How do you manage the micro-manager client?

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    • #70666

      We're a marketing agency that's growing our video production business and facing a dilemma when it comes to managing the flow of post-production work with some clients.


      Our Account Executives price our projects up-front and consult with the production staff (that's me) to estimate the hours that it will take to complete the job. Clients then sign a contract for the order with a fixed price based on hours of work. But we've encountered clients who want many revisions during the editing process, change gears on look and feel, or add content that was not in the original script.


      All of this means lots more hours of post-production work than we anticipated while pricing the project. The client's attitude is, "We agreed to a price and I want it exactly the way I want it," but we're losing our shirts on these people. How do you deal with this kind of challenge?


      Bob Seybold

    • #208701

      Perhaps renaming your contract to a "Retainer" and sending an itemized statement every week or month. 


      You could hold their feet to the fire by informing them you'll finish their project with whatever hours are left.  If it's not a good final product, they're the ones to blame.


      This is all dependent upon how much you want to do business with this company in the future.  Just remember – they will expect at least the same level of performance next time…

    • #208703

      Thanks for the advice Ed. I like the idea of a retainer as a basis for final cost. The problem is that our company has little exerience in managing video production. Our bread and butter has always been audio production and the variables there are so fewer than in video. With over 20 years of experience in audio production, it's easy for management to estimate costs and offer fixed prices for various products, and that's the model that they're trying to apply to video. Our sales force says they want "simple" pricing (what salesman doesn't!) but those of us in "delivery" are finding that to be quite challenging.

    • #208705

      Bob, as with any new venture, there will be kinks to work out.  I highly suggest you document ALL of your issues, for a future review with your colleagues.  Hopefully you'll all iron things out and get a system as smooth as your audio department is.  Good luck!

    • #208708

      Bob, charge them for revisions. For instance, you will give the client one free revision. After that, charge them for each revision, and charge them for each additional change in production. Let them know in advance prior to production. Hopefully, this will cut down on a number of revisions.


    • #208715

      Ginayar is very correct in her comment. I have it pretty easy primarily filming racing. You only get one take! I have filmed other events like wedding anniversaries, Web commercials, and driver spotlight events. The only thing I will not film is a wedding. I see all the headaches derived from such events.

    • #208717

      Good advice on charging for revisions Ginayar. Part of our challenge is that we're often sellling these without having a script yet. I almost think we should write a script before we price the full production. That way, we'd know just what they want in terms of content and how much work will be involved in shooting, graphics creation, etc. We tend to base our price on the TRT and the mix of live shoot vs. graphics and VO, and that doesn't accurately reflect the amount of post-production work that's needed.

    • #208724

      I agree with Ginayar and it should be carved in stone. The contract must contain this condition and should be pointed out to the client. One free revision is enough to make them make up their minds. However, if you have had more video production projects, you will need a software solution that will estimate and determine labor and material costs for a job or task in a systematic way. Our company has been using Latitude project and client management software for a couple of years now. It does more than job costing.

    • #208743



      I'm curious – Have you decided on a solution?  Is the rest of your staff sold on it?

    • #208744



      I really like the idea of "one revision included" and anything more than that requires an additional charge. I plan to take that idea to my Creative Director and the Sales Department for adoption as a policy for future projects. As Ginayar said, it needs to be up-front and in-writing, so there's no question about it later. Thanks to everyone for the advice!

    • #208752

      type your "how to get Free stuff" and "you don't need to pay for this" lists on paper.
      place paper on a sturdy cabinate.
      set an empty aquarium on top of the paper. fill with water.
      when clients try to micro manage, or bilk you for freebies… offer to hold thier head inside aquarium so they can read your terms.

    • #208761

      Are you dealing with more than one person as your " client "? Be sure that there is only ONE client representative with whom you have to interface. If you're dealing with more than one, there's a possibility that you're a victim of an internal creative struggle on their part. I got caught in the middle on a sound recording gig which turned into a massive PITA.

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