Blogs on deposits are nothing new. It’s a big topic we discuss, and a topic I often float around because I haven’t always felt compelled to take them.
But I’m overdue to talk about it, because of some attitudes I have faced recently regarding them. As I am about to embark on the touring circuit again, it’s really important that I talk about it so clients know what to expect of me.
Just this morning, I received a raft of emails and texts from a man who is my ‘biggest fan’, who wanted me to come to Sydney. I do have a tour scheduled for in a couple of months which he failed to notice even though he sent me emails from the contact form on the same page. But when I told him when I was coming, he deemed it ‘too far away’ and proceeded to try and tempt me to come to Sydney earlier than that tour. I have bookings and flights already locked in for my Sydney tour so he was expecting me to organise yet another tour before this, just for him.
His offering? A one hour GFE booking. Now, I love my work, but it isn’t the kind of ‘work’ that I do for free, or a financial loss.
Tour costs? Flights - Usually around $350 - 400 return (I am NOT flying Tiger, ok?) alone. Accommodation? Well especially for central Sydney - $250 - 400 a night. Then there’s the time it takes to get from Brisbane to Sydney, it does essentially take half a day each way, so that’s a whole lost day all up just to get there. Remember the saying ‘time is money’?. Then there’s the Ubers or other transport to and from the airport, and the cost of my petsitter, around $60 a day.
So would I fly to Sydney to see someone for $400? No, I wouldn’t. Not because I think $400 is a small amount of money, but because it would not be $400 profit, it would be, in fact, a massive loss.
And the kicker? When I offered him a time on my already scheduled tour, he refused to pay a deposit. So, this person, my ‘biggest fan’, seems to be quite happy for me to run at a loss for him without him even making the commitment to show up.
There is this attitude that sex workers make tonnes of money and that there is no responsibility on the client to commit, because the money just rolls in and we can replace anyone who doesn’t show up. Let me assure you, my business is not like that at all.
I work 60 hour weeks, and only a few of those hours pay me any money, that’s why our fees are what they are. The hours I spend marketing, social media, admin, preparation time, communications etc, far, far outweigh the hours I spend with clients. That’s the cost of independent work. We surrender our time, in exchange for full control of our business. But it’s hard work - we don’t make our money lying back thinking of England. It takes considerable dedication and effort to get people in the door to start with, before blowing their socks off. I don’t earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of my clients earn more than I do, as do some of my friends. I won’t get rich as a hooker, I’ll make a comfortable life hopefully, with the freedom of not having a boss, blogging from my couch, and getting to be sexy and lead an interesting life.
The thing is, I do not have ‘mass appeal’. I’m a unique individual that doesn’t appeal to everyone. I’m okay with that, the people who see me aren’t just after a ‘root’, they’re interested in seeing me specifically. Which means the time we have together is so much more rewarding for both of us. But it does mean I have to work a lot harder to promote myself, and I am reliant on those people showing up. I cannot spread my expenses over dozens of men every tour - there’s just not the numbers (plus I’d be exhausted!). I tour with the commitment and dedication of a few lovely clients willing to pay deposits. So I can cover my flights, my accommodation, pet sitters and stuff without fear that I’ll be doing my 60 hour week without profit, or at worst, a loss. I love my work, but it is work, not community service.
The deposit issue goes beyond tours though, because even though I wasn’t always taking them for local bookings in Brisbane, I have been punished for not doing so, particularly when recently someone was targeting me with fake bookings. It’s incredibly hard and hurtful to be repeatedly stood up. The ability to project income is so important for any business, and this was being robbed from me. How do you budget on income you can’t predict? You can’t. Money lenders can see that too. Even asides from that, it really hurts to spend so much time getting ready and excited for work that isn’t coming. So now, increasingly I ask for deposits. And why shouldn’t I? I pay deposits in other industries so regularly. Tattoos, fitness classes, photographers, hotels… these are other industries who suffer from non-committal dreamers, who navigate this by imposing deposits. I am a sole operator, with no other people or branches to float me on bad weeks - I have to be able to manage my clients in a way that ensures that they will follow through.
Nothing is perfect, I’ve still had a few deposit payers cancel, and it is still really bothersome. But at least I got a little something for the trouble. Believe me, I’d rather have the actual work and the full amount, but the taste left in my mouth is less sour, and I’m more likely to reschedule them than a non-deposit payer.
So what is my deposit policy?
I usually take 50-100 per booked hour as a deposit, with the remainder to be paid on the day in cash. This isn’t a huge chunk, usually around 20%, not enough to make any kind of profit, or even really to cover costs, but it is a display of commitment from you to our encounter. It’s the acknowledgment that you’re taking me seriously. My deposits are non refundable, but if you cancel with plenty of notice, I’ll apply it to a future date. If you cancel within 36 hours however, it’s gone. It’s virtually impossible for me to replace work at such short notice. If I cancel, your deposit will be returned. I rarely cancel, I’m a pretty healthy person, and frankly I don’t have the privilege of deciding not to get paid without great consideration.
I accept that there are clients in the industry that have a ‘moral’ issue with paying deposits to sex workers. I’d argue that these are people who still don’t recognise sex work as real work, and that we are running legitimate businesses. Whether that’s based on their discriminatory viewpoints, or if they’ve had bad experiences, I don’t know. All I can say is that I take this seriously. Pleasure to me is serious business, and I’m grateful for those who recognise my business and behave and support me accordingly, and there has never been any complaints!