Hi there, I am new to this forum. I am facing a bit of a dilemma in regards to a client request. They have asked that I teach them how I built certain files for their photo archive since they have photoshop and want to do it themselves. Teaching them will obviously give them one more reason not to use my services in the future. But. It teaching them makes me feel like I am being difficult - even though this is literally what I do for a living and they are just dabbling. I am trying not to be offended that they have asked me to help them this way. I am trying to find the right words to reply back to them and I would appreciate any insight any of you have.

I don’t know what “built certain files for their photo archive means,” but if all they’re asking is how to tone and save a photo, that’s something they can easily learn themselves. If that’s all they’re asking, if it were me, I’d just show them. Learning to pound in a nail doesn’t make someone a carpenter.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding your dilemma.

Sorry I manipulated photos in Photoshop that the client uses in their marketing materials. Now they want to expand their photo archive using the same Photoshop techniques but they want me to teach them instead of having me do the work.

I have done this kind of thing in the past and charged an hourly rate for the instruction. I didn’t hear from the client again in most cases, but that’s no reason not to do it. If you refuse they will think you are being difficult and find a workaround.

Yes that is part of my dilemma. I also figured I could sell them the raw file with instructions of use instead of teaching them what I did. To offer a template in a way. I don’t want this client to leave feeling like it’s on bad terms even though their request is a conflict of interest

Give me a good reason why I want to cut my own throat.

Suggest Lynda.com, even recommend it.

… or, charge a tuition fee.

… or, if they are good clients, I’d even do it for free.

While I’ll answer quick technical questions and offer advice on materials, anything that takes more than a few minutes of billable time, is billable - unless it somehow falls under marketing. Teaching a client to do your work certainly doesn’t fall under marketing.

Tell the client that you don’t offer education or training services.

Thank you everyone for your help. I have rectified the situation with them. :blush:

What was your solution?

I informed them that their question was a conflict of interest and I don’t mind answering a question or two about software but to teach my techniques is another story. I went on to say that I didn’t want to be difficult and I understood they are my client, but I provide end use products normally not teach myself out of work.

I provided these 3 options since in the end i was uncomfortable teaching them exactly what I did to create their imagery so I figured I could offer the first solution as a template for what that they wanted to accomplish. But my end goal was for them to choose option 2 or 3.

  1. I can supply the raw photoshop file for $150 so you can use it to convert your new imagery and I will supply instructions for use

  2. I convert your images for you which may be less expensive

  3. You can compile imagery for conversion at a later date – when business is moving again.

In the end they didn’t choose any of them as this virus and oil & gas war has affected them and everyone negatively. Here was their reply…

“Thank you for your email. I must apologize, I did not intend for you to give away your content creation techniques for free. I was under the impression that it was just a simple process that the software does with the correct inputs. I completely understand your position, and withdraw my request”

So thank you to everyone who answered this post for providing your input. I knew this issue was an ethical one and just wanted to see if my peers felt the same way I did and if they would have approached it differently.

When I get answers like that I try to say in a nice way that writing a report is easy to. It’s just a few letters on a page.

Legally, look into the Intellectual Property case Kearns v Ford. Ford was arguing that the parts of the “blinking” mechanism for intermittent windshield wipers was just a collection of “simple processes” and standard parts and so could not hold a Patent. Ford lost because Kearns argument was “Shakespeare is just a series of standard letters, words and phrases everyone uses. But if you rearrange the letters, do you still have King Lear, Hamlet…?”

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