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Thread: Collecting money from "wildcard" type clients!

  1. #1
    Junior Member BigCrunch's Avatar
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    Collecting money from "wildcard" type clients!

    Hi there,

    First post on this site, bear with me
    I have a current client that I have just done a maintenance job for on his website (I also created it several months back). I told him that my maintenance fee is $40 an hour, and usually maintenance work would take anywhere up to 1 to 4 hours depending on how much work he needed done, he agreed. He gave me a list of work he wanted done, and I added a few others things such as plugin updates and SEO. Since we had a verbal agreement on the hourly rate, I went on and did the work for him. The work took about 4 hours which totals to $160, he called me a few days later and said that he would've preferred if I wrote him a quote on the maintenance work before I went ahead and did it, I apologized and said I would do that next time (even though we had a verbal agreement, and he should be able to estimate), he told me that he wouldn't have the money for me until a week from now, I was skeptical and frustrated, but said ok.

    Today he calls me and starts blowing up the phone about how he now feels "obligated" to pay the amount on the invoice without getting a quote before hand, and he keeps talking about how he isn't happy with the way I am doing business, even though I have given him the best work I can do on projects, while charging him lower that standard prices. He says he can only pay half, but I said $100 is the lowest (even though I shouldn't have gone that low), he agreed. Anyways...

    I got pretty frustrated because I felt that I was being totally undervalued as a lot of us are in this industry, my question is how do I deal with a situation like this and these particular clients? I feel like these situations can be avoided, but not sure what steps to take to do so. I am an intermediate Web Designer with little experience in freelancing, I haven't made any contracts or things like that, I just got by quotes and invoices. I personally don't want to deal with this particular client anymore, because it's too much unnecessary stress, but just not sure how to approach it from here on.

    Let me know what you think, thank you for reading!

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I hate to tell you this, but I have to side with the client for a couple of reasons:

    1) You didn't tell him how long you would need to work on things. It's not on him to estimate how long it will take you to do things, either...he doesn't know how quickly (or how slowly) you do things. That's on you. So the client's right...you should have at least ballparked it for him.

    You also compounded the problem by saying "1 to 4 hours". It's like when a home lists for $200,000 to $250,000 on the market. The owner wants $250,000, and the prospective buyer wants and expects to pay $200,000. Depends on which side of the fence you're sitting on.

    2) You "added SEO" in. You don't "add SEO" into a site if you're building it properly. SEO is something you work into a site from the beginning, since SEO is also about things such as site architecture, organization of content, copywriting, and understanding the target market. So that's something you should have already been taking care of yourself. It's not "install that Yoost SEO All in One Supercharged Magic Bullet to #1 Ranking for W*rdPr*ss" or whatever the name of the useless plugin is and sticking in meta tags...it's more holistic than that.

    You may feel stressed and undervalued, but the truth of the matter is that you brought it upon yourself. Here's what I'd suggest you do in future with the client, since you're at least partly responsible...figure out how long something will take you and quote the client clearly and upfront. Don't go over the quote. If you do the work for the client after the quote is agreed upon, even verbally, and the client starts to haggle then take what you can get from the client and cut the cord after that. If you find, however, that the client is reasonable and pays you what you two agreed to, then you'll have learned a pretty valuable lesson for $60.
    AlphaMare likes this.
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  4. #3
    Junior Member BigCrunch's Avatar
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    @TheGAME1264

    Awesome post first of all! Thank you for your guidance, that definitely helped clear some issues up.
    I knew that I was at fault here, and I guess something like this had to happen in order for me to step up my game and be more organized in the way I deal with clients.

    As far as the SEO goes, I already did basic SEO for the website, but he needed some more work done to better his websites rankings, so I decided I would add that to the list.

    Next time I will create a quote just like I've been doing with everything else so there isn't any confusion, I just thought for maintenance it wasn't necessary, I was definitely wrong

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Happens to all of us, dude. That's how we learn...we screw up.
    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.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)


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