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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast mng026's Avatar
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    Advice needed for a difficult client PLEASE HELP!!!!

    Hi everyone!

    I am about to pull my hair out over a client, the person I work directly with is inexperienced and is trying to show me that she is boss. It is kinda funny because it is a nonprofit and I am only charging them half my normal rate. I only took this client as a favor to a friend who is friends with the Exec. director.

    Anyway a part of their maintenance contract, they want their "newsletter" updated, it is entirely to long for one web page. They format she sends me in a word doc has to be totally reformated. (i am using DW)

    I am at the point it is not worth my time. I had a meeting with her the other day. She stated she tried to contact me for a few weeks. I receive emails, and she stated she sent it to my old address but she has the right email address, my office # and mobile number... anyway, she states that her boss the person who intially hired me stated she wasn't going to pay me for last months invoice intil the updates and the add on pages are done.


    ANY ADVICE???
    Last edited by mng026; Nov 18, 2006 at 23:44. Reason: more details.

  2. #2
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    I'm assuming since you refer to a maintenance contract, that you have a signed paper document with them that details your working arrangement. Is this task covered under that agreement? If you don't do the work and they don't pay you for last month, who technically is in breach of the contract?

    I'm suspecting that, at this point, it's you. My gut feeling here - and please correct me if I'm wrong - is that you have an agreement that's turning more expensive than you planned, and now you're trying to figure out how to tell them to take a hike while still getting paid. Is that right?

    If so, what kind of termination language is in your contract? Do you have clear grounds to walk away without being in breach?

  3. #3
    SitePoint Member
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    Well, it certainly sounds like you did a favour for a mate, for their mate, which is noble enough... the fact that the people that you are dealing with are screwing you around would make me sit them down and have a serious conversation with them. Playing games and stand-over tactics are simply not acceptable grounds for a growing business relationship.

    So, maybe you could try explaining the situation from your point of view and then cross referencing that with their [her] point of view? One thing though, don't make them out to be a charity case! Good god, not-for-profits hate that in my experience.

    Alternatively, if you really don't want the contract anymore, simply advise her that you are swamped with demand at the present and you, rather unfortunately, are unable to make time for your usual "look at me I give back to the community" work. Perhaps I will be available sometime in the future... once demand has settled (Yeah right!!)

    And regarding the MS word updates - thats something you'll struggle with no matter where you look! I once got sent an outline for a website in the form of a 20 page word doc - then the client complained when the website wireframe did not look EXACTLY like it did in the ms word document... less-informed people will find you no matter where you go

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict MBScott's Avatar
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    This is what strikes me:

    Anyway a part of their maintenance contract, they want their "newsletter" updated, it is entirely to long for one web page. They format she sends me in a word doc has to be totally reformated. (i am using DW)
    Are you, by contract, in charge of their content? If not, it's not for you to say that it is too long. If they have sent you the changes (and of course they will send it in a Word doc... what else would they use?) and you haven't done them.... I wouldn't pay you either.

    I work with a lot of NPO's. Their focus is NOT on what you consider best design practices. Their newsletter is geared toward (guess who?) the donors! They could care less how long it is. I have one NPO client that, if you printed out their index page, it would be more than 20 pages. I have advised them that this is too long, tried to prune where I could, etc. But each "story" is important to their goals in some way that it's not for me to fathom.

    It's their website. If you want to get paid, you need to do the work they send you. If it so offends you to put what you consider too much content on a page, you need to let them find someone who will work with them.

    Missy

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict elemental70's Avatar
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    Repeat after me: The customer is always right. The customer is always right.
    That being said, if you feel that you can no longer work with them (and for the record, I too, hate people that have absolutely no idea what goes into successful web work try and tell me my job), then become "too busy" explain that you've got several projects on the go and are swamped. But, you COULD give them the name of another developer in your area, perhaps someone better suited to them. Passing work around works and always comes back to you


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