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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru Dashman's Avatar
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    Client not responding

    Hi all ...

    I designed and developed a website for a friend of my girlfriedns sister towards the end of last year.

    At the end of January, sh asked me to do a load of updates for her, namely cropping and uploading a bunch of images and items to her site. She owns a clothes store, so it was adding new clothing ranges.

    There was a total of about 70 items, and we agreed a fee per item before I proceeded with the work.

    I got the work done over the course of about three evenings and sent her an email requesting that she review the updates, and told her the total cost for the updates. We have had a very informal business relationship so far, and I wanted to keep it that way as she was a friend of the Missus.

    However, after not hearing back from her, I emailed her again, requesting that she review the changes. She said she would, and that she would get back tome later that week. The following week I had still not heard anything, so followed it up again, to which I got the same response. This has continued week in week out for almost five weeks now. She keeps telling me that she has been busy, and will get onto it.

    However, like I say, I have been waiting almost five weeks for payment, and to be honest, am now getting a little peeved off. Fair enough that she may have been busy and not able to check the updates, but surely (especially as a business woman herself) she should then still make an arrangement to pay me?

    I understand that she naturally won't want to pay me until she has checked the updates, but I am now wanting to send her a formal invoice for the work as I need to get paid for this, and I can't keep chasing her up every week to check it.

    What do you guys think?

    D

  2. #2
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I think, friend or not, you... as a business man yourself... should have had a contract in place before you started the project, written a proposal that gave an total estimate of the cost of the job and required a deposit that covered your butt in case she defaulted.

    You have left the door open to treat her as more of a friend than a client. It's anyone's guess that if she can't take the time to look at the work, if she'll take the time to write a check before she looks at the work.

    The moral of the story - When you treat friends differently than other clients, they act like friends instead of business people.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru Dashman's Avatar
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    Hi ...

    thanks for the reply. I couldn't agree with you more, and believe me, it's the first and last time I will take on a job like this, but I suppose I now need to take a stand?

  4. #4
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    You have several choices. Maintain the friendship and let the work go as a "favor". Send an invoice to remind her it isn't a favor and "hope" she pays it. Talk to her and explain that you need to get this paid and off your "books".
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru Dashman's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the advice.

    D

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member 073165's Avatar
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    I'm surprised you've been so patient. I would have sent her an invoice so she knows that you mean business. You can always include a note saying you're stilling waiting for approval but that your "bookkeeper" insists an invoice go out.

    Hopefully this will be a lesson learned. ALWAYS spell everything out in writing. It may be a pain but it can save you headaches in the long run.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    Definitely send the invoice. Most clients don't expect to pay until they receive one.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    No work order? No invoice? Wow, Im surprised you got this far!

    Friends or not, business is business.

    RJ

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot stikkybubble's Avatar
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    People are always advising against this sort of thing. Personally I think she is taking the ****. I wouldn't be doing any more work for her. This seems to be a universal rule: never treat friends differently. I used to do paintings on commission, and I always got half as a deposit, half on completion. I found out the hard way that you have to make them pay or they mess you around (not checking the updates shows she dosn't value the work. If she had already paid a deposit she'd be eager to see where her money had gone).
    Live & learn.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast jt_va's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a deadbeat client. Cut your losses and RUN!

  11. #11
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    My advice would be to find a way to send requests to them at regular intervals, but don't dwell on the issue. You have other good customers to pursue.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    How's it going Dash, anything new?

    Have you sent your invoice yet? If not, I would do it straight away, work seen or not. It has gone far too long already. I would also call her a few days after she receives the invoice to give her a bit of a nudge.
    If she responds by looking at the work and asking for changes, do them responsively (if they're not too significant) and re-invoice if it adds much time.

    If she pays up, I wouldn't deny her your services for future updates, but definitely get a significant down payment before starting. I've never needed to resort to this for any updates, but I would if I had a client like this.

    In regard to contracts, I don't think they're warranted for (minor) site maintenance; just take a deposit from difficult clients as mentioned above.
    How do you know if a new client is going to be difficult? Often you don't; I take the risk. If you find yourself attracting this kind of clientele frequently, then trusting everyone might not be wise; but for the majority of us, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Good luck and let us know.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot stikkybubble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymo View Post
    Have you sent your invoice yet? If not, I would do it straight away, work seen or not.
    Yes I completely agree. Sight of a bill for $$$ might shock her into action. Anyway, it's her fault if she can't be bothered to look. If she shows that little interest in the work, you'd be justified in thinking what you had done was satisfactory!

  14. #14
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    Hi there,

    Interesting problem. Prehaps you should treat this like I treat new clients websites. That is the updates don't go live till they have paid the account. In other words complete the updates upload them to your server give her the url to check out the updates. Once she has agreed updates are correct payment must be sent. Once payment received updates will go live.

    I have always found that there are two ways to avoid not being payed.

    1) Interest on late payments. People hate paying more that they have to, and will do almost anything to get it a little cheaper. Offer 5% off if payed within 7 days (which you have already built into the price anyway) or 30 day account at normal rate. after 30days 10% compounded weekly/monthly.

    2) in 99% of cases for me the interest factor alone will get them to pay the bill. In extreme cases, suspend the website. You have the power, and for them it is a very bad case of PR if their website service is down. Note you need to remind them you are going to do this in 'x' amount of days, keep reminding them. If still not payed follow through with treat. Admitting you need to have this as an actually clause in your contact. If you have to go down this road you can't expect return business.

    Having number 2 as a clause usually scares them enough, when you have to go down the road of enforcing it that is a different story. Best off going the first option, everyone loves a discount, and everyone hates paying to much. So its just a matter of letter them use there emotions to drive them to pay the bill so to speak

    In your current suituation I would explain that you have removed the updates from her site and they are now viewable on your server (provide url) once you have the time to view and confirm the updates are correct, you can make payment amount to this account etc. Upon confirmation updates will go live. As stated above you need to treat these people as clients, and run this as a business.


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