Last December, another developer I know asked if I wanted to take over a project, he could no longer commit the time to it. I agreed.
Since then I’ve been working on the project on/off. The company who the project is far have never had any clear goals, and have kept chopping and changing what they want. It’s been a nightmare.
About 3 weeks ago, we all agreed the site would be complete and ready to go live for the end of August. It’s now ready. However, I’ve received an e-mail from the client requesting cancellation of the project as it seems he’s now reached an agreement with another development company.
I have a funny feeling this client is not going to pay what is outstanding, and as we don’t have a contract I’m a little worried. I’ve also never spoke to the person who requested the site, as everything I have been doing has been arranged via a consultant on their behalf, so I have no emails or anything.
Looks like your ‘contract’ is with the consultant, I assume you have all the communications with him on record? Sounds like he is the one you should be chasing up on this.
Of course, the client is probably happy to pay, have you invoiced them for the work so far? It does seem odd that you’ve not dealt with them direct, yet they are now emailing you directly to cancel.
I’d send them back a polite email thanking them for their business, and ‘please find enclosed an invoice for all the time I have spent on the project so far’, with a note on the invoice requiring payment received within 30 days. Perhaps copy it to the consultant as well. Let us know what they say.
Regardless, it’s a mess and it sounds like you need to sit down and work out a more structured way of running your business. That means contracts, approval forms throughout the contract, structured payments with upfront and non-refundable deposits, clauses that protect you when clients cancel and special contracts when dealing with ‘middle men’.
In cases like these, apart from the mistake of not having the contract or communication, it’s important for you to establish goals at the start of the project and educate them on any issues with what they’ve sent you (to ensure they get the best possible service and you can do your job properly). As such, the problems really begun at the start where you accepted the project as-is and didn’t bring up your concerns as to what they already had created for them. In regards to getting your money, you can send them an email asking for the payment for the work you undertook to be fulfilled, however with no contract, emails or any provable agreements (and the initial work being done elsewhere), you will find it VERY difficult (and potentially expensive) to pursue them for successful payment if they decline. On the upside you did get the 50% up-front so you’re not going away from this experience unpaid (to an extent), but the lesson to learn from this is to NEVER undertake work without a contract and you need to seriously review your methods of discussing projects, itemising costs as they occur and how you communicate with clients in respect to highlighting issues or things which may affect their work. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but your business documents seem to be the lacking feature here.
I’ve received an email from the company this morning saying that another web company has looked at the project and had said it’s terrible. The problem is, I agree.
The site was 90% developed by someone else, built using tables, and the php code was terrible. My tasks were to finish the site, and build an admin interface. I’ve completed the site and done exactly what was requested.
As for the admin interface, I quoted a price before development, and 50% deposit was paid. The interface is now built, and it is built correctly, functions as it should.
So, they money owed to me is for the building of an admin interface.
The main issue here is that the client didn’t source the right people to work on the project to start with, and didn’t create a brief or document any requirements, and as such they’ve ended up with a pile of turd (so to speak).
Maybe I should I have honest I told them it was terrible when I started working on it