Hello, I am new here and desperately need some guidance. (*Sorry for writing a book here)
I am more of a hobbyist website designer and have done more pro bono work than paid work. I do not advertise or solicit business for web design. I was contacted by someone I know about redesigning their website because they love my work. They initially contacted me for some advice. No problem, but when it came to actually designing a website I told them that I could not “give” them a design. The nature of their site is a business with products. They have over 200 pages as well. I suggested a CMS system such as Joomla or WordPress but they did not want to go that route for they didn’t want to change the extension of their current pages. The only other option for them was to use a .htaccess file so they could keep their current extensions. When they found out I could do this, they requested a proposal for 15 pages to get them started and they would finish the work. Because I don’t build websites for a living, I agreed to give them a considerable discount for what they wanted and agreed to give them 10 hours of training. They agreed to the terms of my proposal/contract, signed it and sent me a deposit.
Now, I build from scratch and do not use any templates. Therefore each item that I create is priced (ie, global style sheet, scripts to be configured, optimizing images, pages to be constructed, etc.). I do it this way so that there is a limit on the services I am expected to perform. My contract also states that transfer of copyright will be issued once final payment is received.
During the design process, the client wanted additional items in which the contract states that additional items will be billed at the price quoted in the contract. However, because I am not interested in clearing out someone’s pocket book, we agreed that we would “trade” any extras for their products. This however was a verbal agreement and I created the additional pages with the features, styling, scripts, etc. that they wanted.
Anyhow, I finished my work, validated every page at W3C and finalized the site design with the client. The client then sent a check for the balance due. The day I received the check I deposited it in my bank. Although I know that the check will take a few days to clear my clients bank I was going to give him ftp access to the server that I built his site on so that he could download everything. However, immediately after sending him an email with the ftp information, I see an email from him stating that he had put a stop payment on the check. I immediately went back into my control panel and deleted the ftp account that I created and changed the name of the folder that his site was in.
I have since sent him an email stating that we would like to resolve any issue or concern he has regarding his website. That his website is completed and we would like to see him have the copyright to it. I also informed him that I will be sending him a final invoice along with a copy of the canceled check once I receive the check back from the bank.
What I would like to hear opinions on is… now that he has stopped payment on his check and has not tried to resolve any matter with us, I feel that I must invoice him for everything that I created even though half of it was created on a verbal agreement. I need to be sure I cover myself in the event that he or I decide to pursue court action. The original contract was for $4,000.00-$4,250.00. I gave him an acceptance discount of -$1,000.00-$1,250.00 bringing the contract price down to a flat $3,000.00. I’ve been paid $2,250.00. If I were to send him an invoice for all the work he approved in the site finalization the total would be over $8K. (I know… I’m an idiot for doing all this work).
What would you do?