Client decided they need to "rebrand" company after I built their site!

Right, so a “friend” of mine who I’ve pretty much built a site for has suddenly decided she wants to rebrand her whole company whilst I’ve been waiting for content to finish off a 90% finished site. We agreed on a price beforehand although we didn’t have a contract (except for the initial contract for the freelance work I do FOR her company).

So I hear nothing for ages, waiting for this grand content, and then all of a sudden “sorry, im rebranding the company and have a branding team in to help me”. I’ve replied saying she has a duty to pay me for the work I’ve done up until now, only to receive nothing back for a week.

What steps, if any could or should I take? I’m thinking of just invoicing her for my time anyway (which is a pre agreed rate) and then claiming if she doesn’t pay?

Unfortunately the answer to this question relies heavily on how much you value your friendship. If you’re more concerned about the business and receiving payment for the services rendered I would make sure to submit an invoice as soon as possible. Does she seem to be responding to your phone calls? If so, schedule a call to review the items on the invoice just to make sure there’s no confusion. This will give her a chance to voice her (unjustified) concerns and give you a chance to feel out her expected payment plan.

If things go downhill you’ll probably need to pursue legal action. If she’s hired a branding firm then it sounds like she probably has business capital of some sort and would probably like to avoid a legal battle.

Well to be honest she’s really just someone I know from my school days who got in touch with me again to do some work, I think if there was any sort of friendship value it would be for her honouring the fact I’ve done the work!

So how would I go about it? Seeing as she has nothing to show for the work I’ve done apart from a few emails with concepts and me asking for content? I know personally I’ve put the hours in and have the work to prove it!

You mention that you have a pre-approved rate. Do you have any documentation such as an email regarding your rate? Did you ever give her an estimate that she had to confirm?

Well she gave me a price which she wanted it done for (which was cheap) “because she couldnt afford it”… although now she’s got a branding team in! This is all outlined in emails, as were the 10,000 revisions to a simple background image!!

I still think the rational answer is to submit an invoice for the amount agreed and go from there. If she’s resistant and you find yourself unable to resolve any dispute with her then it’s time to start seeing what your legal options are. However, given that you don’t have a written contract I’m guessing that your legal options will be rather limited.

Best bet here is to see what you can work out with the client. Remember, some payment is always better than no payment. Maybe you’ll need to compromise on a discounted price.

Is the branding team likely to build her a website? Is there a chance you can send her an invoice for the work done to this point, and let her know that once the rebranding is done, you’d be happy to come in and give her a quote for reworking the current site to the new brand standards? That way you might be able to get two jobs out of one.

Send her an invoice. Make it fair and reasonable, only including actual work you did (not the wasted time, etc.). Send a note with it saying that you are sorry it didn’t move forward, and that you hope she agrees that the invoice is fair and reasonable, and in line with what was agreed upon.

Offer your services in the future, wish her luck, and see where it goes.

Well she gave me a price which she wanted it done for (which was cheap) “because she couldnt afford it”… although now she’s got a branding team in!

Which goes to show this is, for all practical purposes, a ruse.

One guy who “couldn’t afford it” found enough money for strip clubs he bankrupt his business. Of course he had no money, he was spending it all on a concerted effort to go out of business.

Why is a far more interesting question than how much.

Budgets are guesses. Mostly very bad initial guesses before anyone has investigated what things cost or what they want to accomplish. And, as pull-it-out-of-your …hat guesses, budgets can be revised in light of new information (or first sign of any information showing up in the budget process at all).

Assuming you’re in the U.S…

If you’ve got things outlined in emails, just take her to small claims court. That’ll probably fly there. Although there’s a limit on what you can sue for in small claims court, but if you’re below that limit, do it. You don’t even need a lawyer. It’ll be 10 times easier than chasing her down for months and months.