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Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

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  • Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

    I am in an uncomfortable situation with a client right now and I am trying to decide the best way to proceed without burning any bridges or creating a bad reputation for myself.

    This is a new client and it is my first job with this person. I gave the client my editorial rate, which is significantly lower than my commercial rate and is also a flat per image rate instead of hourly (this has never been a problem with my other clients). The "deadline" I was given was 2 weeks from when I received the images (there are 5). It has now been over 6 weeks and this person is still sending me marks for more revisions. On top of the fact that I have now worked longer on these 5 images than on any job I have done in my 9 years of retouching, I am now realizing the client was not honest with me on what the images are for. At this point I suspect this may be a paid job for this person.

    I wanted to make a good impression because it is a fairly high profile client that I thought would lead to many higher paying jobs. All it seems to have done is eaten up my time and patience. My work from my other clients (whom I have great relationships with and I am very much proud of the work I do with them) is backing up. I feel like I am letting down my loyal clients by not being available.

    Also, as someone that takes pride in my work, I don't even like the over-worked Franken-images that have resulted from this. It is not the quality of work that I would even want in my portfolio.

    In short I now realize I am not a good fit for this client and, after I finish this last round of revisions, would like to graciously tell them that if they need any more done to them they will have to find someone else. Is this totally out of line? I have never left a job unfinished, but I feel like I am trapped in some kind of nightmare job that never ends!

    Has anyone had a similar issue? How did you handle it? Am I making a mistake by backing off this job? Just to make myself laugh/cry I tried to roughly estimate what I have made per hour on this job based on the rate and approx. time spent, it works out to less than $1.50 an hour.....awesome!

  • #2
    Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

    The client may be one who is unreasonable or perhaps not, but it sounds like there is a lack of limits and communication. Even when you offer a flat rate, you need to define what can reasonably be expected for that rate. The client should be required to describe everything it would like done to the image. If you deliver what is asked for but the client is not satisfied with your result, that is one issue. However, if you have delivered what was asked of you and the client now wants more, you should explain that these are extras for which you need to charge. If the client has unreasonable expectations, then at some point you need to draw the line. As for future dealings, I never tell the customer to find someone else. However, next time they come back I set different limits. For example you set a rate and a delivery time and a scopr of work which will cause the client to decide to go elsewhere. He makes the choice as the customer. You don't get accused of being arrogant or unbusiness like. If you have one of those customers who is unreasonable or takes advantage of people or has in head in a different reality, you are unlikely to convince him that he is at fault. Often the only things that unreasonable / unrealistic people understand or rationally deal with are detail and limits.
    Regards, Murray


    • #3
      Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

      Originally posted by mashell View Post
      Has anyone had a similar issue?
      quote me:

      "Everything not included in the original brief will be charged by the hour"

      If you make that clear BEFORE the retouching begins when they get the images they are always happy with them!



      • #4
        Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

        thank you, that is very helpful! instead of saying I will no longer work on the job I will just tell this client I will need to charge more for further revisions since we have gone so far past the initial deadline and far outside of what was given to me as the job description. it will look better than simply throwing up my hands and saying "i'm done."

        I have never had an issue like this so I have never defined the parameters of a job before starting. I guess it is a learning experience for me!


        • #5
          Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

          I got a client the past year who asked me for a retouch, then asked me for cropping the images, then for adding a logo, then for I don't know what's more and I told him that he was exaggerating. I told him that cropping the images was fine, adding the logo was fine, but doing the third thing he asked me was too much and plused (summed) to cropping and adding a logo makes a big difference from the main job, which was retouching, so I asked him to pay for that and he understood and he felt guilty.

          Why yoy didn't talk about the limitations with your client?

          Btw, there are lot of clients, cut off this one.


          • #6
            Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

            Godmother has the right answer! It's AMAZING how the client will fall in love with the work when, a) the last possible deadline has past, or b) further changes will cost them money!


            • #7
              Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

              I agree with both Murray and Godmother. There are always going to be clients that knowingly or not, work the system. Setting up the guidelines ahead of time will help alleviate that. In a way you can thank the client you have now for bringing this to the forefront so you can avoid it in the future.
              And you should never be worried about telling a client that there are extra charges that have incurred and the reasons for them.
              And there are always going to be times when you find you have created a frankenimage that just makes you cringe when looking at it. I have done enough of those myself. Just remember that you are giving the client what they asked for, and hopefully next time around or as the relationship builds you can start giving creative words of advise to steer them more towards a realistic result.



              • #8
                Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

                I have had many problems over the years with "the number of revisions"...
                or number of rounds....
                I think it proves difficult to specify what constitutes "a round" of retouching.
                Does cropping, or moving one element a nudge constitute a new round.

                Also, the client may argue that parts of a rounds or revision are down to the retoucher not getting the exact look they wanted.. Can be down to a subjective opinion on what was done.... They would prob. not want to pay extra to change something they feel is not what they asked for...

                e.g. "make it look brighter / lighter" which you do, then they come back with "great, nice, lovely... but not bright enough" ....! "can you make it brighter still?"
                Unless they are sitting on your shoulder, these things can be tricky to quantify.

                I think these days, clients are looking at budgets carefully, and sometimes you have to put in that extra last minute change or request included in the original budget.

                But your client does sound like they are taking the piss.

                I would like to know how many rounds of retouching is standard for say a major national ad campaign retouch? 8 rounds ? or more?
                Last year I got to round 14 on one image. But budget was $15k.



                • #9
                  Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

                  Digital grb 8, nailed.

                  I think it's more about making your client consciouss about the revisions you already did. It's all about common sense and communication.

                  My 2 latest client asked me for some revisions, but he paid me for that without me having to ask for that. You see, these latest clients have common sense. If you find yours have not common sense, eben if you talk with them, then cut it off, there are many more clients needing your services. At the end, you don't need them, they need you.


                  • #10
                    Re: Has anyone ever cut off a client on revisions?

                    I'm glad I checked the forum today and I'm glad this was posted because I faced this same exact issue today. I don't normally like working on a flat estimate, but since I'm trying to pick up extra clients to do work from home I have to start working that way (as opposed to hourly in a client's studio where they can see that I'm not wasting their money or time). I made a few mistakes with this last job. Working with an offer that was about one third of my original estimate and not clearly stating/listing what I was willing/able to do in order to stay within their budget, instead I had sent them the outline of the job details with my initial estimate and when the low balled me on that I debated whether or not I should take it, on one hand I know you're not supposed to for all the reasons you're not supposed to, on the other hand I'm desperate for work. I ended up doing the same amount of work that the original estimate was for and I'm getting paid for 1/3 of it, so basically making minimum wage, maybe less on this job. Entirely frustrating, lesson learned, and I had to figure out how to politely let them know that if any further revisions were to be made I would have to charge additional fees for them.
                    I'm glad this is here though because I could have used some advice when it was happening, but aside from learning from the mistakes that got me in that mess in the first place, I have more advice on how to get out of it and stay out of it.


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