I’m always surprised at the reactions I get from clients when I turn down their jobs.
This past week, I was contacted by a prospective client to design a relatively simple 12-page booklet on a small budget. During our first telephone conversation, he asked me if I could work up some ideas for consideration before we signed a contract. (That was the first red flag.) I told him no and that I didn’t start work until a contract was signed.
He followed that up today with an email asking if they’d still need to pay me if his board of directors didn’t like my ideas. (The second red flag.) I wrote back saying that I always did my best work but that I still needed to be paid, even if they didn’t like my work.
He wrote back saying he needed more proof that I could do the work in the style he had in mind (Third red flag). I pointed him back to my portfolio, saying this was the quality of work he would get, but that I could work in most any style that was best suited for the job.
He responded by saying his board of directors wouldn’t sign a contract before seeing the work I would do for them. (Fourth and final red flag)
My wasted time on this small job was adding up. I wrote back politely removing myself from consideration and thanking him for contacting me.
His next message said he was shocked and disturbed that I would turn down work and that I was being foolish, unprofessional and insulting toward him. He went on to say that nobody would buy something without first seeing the work.
Yeah, okay, whatever. I considered writing back asking if he only paid for meals at restaurants when the food matched his personal tastes or demanded his money back when he didn’t care for a movie. I finally decided there was no point in responding.