Inside the Booking Process

Ready to book a job? ShootQ's booking engine makes booking clients easier than ever! Let's take a comprehensive look at the process.

First, navigate to the shoot you want to book. It will be listed in the Leads section of your shoot list under the Shoots tab. Then click Book in the left sidebar. A pop up menu will give you two options - Book Online or Book Manually. When you Book Online, you will create a proposal and email it to your client so they can sign the contract digitally. When you Book Manually, you will create a proposal but not email it to your client. Instead, they will either sign the contract right then and there in your studio or you can choose to not have them sign a contract at all. These processes are similar but they do have some differences. We'll discuss Booking Online first.



Booking Online

After you select "Book Online", you'll be taken to a screen where you can build the proposal for this particular client. On the left side, you'll either choose an existing package from your package list or create a new package from scratch. Any preset package can be modified by clicking the Edit button (i.e. change package price, package contents, etc). If necessary you can also modify shipping costs. If you do make modifications to a preset package, your changes will only affect the package for this particular job; your preset package will still be available to be used on other shoots. If necessary, you can also add multiple packages to a proposal so the client will have a choice. Furthermore, you can change the order in which the pacakges will appear in the proposal and you can copy/duplicate a package (i.e. maybe you are going to tweak the duplicated package).


On the right side, you can configure the settings for the proposal. All settings can be saved as defaults so that you won't have to modify them for every shoot you book.

It's not a requirement, but you can set an expiration date for the proposal. Sometimes a client will be more inclined to sign the proposal if they know they have a deadline. Any proposal that expires can be resent to the client with a new expiration date.


If your ShootProof account is integrated into ShootQ, you'll have an option to send the shoot info to ShootProof so that a gallery is automatically created.


By checking the Add-Ons box, your clients will be able to select products/services to add into their chosen package during the booking process. This is a good way to up-sell your clients. You can offer them all of your add-ons or just ones from a particular pricing page.


Under the Payment Collection section, you can set up the payment schedule and determine how you are going to collect payments. Payment amounts can be a specific amount, a percentage of the balance or total, or the remaining balance. And they can be due any time in relation to the shoot or booking date, or even on a specific date. After creating the schedule, if you've already received any payments from the client (i.e. they gave you a check for the retainer last week), you'll want to mark them off as Already Paid by using the calendar icon.



If necessary, you can save your payment schedule as a preset so that it's readily available for the next shoot you book. For example, you might have different payment schedules for your Weddings, Portraits, and Commercial jobs. The presets easily allow you to choose which schedule to use when creating the proposal.



On the far right, you can choose how you will collect payments. Collecting Payments Manually allows you to collect via cash, check, or any other method. It requires you to manually mark the invoice paid in ShootQ once you've received payment. If you have a merchant account (i.e., PayPal Pro, Stripe, etc) integrated into your ShootQ account you can collect via credit card (and your invoices will be automatically marked paid in ShootQ when the payment is received). When collecting via an integrated merchant account, you can also allow the client to pay by check. Save your changes once you've configured your payment settings.



You can then assign personnel to the shoot.  ShootQ will warn you if a particular team member is already booked for a job on the same day. The name(s) of the people assigned to the shoot will appear on the proposal. Any additional staff (i.e. temporary personnel hired just for the job) can also be added.


If you choose a workflow, it will begin once the shoot is officially booked (both you and your client have signed the contract).



When Booking Online you must add a contract. You can also determine who needs to sign the contract. You can have someone specific on the shoot sign it or you can create generic signature fields. Multiple people can be required to sign the contract if necessary.



Discounts can be applied by percentage rate or a fixed dollar amount. And if they are applied Before Taxes you'll have the option to calculate the discount against the final subtotal or the retail price of the products and services within the package on the proposal. For example, maybe you want to apply a 10% discount to the package's album and prints (products) but not your shooting time (service).



Taxes can also be applied by percentage or fixed dollar amount. The tax can be applied to shipping costs in your package if your state/region requires it. For Australians, the Tax Label should read 'GST' so that the system doesn't accidentally post 'No GST Applied' on your invoices. Taxes can be calculated against the subtotal or the retail price of the products and services in the proposal's package And the tax can be collected as a lump sum on the final payment in the payment schedule or you can split it proportionally across each payment. Just like payment schedules, Tax Rates can also be saved as presets for easy use on future bookings.



Finally, you can add a custom invoice message that will be visible to the client on the invoice. This message box is ideal if you need to convey anything to the client regarding the invoice (i.e. clarification of invoice terms, shoot information, etc).


When you have configured your proposal settings, click Finalize Proposal to email it to your client (clicking "Return To Shoot" will wipe out any configuration you have done).



The proposal email automatically contains a footer with a link to the proposal so that the client can view and sign it in their browser. You can also preview the proposal before sending it.



When the client fills out the proposal and signs the contract, you'll be notified via email and also a message will be displayed on the dashboard under the Home tab.To sign the contract, just navigate to the shoot under Shoots > Pending > Pending Review. You'll be able to see the package the client selected (and the ones they didn't select), whether or not they've made a payment, the actual contract itself, and who signed and when they signed it. You can either sign the contract, decline it (i.e. if something in the proposal needs to be modified), come back later and sign it, or send the client an email before signing it.



Once you and the client have signed the contract electronically, the shoot will be officially booked and can be found in the Booked shoots section under the Shoots tab.

Clients are not automatically notified that you signed the contract so many studios will send an email confirmation to their clients at this time (it could even be an automatic email that is part of the shoot's workflow). Many studios will also send the client a link to their client area and their security code to it.



Booking Manually

Booking manually is very similar to booking online. The major difference is that you will not email the proposal to your client. You'll also notice a few differences when configuring proposal. After clicking Book Manually, you'll be able to select/create a package (and modify it if necessary). But you can only select one package (whereas booking online allows multiple packages to be added to the proposal).

The settings on the far right are fairly similar with a few exceptions. There isn't an option for Expiration Date or Add-Ons because the client will not be navigating through the proposal like they do when booking online. Also, under the Contract settings, you can choose 'No Contract' so that neither you nor the client needs to sign a contract digitally. This option is useful if you have a job that does not require a contract or if you already have a signed physical contract (and don't want the client to have to sign again).



And if you select a workflow for the shoot, you can determine which milestone you would like to start at (and whether or not you would like to disable any scheduled correspondence).



But the rest of the settings are the same when Booking Manually as they are when Booking Online. When you're proposal is configured just click Finalize Booking (once again, clicking "Return To Shoot" will remove any configurations for the proposal). If you selected a contract, you'll first be required to sign the contract before the booking process is complete. Your client can also sign at that time (or they can sign later in their client area).



If you didn't add a contract to the proposal, you'll skip over this step and the shoot will be booked. When a shoot is booked manually it skips over the Pending section under the Shoots tab and moves automatically from the Leads section to the Booked section.

Once again, clients are not automatically notified that you have signed the contract so you may want to touch base with them if necessary (and provide them a link to their client area and security code, too).

 And that's the inside scoop on ShootQ's booking engine! As you can see, it's flexible enough to accommodate just about any situation and gives you the options to make your booking as complex or simple as needed.

Happy Q'ing!



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