Hey, looking for some advice. I have a nightmare client...as you may have guessed from the title. She argues about rates, never gives a fair rate and so far has always contacted me about jobs when I'm super desperate for cash so although after the first time I worked for her I vowed to not do it again, the next time she caught me at a point where I couldn't even buy food because work had dried up so much that I took on her job even though she was yet again arguing with me over the rates. I usually am able to get her to go up a bit from her expected budget, but it's not even close to fair or sustainable for me. It's almost not even worth the rate when I completely strip down all the services she gets and I tell her she's going to get minimal features/services with the jobs at the rate she's giving but because she has no idea what she's doing I always end up doing way more work than I originally thought I would have to do. I'll send her files and two to four weeks later she'll decide the color is off or she wants something adjusted or she'll complain that something on one of the images is not uniform with the others which is because she refuses to hire a professional photographer and takes her own product shots with her shitty point and shoot camera in really low and really mixed lighting. Tells me she said to do things she never did (most recently told me she was missing shots from a certain angle of her product and I had to tell her 3 times before she admitted that she never sent me those shots because she didn't want to pay for me to work on them). I could go on and on and on. I realize I never should have started working with her in the first place, the negotiating leading up to the first job was a big flashing warning sign screaming, "DON'T DO IT!"
Anyway, the point I'm at right now, I've sent her the final images for the last job I did at least a few weeks ago. That job got dragged out over a month (should have been a couple days) because she would take weeks to get back to me on approvals and then because of the aforementioned crappy photography the color was nowhere near close to what it should have been so she had to drop off the bags so I could correct by eye and then she kept telling me the color was off even though I'm sure it was just that she doesn't know what she's talking about/her screen is probably way off, I color correct product all day every day and I'm right on every time. So I've sent her the files, she hasn't gotten back to me to say she got the files off my server, or whether or not she needs further adjustments, nothing.
I'm thinking I should just send her an invoice, although I have no idea if she'll actually pay it or if she'll argue with me over it or ignore it. The next time she contacts me to do another job I definitely want to decline but I have no idea what to tell her or how to do it tactfully. I'm totally not used to dealing with people like this. My normal jobs involve working with professional photographers with professional clients and/or magazines, not directly with amateur-ish, cheap designers who have no idea what this kind of service costs and can't acknowledge that I too am running a business and have other costs besides just my time spent working on the images. Can anyone suggest a way to tell her I will no longer be working with her and whether I should give her pdf files so she can just hand them off to another retoucher? And what I should do should she decide to ignore/not pay the invoice this time around? I don't know that with court fees it would even be worth the somewhat measly amount to take her to small claims.