they think it should. In *rare* cases there is enough demand for an act that the market will actually bear this kind of behavior. Bad news: your act ain't one of them. On the "100% making money" end you find the pros: the customer- & audience-oriented groups that have the ability to deal with the occasional crummy client. Good news: your act has a chance to be one of these groups, but it's your choice.

    All businesses, bands included, are trying to sell their product to customers with different needs, situations, and attitudes. Therefore all businesses, bands included, produce irritations and aggravations that come with trying to make these sales. That's why they call it "work". You will always have great clients and crummy clients, no matter what you do. If you cut & run everytime you get a crummy client, you won't grow as a business leader, and your business probably won't grow either... your clients do talk after all.

    That said, your time and dignity are worth something. And so is extra overhead of dealing with the crummy client. But be careful not to set the bar so low that you shoot yourself in the foot. I say play the dates out like a bunch of pros, but next time around, their price goes up a bit and/or maybe the contract language becomes a touch more confining.
    pjbassist, mikewalker and DirtDog like this.
  17. Jim Dedrick

    Jim Dedrick Jim Dedrick Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2016
    Port Deposit, MD
    I'm going through something very similar this evening. Because thus customer has been promoting this band for a few years now I will let it slide. It is frustrating as some of our following will likely still go there tonight and wond r why we as not there.

    You call, but sounds like a decent client. No relationship is perfect.
  18. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    I always put in, same day cancellation 1/2 pay required. They reserved the day.
  19. There is a business strategy which dictates firing your worst 10% pf clients each year. Rationale is it keeps you hungry for more clients and they will likely be better ones. Also, those bad clients will be bothering your competitors.
    12BitSlab, delta7fred, Oddly and 3 others like this.
  20. CGremlin

    CGremlin Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    Glad to hear that worked out, but I'd make damn sure there aren't any brown M&Ms in the bowl when I get there. ;-)
    Plectrum72 and 2112 like this.

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