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Client flaked without paying... what now?

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2008, 11:36 PM
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sidhebeauty sidhebeauty is offline
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Client flaked without paying... what now?

I had a bad feeling about this client, but ignored it. That'll teach me to listen to my instincts next time.

I was approached for corrections on a series of photos. The client requested lighting correction for dark photos and some slimming around the mid-section. It took forever to get the images because she emailed them at the wrong file size several times. When I finally got them, I sent her an estimate which she agreed to. I then did the work and sent proofs. She just emailed me to say she had something different in mind and would find someone else. She never got the full-sized photos, but I am still out the time.
<rant>
I followed her instructions exactly and if she had a further request I might have done it but it makes me mad that she would just blow me off. I know that the quality of my work is good. I have worked with some excellent fashion photographers and these photos were not really something I'd use in my portfolio. They were trashy crap and the only reason I agreed to the work is to make some extra money for the holidays.
</rant>


So my question now is ... do I send her an invoice for all/part of the agreed on amount or just forget it. And from here on, should I institute a cancellation fee-type policy?
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:40 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

unless you receive a purchase order from her, you won't have much of a legal leg to stand on...
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:32 AM
zganie zganie is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

Always get a deposit ,however small absolutely non negotiable no deposit no work

zganie
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:46 AM
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pixeltek pixeltek is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

I work on a per image basis and get paid 100% in advance...no exceptions...my clients know this and I've never had a problem.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:24 AM
Sinisa Sinisa is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

It's tricky to ask for all the money ahead because it's risky for the client too.
I normally do a free test for a new client and if there is a series of images to do, I first work on one image and send them jpegs. Once they are happy with the result we agree about the rest.

I also have my share of unpaid jobs in the past.
Can you reveal the name of the client?

Perhaps we should black list dodgy clients, start a forum or even a website which would expose unethical work relationships.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:34 AM
ktg222 ktg222 is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

Chalk it up to a lesson learned. You could charge 1/2 up front, 1/2 upon completion.

BTW & FYI be careful about starting a "black list" of dodgy clients. You could end up in a law suit.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:04 AM
Sinisa Sinisa is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

I'm negotiating a gigantic job for a big Italian client and they have no objection of paying 25% upfront. This is a huge five figure job and I'm not sure at what point should I request the 25% considering I still haven't signed the contract but did test for them and at the moment am in the process of discussing terms and conditions. Technically speaking, the job still isn't in my hands, still waiting to hear the final 'yes'.
So: 25% when they say 'the job is yours', when I sign the contract or when I actually start working on it?
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Old 12-22-2008, 02:00 PM
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EJAStudios EJAStudios is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

Sinisa,
25% as soon as both parties agree and sign the contract.
I do 1/3 up front (due at contract signing) 1/3 at draft/proofing phase, 1/3 upon final product delivery.
Make sure you negotiate and add to the contract how many changes they will get from you at the contracted price.
Give them a price for any changes that go over the set number of changes outlined in the contract.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:54 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

Sidhebeauty,
All good advise. A PO or signed contract is binding. Even if you're doing some smaller work for the holidays, a signed contract is best. You can have two versions of your contract, one for corporate clients and one for personal ones where the language is a bit more understandable yet still binding.

The other mistake could be working on multiple images just for show & tell. Work on one and as Sinisa said, send low quality watermarked jpegs for initial review of intent.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:00 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Client flaked without paying... what now?

No you invoice for it. But accurately, with times. Always make sure you get at least an email with the agreement to proceed.

"she emailed them at the wrong file size several times" - yes I've found this too, and I've yet to work out the psychology of this, its almost like a test of some sort, and not a good sign. Don't be afraid to say "If you are sure these are the final source, Ill go ahead…"

The Italians can be difficult a client in my experience, mainly because in retouching their work ethic, and to be honest some strange cultural rudeness which can be difficult to interpret. So in that particular case a payment up front is a good idea.

Sinisa is also right in saying that doing a small amount of work gratis at the beginning is pretty essential these days. This is because the industry has over the last 5 years become a lot more competitive, unfortunately with the huge increase of people trying to get in. Some clients have become quite smart in realising that they can play this situation, knowing when you are being 'played' thats the difficult part, it may be whats happened to you.

Last edited by Markzebra; 12-22-2008 at 09:08 PM.
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