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Thread: Uncooperative Clients

  1. #1
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    Uncooperative Clients

    Hi all,

    I'm curious to know how you all handle clients who aren't cooperative during the design phase. For example, I had a business owner contact me about 6 weeks ago. He'd heard of me by word of mouth and was interested in my website services. I sent over a quote and he signed it.

    Fast forward 6 weeks and the website has been built. I gave him the preview link and password at the end of week 4, and didn't receive a response. I can see he has logged in to the site twice with that preview link. I sent a follow up email verifying he had gained access. He replied and said "will call soon to discuss." I immediately sensed something wasn't right.

    We had spoken on multiple occasions throughout the process and he was always very quick to respond. (I even helped him out on some technical issues his office was experiencing.)

    Fast forward again to week 6 and I've still not heard from him. I'm frustrated, of course. Not so much because of his outstanding balance (that I can't justifiably bill him for if the website isn't approved), but I hate not knowing if he just didn't like the website I built and is either completely disinterested in moving forward, or if he is too afraid to tell me he doesn't like it.

    Do any of you have suggestions on how to move forward with this?

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Send him an email with dates/times you'd like to discuss to find out what's up. Sometimes people just get busy. It happens a lot, especially with businesses that are seasonal in nature.

    If he answers you back and at least gives you other dates/times, you know he's still on board. If not, send a second followup, and maybe a phone call. You don't really have enough to go on right now to be able to say "something's wrong".
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    Thanks for the advice! I sent a generic email yesterday letting him know I'm looking forward to discussing the website with him. I'll give him until tomorrow to reply. If I haven't heard anything from him by then, I'll give him a call.

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    Actually, I *would* bill - for at least half of the work done so far. Often a bill serves as a great prod for the client to get back to business. It's also a really good reason to set up your project that way: x% at Point A, etc. Yes, direct contact to set up a review is a great idea & you can do that too. But additionally, show respect for your own time & bill for it. Just my 2 cents.

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    Aubrey,

    Thanks for your advice. On larger projects I require 50% down, and 50% upon completion. On some projects I've required 50% down, 25% to receive the preview link, and then 25% upon completion/go-live. This particular client was sent to me by a close friend of mine, and I didn't feel I needed the 50% "security deposit".

    What's got me bothered, is that I'm not getting a response out of him at all. I've emailed and left messages. I dropped a letter in the mail today.

    Should he not respond, can I justifiably bill him for at least what I've put into it?

  7. #6
    Junior Member momtrck's Avatar
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    Did he sign a Contract? If so, I wouldn't hesitate to send an Invoice for work done to this point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by momtrck View Post
    Did he sign a Contract? If so, I wouldn't hesitate to send an Invoice for work done to this point.
    Technically, not a contract. There is email communication where he accepts the quote and approves the commencement of services. He also explicitly asked how long this process would take and I told him no more than 30 days.

    However, I did invoice him for a % of the total outstanding. He replied IMMEDIATELY with an "explanation" of why he hadn't gotten back with me (it was very weak reasoning) and also said there would be no problem for him to pay the invoice. .... Fast forward 7 days and no payment. IMAGINE THAT, right?

    I'm so far over this guy... when I complete his website, I'm sending a certified letter with the passwords and logins for his website and handing him the keys. I'm DONE with it. lol

  9. #8
    Junior Member momtrck's Avatar
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    Ahh, yes. Sometimes we have to just think of it as one more lesson in life's whacky plan for small business owners. I have learned that when I am approached by someone wanting me to update, take over, re-do their website because their previous website designer dropped them or is not returning calls that there is probably a REASON the former designer has moved on.
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    Right. I wish there were a system for us tech folks sort of like the system banks use to warn other banks of issues with potential clients. It's just aggravating. Needless to say, the person who referred this client to me is quite baffled at the whole situation also. Thanks for your input, though

    (And for the record, I always require a deposit and signed agreement... but this client was a personal friend of one of my good friends so I let that part slide. Lessons learned!!)
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  11. #10
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momtrck View Post
    Ahh, yes. Sometimes we have to just think of it as one more lesson in life's whacky plan for small business owners. I have learned that when I am approached by someone wanting me to update, take over, re-do their website because their previous website designer dropped them or is not returning calls that there is probably a REASON the former designer has moved on.
    This goes double if the person says things like, "I have been screwed over by my previous person and I don't have a lot left to spend." Or "I have had 3 previous designers/developers and none of them have done what they were supposed to." Or my personal favorite: "developers don't get the NEEDS of small business people!" (Hello, I'm independent. No one's smaller than I am.)
    momtrck likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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