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  • Question about client opting out suddenly

    Hi Everyone,

    I have just joined the forum and hope you may be able to help. I have started a freelancing business doing graphic design. I had a new client come with some work, she had a long list of things that needed to be done then slowly before she had committed to anything she pulled out of doing a couple of things due to personal reasons. Moving forward... I took a deposit down for a logo which was delivered to her and she was happy with. She had also put down a deposit for an E-book. After the logo was completed she decided to move onto business card design and a gift certificate. I took a deposit for both. I sent her an email with a proof for the business card to which she replied back with 'it wasn't quite what I was after' in which case she I said I would rework the design to meet with the new specs she had given me.

    In the same email she said not to bother about the E-book because it was too close to the workshop she was doing. So I offered her money back for that portion. All seemed ok, then a couple of days later I receive an email saying don't worry about the business card or the gift certificate, she will redesign it. This has really thrown me and I don't quite understand what has happened. Has anyone else had clients like this that just drop off? I'm not sure if it's something I have done or is this something that just happens from time to time?


  • #2
    Clients can be flakey for all kinds of reasons. Dealing with it is just part of the job.

    Flakiness, misunderstandings and dishonesty are a few reasons written contracts exist and should always be used. It sounds like you were smart enough to get deposits covering the work you've done so far, which is good. You even went the extra mile and offered a refund as a gesture of goodwill. It sounds like you're out the money you were counting on for doing the whole job, but it also sounds like you got paid for the work you actually did.

    Again, these things happen in business. There's no use in stressing about the reasons why. If it were me, I'd ask her because it might be useful information to know. What I wouldn't do is spend a whole lot of time worrying about it.
    Last edited by B; 06-27-2017, 01:45 PM.

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    • #3
      The only time this kind of thing irks me is when we clear a big hole in the schedule to do something that suddenly evaporates. It happens. Thankfully not that often.

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      • #4
        Comes down to money I guess. People hate paying for things sometimes, even if it is good work.

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        • #5
          Hi S_dough and welcome to GDF.

          We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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          • #6
            I guess it's just one of those that happens from time to time. I haven't been freelancing for long but to a have a something like this so soon after starting it has thrown me off. It never used to happen when I worked for somebody else. Thanks guys for your feedback it puts me at ease that it's simply a part of the job and brush it off.

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            • #7
              When you worked for someone else there was a buffer between you and the client. That buffer person may have had more experience at detecting the wheel kicker from the paying client. If you are going to freelance, you need to develop that 6th sense.

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              • #8
                Thanks Paint Driver, yes you need to wear a lot of hats in freelancing and learn about potential client intake. To update, I sent though what I had done up to date for the client as well as a refund for one portion of which we had never started and she opted out of...... and guess what, I received an email from her saying she loves the new designs and wants everything done again. Can't pick it. A part of me wants to say no because I can see this being a relationship that could have problems (as it already has), yet it a style of work which I would like to have in my portfolio plus the money. So very torn.

                what would you do?

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                • #9
                  If you feel it is worth pursuing, try taking charge of the situation rather than being the hands that run the keyboard. Look over what the client wants, then draw up a map of what direction to go, make up a schedule, and keep on the client to stick to it. It doesn't always work out, but some clients do need the impetus of fixed goals with deadlines. If tangents appear, all well and good, but keep everything on track and in perspective. That is part of the job of a customer service rep. As you said, lots of hats.
                  Good luck.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                    ...try taking charge of the situation...
                    Yes. More often than not, what looks like a flaky client is really just someone who has weak management or leadership skills. The most durable relationships I have as a freelancer began with my taking full control of process, as though it's the only correct way to proceed. It's natural to extend an accommodating hand when you want to make a new client comfortable with you, but in the long run, it's more effective when they immediately see you as someone who already has all the T's crossed, and is considering and covering all the angles they could have missed. If you competently play the role of expert consultant right from day one, that's exactly what you'll become in their eyes, and they'll defer to your judgement before trusting their own. You also rightly earn more money this way.

                    I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you, all very good points. Yes, my personality type is fairly laid back and even implementing things such as contracts and deposits has been out of character. To take the lead is very unnatural to me, but I can see how important this will need to be. I did entertain the idea of taking the job on with a set of conditions (without coming off as a bully) to help the client / designer process run more smoothly. I did need more guidance from her and when I have asked for direction the answers have been very vague, I can now see I will need to be more assertive about finding out exactly what she is after. After all, this saves time and money on both ends, it's just effective work. Thanks guys, really good to hear your comments

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