Setting out your terms of business


Den Lennie TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Den Lennie
Issue 107 - November 2015

Its one thing to win a client and work, but it can be a whole different thing getting paid. Setting out a simple one-page terms of agreement can protect you. Im not qualified to give legal advice so I encourage you to seek professional advice when setting up your own terms of business. In simple terms, you just need to write down clearly and concisely what you will and wont be responsible for when youre engaged with the client project.

This can be very useful for clarifying terms and conditions, particularly around edits and revisions. I recall speaking with a filmmaker recently who took our How to Shoot Sequences program and he found himself in a situation where the client kept wanting more and more changes. Because they hadnt been clear from the outset, the client rightly assumed that unlimited changes were included in the price. If you do not specify exactly what is and is not included in your cost estimate, then you cant blame the client when they want repeat changes. The net result for this filmmaker was that he was now making additional changes that had not been budgeted for, which was costing him money.

The best and clearest way to avoid any confusion is to specify any terms of business that you normally include, as well as two rounds of changes per offline edit, with specifics detailed on the cost estimate.

There is no reason why you cant modify your terms of business based on the specific client project, but it probably makes more sense to have standard business terms and any amendments or specific details highlighted in an attachment to the quote. In addition to detailing any specific project and production parameters, e.g. who is supplying the location, who is providing music, and who is providing graphics, etc., the terms of business should clearly state the payment terms. On larger projects, I always insist on a 50% upfront payment if there are significant production costs to be borne by us. As Ive already discussed, some clients will pay on 60 or 90 days, and you have to pay your crew on 30. You may also have to pay for other out of pocket production costs upfront.

On some projects, there may be split payments that go beyond simply 50% upfront. Every project is different but it is important that you have your payment terms laid out in detail in advance of the project commencing.

Its also important to note that the cost estimate is simply that, a cost estimate, and that you should have a clause that clearly states actual expenses may be higher, but will be discussed with the client during production for approval.

I use this exact phrase on my cost estimates: Estimate is valid for seven days from the date of issue. Fees and expenses quoted are for the original job description and layouts only, and for the usage specified. Final billing will reflect actual expenses. A purchase order or signed estimate and 50% of the estimate total is due upon booking. All rights not specifically granted in writing, including copyright, remain the exclusive property of Den Lennie.

By getting a client to sign the document, you have something that you can later rely on should there be any dispute.

Im happy to report that in all my years of working in this industry, Ive never had cause to dispute an invoice with a client. I put that down to clear and concise communication at all times, as well as having built a great relationship with them. Any dispute that arises will largely be down to a lack of clear and concise communication.

I have used a couple of different legal contract services which are detailed at www.businessforfilmmakers.com/contracts and these have been particularly useful because you can simply buy an off theshelf contract and then pay an additional fee to have it double checked by one of the legal team in that company. I also mentioned earlier the FSB, which has a legal helpline should you need further support.

Finally, running your business as a sole trader is okay if you want to remain in the lower earning bracket of what is possible, but if you want to be taken seriously, you really need to set up a limited company and apply for a VAT registration number in the UK and Europe, or the GST in other parts of the world.

Running a limited company has several benefits, not least your liability is limited in the event of a financial claim on your company. If the company is limited, you are not personally liable for any debt and so your house and personal assets will always be protected.

The second huge benefit of being a limited company with VAT or GST registration is that you look like a bigger organisation. Nothing says one-man-band working in a bedroom than sole trader status.

If youre worried that accountant costs are going to get higher by changing your sole trader status, then you should be charging more money for your services. Plus your accountant if they are doing their job properly should be saving you on tax, at least to the equivalent of their costs, so their fees will be absorbed
Download a free chapter of Dens 206 page book BUSINESS for FILMMAKERS - The Quick, Dirty and Uncensored SECRETS to a SIX-FIGURE Video Business from the Worlds Ballsiest Filmmaker, at www.businessforfilmmakers.com

Tags: iss107 | terms of business | terms of agreement | project | production | contract | Den Lennie
Contributing Author Den Lennie

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Projects Department on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC

    Projects Department on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC

  • Tiger Technology at BVE 2015

    Tiger Technology at BVE 2015

  • Movidiam at BVE 2015

    Movidiam at BVE 2015

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cooke Optics on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Wowza Media Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wowza Media Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Azule Finance at BVE 2013

    Azule Finance at BVE 2013

  • Marquis at BVE 2012

    Marquis at BVE 2012

  • Streamstar Sports Live production solutions. All the tools for complete production at IBC2019

    Streamstar Sports Live production solutions. All the tools for complete production at IBC2019

  • Medialinks 100G media Production Solutions for IP production at IBC 2019

    Medialinks 100G media Production Solutions for IP production at IBC 2019

  • Social Media Virtual Production Switching from Sony

    Social Media Virtual Production Switching from Sony

  • The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

    The Latest Production Control Solution from TSL Products at IBC 2018

  • Live Production with ChyronHego at NAB 2018

    Live Production with ChyronHego at NAB 2018

  • Playbox Production Air Box shown at IBC 2017

    Playbox Production Air Box shown at IBC 2017

  • The all in one production system from Ross Video at NAB 2017

    The all in one production system from Ross Video at NAB 2017

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

    BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

  • aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

    aQ Broadcast Production Suite at BVE 2014

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Post Production

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • ATEM Mini and more news from Blackmagic at ISE2020

