Here’s the problem…
A client has called on a Thursday afternoon requesting you on a project. They’ve mentioned the project needs to be graded next Monday and Tuesday – you glance at your calendar, and good news, you can do it! So, you being an accommodating colorist say “sure, sounds great, really looking forward to it!” Friday morning comes around and another client calls (lucky you) requesting the exact same days next week. They have a hard deadline and have no flexibility to move the days they need for grading.
Since you’ve already been booked next Monday and Tuesday, you have to decline the work and wish the client the best of luck on their project. As you go about your work on Friday, you receive a call from the same client that called on Thursday afternoon. During the call they say something to the effect of “we’re really sorry, there were some problems with the show and we won’t be ready for our sessions Monday and Tuesday”.
Do you see the problem? In an attempt to accommodate the first client you turned away the second client and now next Monday and Tuesday you have nothing booked. And if you’re like me, having nothing booked can make you worry!
Fear not! There is a simple system that you can utilize to protect yourself from lost time in trying to accommodate clients, and as an added benefit you can possibly make money from sessions that never happen. I like to call this system the hold and will-buy system. It’s a system (with some variation) that is used by production and postproduction companies the world over. The use of this system has two goals – to protect your time and to ensure you make money, which is a good thing!
The hold is the building block of the hold and will-buy system. Essentially, a hold is a request for time with no monetary commitment. When a client calls requesting time you can easily give them a hold for the day (or fraction there of) that they request. By holding the day, you’ve placed on your scheduling system of choice, a marker that possibly the day the client has requested is when the actual work will happen. In other words, a hold puts a job on your radar, but it does not commit the client to the day but rather places the request on your schedule as the job potentially happening on those days.