The € 15,000 job I did not get. Why?
As a professional photographer, life is not all about making photographs, but also about running a business. So of course, I am always happy to receive a request for a quote from potential new clients. One of them I would like to share with you.
Through my Photoshelter website, I was contacted by Mr. Abdul Al Jabal, with the following request:
“We are A B M Trading from United Arab Emirate looking for Professional Photographer needed in france for our up coming event.
Behind the scenes images of 60 People during annual meeting for 4 days for Annual report and company internal use Includes post-production and upload to online archive system for either viewing, download or further distribution. This will be for unlimited worldwide usage for 30 images
Travel Expenses Will include”
Naturally, I was interested, so I replied with a couple of questions regarding details of the event, so I could come up with a realistic quote.
In his reply, Mr. Abdul Al Jabal wrote the following:
“The date is March 28th to 31st 2016 of march 2016 7 hours per day. Kindly send us a proposal for the 4 days as i said in my previous email.
The event is for Asia & Gulf Associate they are meeting with their Partners and Customers. Include all your traveling expenses and all other expenses you can work on the budget lesser than €15,000. Await your Quick Response.”
€ 15,000? Sure! I am interested!
So I checked the venue mentioned in the mail, which turned out to be a small rental apartment in Nice, France. A further check online confirmed that Mr. Al Jabal is part of group of scammers, so I decided to play a game and replied:
“To be on the safe side, and offer you the best service possible, I propose to hire a second photographer. This way, we are able to cover both the presentations and meetings, AND shoot portraits on the side.
The location address you sent me looks very promising, and I look forward to the challenge of photographing your event there.
I have looked into flights to Nice for the suggested period and have already found a suitable hotel near the venue.
I am happy to offer you a quote for € 14,995 for my services, this is well within your budget.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Al Jabal was not too happy with my proposal and wrote:
“Can’t you do this for the amount of € 14,000?”
Now, as a professional photographer, I have also have my bottom line to think of, so my reply was concise:
“Thank you for the reply and your offer of € 14,000. Unfortunately € 14,995 this is our final price, and a very reasonable one.”
Luckily, Mr. Al Jabal was easily persuaded and wrote:
“Thanks for the proposal, we are very okay with it and as be approved. Very sorry i did not ask you this in my previous mail what is your payment options? we really want to know before we proceed.”
“With new clients from abroad we only have 1 payment option: we would like to receive a 100% deposit in gold. With the current exchange rate that would be 451 grams. We do not think that should pose too much of a problem.”
“Kindly note we can only make payment by Bank transfer since the full payment will be made by the company not individual.”
I expressed my disappointment, but quickly offered him a second option:
“Since we are very happy to welcome A B M Trading as a new customer, I have consulted with our finance department. They have kindly agreed to provide you with our banking details.
Please transfer the invoiced € 14,995 to the following bank account:
Bank Name: Piggy Bank Ltd
Bank Address: 1 Up the Dark Alley, Castle-upon-Air, United Kingdom
Account Beneficiary Name: Quicksand Images Plc
Account Number: 123G-W8-ICURNS”
Mr. Al Jabal obviously did not get the word play in action here, nor did he read the account number out loud in English (he might have taken the hint). No, instead he plugged it into his software and wrote:
“This is not account number :123G-W8-ICURNS”
At this point, I was getting a little tired of Mr. Al Jabal, so I decided to have a final creative go at getting the message through to him:
“I am sorry you were unable to transfer the funds with the information provided. There may be a slight problem on your end of the transaction, but I am sure we can work something out.
We are very keen to do business with you and I am happy to provide you with an alternative payment option!
Since in 50 years time oil will be in very short demand, we are happy to receive the invoiced € 14,995 in the form of 548 barrels of crude oil, to be delivered to our contact person in The Hague, coming Saturday. 548 barrels is just about what our contact person is able to transport in our company van in a single ride.
I am sure a man representative of such a great company as ABM Trading will be able to work with this third alternative I am offering you.”
Fortunately, I haven’t heard from him since. But probably, unfortunately, others have.
I hope that you, unlike Mr. Abdul Al Jabal from ABM Trading, were able to read between the lines, and have some fun with it too.