14 Oct Why You Need To Check Your Vendors
This has become an all too common occurrence in the last few years. I think some vendor categories are more susceptible to it than others, such as Photography due to the relatively low out of pocket expense needed to fake it. What am I talking about? Fake businesses!
I have warned many people in the past and will continue to do so in the future. There are several huge pitfalls that can all be avoided by doing a small amount of research in to your vendors before even meeting with them. What do I mean by fake? I mean people that are pretending to have a business, or people that are simply lying about their work. Both are easy to do and BOY is it done!
Last night another photographer was busted by a client and peers. It started when the photographer complained about a negative review on a popular wedding review site. The bride had rightfully complained that what she received was in no way represented by the fabulous portfolio on the photographer’s website. Long story short it turns out the ‘photographer’ was not a business, had faked her reviews on the site and worse still, had populated her website with stolen images from several other well known photographers (they have been notified)! The photographer went in to hiding after being busted but the damage has been done. The bride now has worthless images and is out a ton of money!
How could this have been avoided? Simple! First you need to do a little background check, maybe using some qualified assistance (e.g. DUI Consultant Services). Most states have a very easy way of looking up any business to make sure they are real. FL has the Sunbiz.org website and checks are just a few clicks away. If you don’t see the company listed – RED FLAG! Ask the vendor a simple question if you’re in doubt – “Who do I make the checks out to?” If the answer is NOT a businesses name – RED FLAG! Businesses will not have you make payments to a person.
Check the work! All vendors should have extensive portfolios for viewing. In the case of a photographer you should see more than a few select images, look for large collections, real weddings, etc. Look at the work over time, make sure it is consistent. If what you see looks gorgeous but is a mix of different styles or gives you the impression that different people did the work – they probably did – RED FLAG!
Why is it so important to hire a real company and not some hack sitting at home? To protect you, and to make sure your event gets covered correctly. Believe it or not what happened earlier is not the worst that can happen. At least this bride got some crappy photos. The worst thing that can happen is you get none at all! That’s not just a scary thought, it happens. You see without having a real business your fake vendor has no insurance. In most venues that means they are not allowed to work. How would you feel on your wedding day for example if your fake photographer shows up only to be denied entry because they did not produce the certificate of insurance or were unable to add the venue to their rider? That’s real folks. In any event when (not if) there are problems with a fake vendor, you get screwed. You have no legal contract. Contracts don’t exist between a client and a non-existent business, no matter how fancy the paper it was printed on looks. You will have to spend your money in court to personally sue someone should you need to later on.
If you think this article is meant to scare you in to action – it is! This is real stuff and FAR too many vendors not only in my area but all over the country, are operating like this. It needs to stop. It will only stop when other vendors such as wedding planners stop doing ‘business’ with the fakes, and clients stop hiring them. It’s up to all of you to protect yourselves which I know you want to!