I wear MANY hats. In addition to doing photography, I still run my dj business. This blog post comes from experiences with the DJ biz, but can apply to photography as well.
What do you do when a client abuses you or your equipment?
Below are two of the many clauses in my standard DJ contract.
9. Client is responsible for the safety and security of equipment that is left on premises after setup, but before tear down. Client is responsible to make sure that DJ’s equipment is not tampered with by client or guests unless previously authorized by DJ.
10. In the event of malicious behavior, or circumstances deemed by DJ to present or imply a threat to DJ’s equipment or personnel, we reserve the right to cease operations at the event. DJ allows ample time, not to exceed 15 minutes, to resolve the situation for operations to resume. Client remains liable for payment in full.
What that means is the client is responsible for the security of the venue and any gear in that venue from the moment it is put in there until I take it out. It also gives me the ability to end the gig should we encounter issues. That being said….
Our gig was scheduled until 10:30 pm, we weren’t approached by the client to extend into overtime.
Now the way I tend to end a gig is to turn off the lights and let them cool for a song or two. Then I take down the lights, and pack up everything I can without stopping the music (computer, mics, etc). Mind you my contracted time is over before I start this. I had ran to my van to get my cart and the cases and covers for my equipment.
This event, when I came back in a guest was crouched down behind my table using my laptop….
I’m now mad, which you won’t like. I tell him to get away from my laptop, it’s not his, and he is not authorized to be using our gear. The guest won’t stop… so it’s not like I can slam the laptop shut. He’s asking me if I want to be a jerk (he used another word) like that…. uh yeah at this point I am. I am also exercising my right to end services for reason in clause 10 above. I do this by cutting all the music and announcing (without the mic) “ok were done here. There is no body permitted to mess with our gear. And I know it was not the first time either”
We then proceed to start tearing down. One of the groomsmen came up and slipped us some money to keep going and said that the offender was leaving… His parents actually had to take him home!
This goes to show that you must be confident enough to stand up for yourself when you need to. I am not sure what would have happened if the offending party had damaged equipment or if I would have been ganged up on, but I am confident that I made the correct choice for myself, my staff and my business interests. It is a tough world out there when running a small business.