Many times, you may find that some of your costume design business customers are overseas. These customers might come to employ you because they believe that you will have a better understanding of the costumes they need. This is often the situation when the overseas customer is planning an event focused on America, such as a play about American history. In this situation, there are several aspects you should consider.
Get the Right Measurements
Measure twice, cut once. One of the most important aspects of serving overseas customers is to make sure that you make the costume in the correct size. After all, there is no way for you to fix any problems once you ship the costumes. It is best, therefore, to devise a way to ensure that the measurements you receive are appropriate and correct. This can be accomplished by requiring customers to complete two forms containing their measurements on different days. Moreover, ensure that the measurements you receive you can understand; keep in mind that unlike the U.S., the majority of the world operates on the metric system. Provide the customers with clear identification of the specific measurement system that you need, whether metric or the American system.
Make Payment Certain
Once you begin working and absolutely once you send your products overseas, there is very little recourse you have for obtaining any overdue payments. Therefore, you must ensure that you are paid as necessary. You customers may be unwilling to pay up-front for your services because they, too, may fear that you will not perform as required. To reduce this possibility, consider establishing a payment schedule whereby you are paid a percentage of the amount due at specific intervals in your work. Write out a signed document establishing your payment terms and obtain a signed copy prior to beginning work.
Remember Shipping Costs
When providing a quote and calculating your costs, do not overlook the cost of shipping your items. Overseas shipping is quite expensive, and moreover you may need to package your items in a special type of box or other crate. This is an even larger possibility when you are shipping your products by sea and not air. Make sure to include these costs in your quote and to indicate that they will be determined at the time of actual shipping, should such expenses increase during the time you are producing the costumes.
Consider a Contract
In any business endeavor, a contract can protect you against fraud or other problems. When working with overseas customers, a contract may offer you protection against non-paying customers. One of the most important aspects of this contract will be a clause establishing that U.S. law governs the terms of the costume agreement. This could make it easier for you to obtain any overdue funds, should the need arise to sue the overseas customer. Prior to agreeing to working with an overseas customer, therefore, you might consider requiring that the other party sign a contract. This contract should also contain the other party's contact information, including any necessary country telephone code.