I had such high hopes when I was initially contacted by this company (I had applied for more information as to modeling for my child on several websites), when the girl called to schedule an appt. for us, I specifically asked her if there were any fees or if they were paid on commission? She responded by telling me there were NO fees, and that it was a shame that some people scammed and "made the industry so difficult for legitimate businesses."
So, at the initial appointment, I brought some requested photo prints and met with Patrik's husband, Paul. He was exceptionally sweet and answered a lot of my questions (later it was revealed that he's not even really in this industry, he runs some sort of boutique), he took some video of my child and told me that he would send it to Patrik in NY, and get back to me if they thought my child would have solid opportunities (since, he stated repeatedly, they were paid exclusively on commission and didn't want to waste their/my time).
A couple days later, Paul and I spoke on the phone, and he told me Patrik absolutely loved my son and already had a job in mind, so we should get moving ASAP. I came in the following day and signed contracts (which are fairly straightforward, though I was annoyed at being forced to drive to sign 4 sheets of paper with the abundance of PDF's, faxes, etc these days). Paul also charged my card $280 for the photography shoot ($30 of this was tax). He expressly told me that this fee paid for everything - the photographer, retouching, prints, all inclusive. I'm even looking at the form we signed as I type and it specifically states:
"Professional Industry Digital Photography
Professional Makeup Artist(s)
Professional Hair Stylist(s)
Posing and locations coordinated
Appropriate Portfolio Photography
Photographic Styles - Headshots, Full Body & 3/4 Color Images
Equipment & Processing
Three Separate Looks
Studio & Location Lighting
Proofs via Email from Entire Shoot
3 8x12 Photos
($100 Value of Prints & Retouching Included)"
The bold font is mine, and I do it to make a point. When I came in to review the photos, Patrik slid a sheet of paper across the desk to me indicating that I needed to pay an additional $65 for retouching ("to get the full 5 looks for the ZED card") and THEN pay $280 for 100 ZED cards to be printed. So, in the course of just a few conversations, we've gone from no fees, to $250 plus tax, to $595.00 plus tax!
This doesn't include the parking/gas we've paid so far or the clothing for the specific "looks" we'd purchased. For a young family such as ours, particularly with the economy in its' current state, this is a LOT of money! When I told Patrik that I wanted to discuss with my husband first, he responded that he would just "sit on the photos and wait to retouch them" until he heard from me. What about my 8x12's promised in your contract???
So I jumped on the internet and started doing research...
My first find was that, despite the placard stating a BBB rating on the receptionist's desk, he is NOT accredited by the BBB. I even went so far as to go to the NATIONAL search query. It pulled up ONLY the business in AZ, which has 3 complaints recorded, 2 of which were never responded to.
My second find was that he is running a licensed business in the state of CA. This is his registered business name: P&P BOYZ, LLC DBA NETWORK INTERNATIONAL MODELS & TALENT
HOWEVER, he is not compliant with their regulations (according to the CA Labor Code, he should at minimum have his business license posted along with his fee schedule in a conspicuous place).
He obviously isn't doing that, or someone like me would have turned right around and left without another question.
The thoughts that keep swirling in my mind, particularly, is that there were a good dozen people present each weekend waiting to have photos taken...
12 people x $250 each = $3,000 per weekend, so as a rough low-ball estimate he's bringing in $12k/mo, right? So much for no fees! And I'm really supposed to believe that he's content to take between 10-20% commission on an artist's work? Paul (Patrik's husband) showed me pay stubs for 2 children that had just done work- supposedly for 10-30k for either job. That means Patrik's cut is from 1-3k per job. Awesome, for those of us who work for a living, but if you're already bringing in quadruple that on people's dreams... is it worth the extra effort?
I hate to be negative, but between the fees that keep cropping up, the research I've done and this man's reputation, I'm pulling the plug now. Please wish me luck in getting my son the recognition he deserves!