Dispute with Client

[SIZE=“3”][FONT=“Arial”]I have a client who asked me to update her shopping cart buttons with more options and different pricing. After updating, the buttons no longer aligned properly on the page because of drop-down menus, so I adjusted and arranged them to fit and look appealing, then submitted to my client. I did not want to leave them on the website looking shoddy and unattractive. My client did not like the arrangment, and had me rearrange them, and then asked me to arrange them a few more times after that. She does not feel she should pay me for my time in rearranging them, as she sees it as my mistake in the first arrangement. I do not feel it was a mistake, but a part of normal website designing.

I have always charged an hourly rate for adjustments, no matter how many adjustments are made. What is the proper way to handle this? I feel my time is well-worth the pay. (For the record, when creating a website from scratch, I do not charge for modifications to the design until after third revision.)

Thank you!


Personally, I always compromise a bit in these things… but maybe I’m weak. It’s the equivalent of doing a lot of unpaid ‘overtime’, I suppose. I can understand why clients don’t want to pay by the hour for lots of modifications… but in the end, they have to understand that it’s not worth your while to bother doing free work.

I had a plumber in the other day to fix a leaking sink. He charged like an angry bull, of course, and once he’d left the sink began to leak again. He was called back to do further work, but there was no question (at least in his mind) about being paid handsomely for the extra work. (I had no say in it, as I’m a tenant…)

Most trades are like that, in my experience. My chiropractor doesn’t offer free followups if I still have a bad back after visiting him! :slight_smile:

Well, first what does your contract that they accepted say? Second from your description the client was expecting the new button design to fit in the old buttons space. You changed something in the button design to require the next change. I would lean toward you should have notified the client when you realized the new button design would require a layout change. Questions at that point might be keep the original buttons? maybe some layout ideas, you mention she had you change it more than a few times, the client was not prepared for a layout change.

This project morphed from an adjustment to a new design project. At the end of your first paragraph you put “a part of normal website designing.” For me adjustments and updates are not a website design.

It became creating a website design which leans toward your third revision rule.

I realize that the situation is already apparent, but for the future I recommend to really talk with your client before you start work. I created a FAQ for my clients that goes along with the contract to explain things like modifications (Your Button Rearranging issue) in non-legal speak.

For all my years of doing clients sites, I still find that people still have a hard time understanding and PAYING for non-tangible items.

Thank you all for the responses. I really loved the example of the chiropractor–that’s the truth, Ralph.m. This is how I see it. I did tell her that I would deduct some of the bill this time, but I would not do it again.

Techmichelle, thank you for your thoughts! The contract simply states that all updates will be at a certain hourly rate. I will probably have to be more detailed as to what constitutes an update next time. My client had 4 shopping cart buttons that used to fit in a horizontal row beside an image. With the new options added, I had to put the buttons vertically on top of each other–2 on top and 2 on the bottom–to keep them beside the image, in order to keep the website looking like she already had it. I had already uploaded them, and would not leave them looking a mess on the site while waiting to hear from her. I don’t consider this a layout change. None of my other clients would have expected me to contact them for this situation; they would have just expected me to make them fit in an attractive manner. I’m very careful at keeping my clients informed before I do things. My client later kept changing the order of the buttons, but did not request what I would call a layout change. To me, it’s understandable that you cannot see how something will look until you get it on the screen, and you may need to adjust it a couple of times to get it like you want, but I still feel the designer should be paid for her work in accomodating the client’s changes.

MacCasey, I do have a ton of issues addressed in plain language for my clients, but I think I’m going to have to address this also. The is the first time in over 10 years of website designing that I’ve had this come up. I agree, people that are not in the business cannot understand paying for non-tangible things.

Thanks for all the help! I appreciate it so much!

sounds like this may be your fault and your client shouldnt have to pay as they werent satisfied with something that you were trying out. i would compromise a bit as it was a learning experience for the both of you.

I am currently working with a client like this. Its best to put on the contract that after x number of revisions they have to pay.

unless you have it written, you can nicely explain to them you cant do too many reviews.

In this cases I get really into the customer, and since the beginning although I don’t do contracts unless working for a big firm or company, I normally keep reminding my customer that everything he wants can be done, but it will have a price.

I tent to do my research first because if I do a changes and something else happens, I think the problem is from me. In this case you.

However if you finish the Job according to client specifications without affecting another part of the Job, and the customers did not like, he will need to pay the extra rearrangement.

If he pay you to do something, and you affect something else inside the work, is your fault, and you need to cover the rearrangement with your time.

Normally I tend to tell my customers, if I do that this will happen and it will take more time, as a result more money will be required.