    ATEM Mini and more news from Blackmagic at ISE2020

  • Connecting the Virtual and KVM World with the ADDER Infinity 3000 at ISE 2020

    Connecting the Virtual and KVM World with the ADDER Infinity 3000 at ISE 2020

  • Creating Broadcast Quality Live Streams for Social Media

    Creating Broadcast Quality Live Streams for Social Media

  • Equipping The Next Generation From University to the Media World

    Equipping The Next Generation From University to the Media World

  • SmallHD shows the Cine 7 monitor with camera control and integrated Teradek Bolt at NAB 2019

    SmallHD shows the Cine 7 monitor with camera control and integrated Teradek Bolt at NAB 2019

  • Bebob V-Mount Batteries at NAB 2019

    Bebob V-Mount Batteries at NAB 2019

  • K-tek Stingray range shown at NAB 2019

    K-tek Stingray range shown at NAB 2019

  • DoP Choice show the latest lighting solutions at NAB 2019

    DoP Choice show the latest lighting solutions at NAB 2019

  • LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

    LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Calrec at BVE 2017

    Calrec at BVE 2017

  • Prime Focus Technologies at NAB 2016

    Prime Focus Technologies at NAB 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • NewTek at IBC 2015

    NewTek at IBC 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • PlayBox at BVE 2015

    PlayBox at BVE 2015

  • Forscene at IBC 2014

    Forscene at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

    NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

  • Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

    Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • SGL at NAB 2014

    SGL at NAB 2014

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2014

    Sound Devices at NAB 2014

  • AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

    AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Ross Video at BVE 2014

    Ross Video at BVE 2014

  • NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

    NewTek TriCaster at BVE 2014

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2014

    Grass Valley at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene at BVE 2014

  • Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

    Forbidden Technologies FORscene App at BVE 2014

  • Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Orad Hi Tec Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices PIX260i Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

    Aframe Cloud Video at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about LTFS at IBC 2013

  • Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

    Tony Taylor from TMD talks about Mediaflex CI

  • Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

    Blue Lucy Media at IBC 2013

  • Facilis at IBC 2013

    Facilis at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Facilis at NAB 2013

    Facilis at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2013

    Pixel Power at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • Autocue at BVE North 2012

    Autocue at BVE North 2012

  • Miranda at NAB 2012

    Miranda at NAB 2012

  • Bexel at NAB 2012

    Bexel at NAB 2012

  • Autodesk at NAB 2012

    Autodesk at NAB 2012

  • Autocue at NAB 2012

    Autocue at NAB 2012

  • Ross Video at BVE North 2011

    Ross Video at BVE North 2011

  • SGO at IBC2011

    SGO at IBC2011

  • TSL Systems at NAB 2013

    TSL Systems at NAB 2013


Related Shows
  • Post Covid-19 workflows for media & entertainment production.

    Post Covid-19 workflows for media & entertainment production.


Articles
Sennheiser MKE 400 hands on review and test
KitPlus

Sennheiser have just released two products aimed at simplifying audio on the move, the MKE400 shotgun microphone and the XS Lav Mic, in this review we’re looking at the MKE400.

Tags: sennheiser mke400 | sennheiser mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 quality | best microphones for youtube | mic for youtube videos | sennheiser mke 400 hands on | microphone review | iphone videography | microphones | sound for video | camera microphone | microphone for iphone | microphone for youtube | video microphone | shotgun mics | smartphone microphone | vlogging mic | best microphone for video | shotgun microphone review | mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 hands on review | sennheiser mke 400 test | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
A Broadcasters Guide to Microservices
Roger Persson

The word “microservices” has been creeping into the conversation about software-centric systems recently. Is it really a different approach, what does it mean, and what are the advantages?

Tags: nxt edition | microservices | modular software | Roger Persson
Contributing Author Roger Persson Click to read
Streaming Technologies Explained
Bruce Devlin - new

The word streaming can relate to different technologies from different manufacturers in different scenarios and in this short article we are going to take a little tour of what it all means. 

Tags: mr mxf | streaming | hls | dash | cmaf | mpeg | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
REVIEW - Hollyland MARS 400S PRO Digital Wireless Transmission System
Phil Vinter

Built by Hollyland and costing around £600 the Mars 400S is an easy-to-use wireless video transmitter/receiver system – it will be right up the alley of anyone who, like me, considers an instruction manual to be nothing more than box padding.

Read Phils Full review here, and link to the video review.

Tags: HOLLYLAND | MARS 400 | wireless | tx | rx | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read
HOLLYLAND LARK 150 Review
Phil Vinter

The exponential growth of video supercharged a technological revolution that began in the early noughties with the advent of DSLR cameras.
The cinematic-style shallow depth of field image video quality from DSLRs was a revelation, but, back then audio was the big drawback. As demand has grown so the technology has improved and today’s one-man-band small rig set ups can capture pretty good sound into a DSLR style camera.

Phil Vinter reviews the latest release from HOLLYLAND and it's a thumbs up from us.

Tags: HOLLYLAND | radio mic | audio | LARK-150 | CVP | Phil Vinter
Contributing Author Phil Vinter Click to read