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  • 1 Post By gyverbabe

Thread: Difficult client

  1. #1
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    Angry Difficult client

    New client needs a site for a charity event they are hosting in 2 months. I was told last week that it "had" to be up by Friday, so I went with what they told me they wanted (color scheme, content). Once I present it, I get the "no, I hate it, it's all wrong, this is what I want (different colors, formatting, etc...)". After making it clear (I thought) that if they want it up that fast, then let's get the content up and then we can change design. I finally get something going, and it's "great", "Beautiful", "wonderful". THEN, I get from them "I showed it to so and so, and they think it should look like this". (By this time, I'm banging my head against the wall). Decided not to make any changes yet, it was Saturday afternoon and I don't work on Sundays and don't start on Mondays until afternoon. Today I get an email, the "powers that be" (the charity and some of the sponsors) say the site HAS to be up by tomorrow so they can start selling the sponsorship packages. I emailed back and told her that I am not working on it until tomorrow afternoon, and since I don't have the merchant information in order to setup the e-commerce plugin, I cannot guarantee that it will be up by tomorrow.
    How do you all handle difficult clients? Do you "fire" them? What would you suggest? I have many other clients that I maintain sites for and with tomorrow being the 1st, I have to make changes to their sites, too.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Here's the brutal reality of your situation: you're screwed no matter what you do.

    If you drop the client, you'll probably get an earful and a guilt trip since this is a "charity" event. The Poor Starving Children Of Lower Horriblania Need This Website To Get Them Lots Of Money And No Real Help But Shut Up And Don't Question It. You also quite possibly don't get paid or you have to fight them like they're the final boss in a side-scrolling video game just to get a portion of what you charged.

    If you keep the client, you're even more screwed. If they have a charity event in two months and the site isn't finished as of last Friday...and chances are you probably weren't given more than a week to work on it...the site will be of next to no real help to the charity. Why? It needs to be promoted! You build the site and it's launched and you've got now less than two months to get it promoted, get attention, find people to attend the event, and basically make the event succeed. Keep in mind that they haven't sold the sponsorship packages as of yet, either. Sponsorships don't sell for an event that launches in two months. That's not enough time and, along with other signs, indicates a severe lack of organization on the part of the charity. You also likely won't have much of a promotion budget for say Adwords or anything since charities generally operate with "a limited budget" (translation: we want to buy Cadillacs for the cost of the steering wheel).

    Basically, the event is destined to fail. It cannot succeed. A good event needs to be planned, other than the sponsors/exhibitors/attendees themselves, at least six months in advance and ideally 9-12. And if you're involved as the webmaster/webmistress when everything goes to the seventh layer of Hell, guess who gets blamed? "The site didn't have X." "It wasn't optimized for search engines." "You didn't promote it right." "You Cost The Poor Starving Children Of Lower Horriblania With Your Negligence."

    So how do you solve this? Run. Run screaming. Tell them you're done. Take the earful. Depending on if it's worth it to you to do so, take a non-payment as a lesson learned. But RUN.
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  4. #3
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    Point well taken. I was give less than 24 hours to get it up by last Friday (met with them Thurs afternoon), and even told them then that it wouldn't be completely done. They've been "working" on this event for a month. They now want it done by tomorrow and I told them today it won't be done by tomorrow. The sponsorship packages will be up and that's it.

    Now, (as of an hour ago), they are trying to smooth things over with me and tell me that it doesn't all have to be up, just the basic information by Tuesday afternoon. These are "Hollywood" people who have no clue what is normal and expect that if they snap their fingers, I'll jump. I don't jump.

    I'll take my off time today, my church volunteering tomorrow, then call them. I have enough clients that pay me much better and don't give me the headaches that this one does.



    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    Here's the brutal reality of your situation: you're screwed no matter what you do.

    If you drop the client, you'll probably get an earful and a guilt trip since this is a "charity" event. The Poor Starving Children Of Lower Horriblania Need This Website To Get Them Lots Of Money And No Real Help But Shut Up And Don't Question It. You also quite possibly don't get paid or you have to fight them like they're the final boss in a side-scrolling video game just to get a portion of what you charged.

    If you keep the client, you're even more screwed. If they have a charity event in two months and the site isn't finished as of last Friday...and chances are you probably weren't given more than a week to work on it...the site will be of next to no real help to the charity. Why? It needs to be promoted! You build the site and it's launched and you've got now less than two months to get it promoted, get attention, find people to attend the event, and basically make the event succeed. Keep in mind that they haven't sold the sponsorship packages as of yet, either. Sponsorships don't sell for an event that launches in two months. That's not enough time and, along with other signs, indicates a severe lack of organization on the part of the charity. You also likely won't have much of a promotion budget for say Adwords or anything since charities generally operate with "a limited budget" (translation: we want to buy Cadillacs for the cost of the steering wheel).

    Basically, the event is destined to fail. It cannot succeed. A good event needs to be planned, other than the sponsors/exhibitors/attendees themselves, at least six months in advance and ideally 9-12. And if you're involved as the webmaster/webmistress when everything goes to the seventh layer of Hell, guess who gets blamed? "The site didn't have X." "It wasn't optimized for search engines." "You didn't promote it right." "You Cost The Poor Starving Children Of Lower Horriblania With Your Negligence."

    So how do you solve this? Run. Run screaming. Tell them you're done. Take the earful. Depending on if it's worth it to you to do so, take a non-payment as a lesson learned. But RUN.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.

  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Finish it get to where "this project is done". I guess if it's possible.

    No longer accept any jobs from them. Tell them you're booked for the Summer.


  6. #5
    Senior Member Fireproofgfx's Avatar
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    I always design a layout from scratch in Photoshop and then I send the client the design for an approval to move onto the next step of coding it. That way if they don't like the colors or whatever we can catch it before I begin coding it. I had a client that I did this and he approved the design and so I coded the whole website, then he saw a completely different website (it was a Flash Website) that he wanted me to emulate, so I told him sure, but he knew he needed to pay me for building two websites even though he never used the first. Time is money.

    I have also dealt with people who are friends or associates of the clients that give them ill advice, based on something they like or dislike, when they have no knowledge or understanding of graphics or web design and the reasons certain things are the way they are. I just tell the client nicely, "you are paying me to do this for a reason, I think I know what I am doing"

    Being that they are "charity" are they paying you ok? Are they paying you extra to rush the site? If not they need to bear with you.

  7. #6
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    I used to have the same problems. I made a couple of subtle changes to the way in which i invoice and carry out my web projects.
    1) I draw everything as a visual first, if they want changes its not a problem, its so much quicker and easier to make them in photoshop than to hard code any changes. I make sure the client is aware that the design should be finalised visually before we build it.
    Ever since ive made this clear, the problem your facing doesnt persist. If it does, they know theyll be charged for additional site changes. ( a couple of minor amends on go live is fine and predicted)
    2) I charge a deposit (at least 25%) of the site once the visual has been signed off with the rest remaining in order to go live. I find the client is eager to get the content across to me, and the site finalised seeying as they have already made a 'hefty' payment. It tends to save the messing around, waiting around and the general bull we usually get between breif to go live.


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