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  1. #1
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    How to fire a Client

    I have been working on this freelance illustration job forever, for way too little money. I accepted it for my resume, but I didn't expect it to go on for this long.
    The client continuously has me make changes and add new things, and at this point I'm working for about .25/hour.
    I just sent him a finished product, and he sent me further revisions, including things that he should have mentioned in the mockup stage. Things that would require complete re-drawing and re-vectoring.
    He wants me to add a gate, and draw the gate in different positions (IE: Animating the gate)
    I am pretty furious, I don't know what to do.
    The camel's back has been broken.
    Should I fire him? Can you fire a client? How do you fire a client? Should I just tough it out? I am really at a loss.

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  3. #2
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    Did you make use of a contract and left a paper trail as the project went along?
    If so, did this contract include anything mentioning payment for having to do extra work?
    If you haven't done that, I suppose you could still say that his demands weren't in the original brief and agreement you and your client made before the project started, and you want to get paid for the extra work. And if he refuses to, the agreement is over.

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  4. #3
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    I'm not there but I have been such situations.

    It sucks when you are the type of person who want's to satisfy the client and do your best to fit their needs and find it hard to say no but the bottom line is that the client cannot be ignorant about themselves.

    You have to make it clear that they have to come to a resolution, you made a mistake not to explain this before you provided your services but the amount of work you are putting in are not being paid for. They have to decide what they want or start paying alteration fees.

    Maybe a quotation could be desighned and discussed beforehand that you will be charging for for both conception and labour. If the client undermines your creative imput entirely they have to pay for your labour or do it themselves.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dublah View Post
    at this point I'm working for about .25/hour.
    Do you mean 25 cents an hour. If that's the case tell him you're losing money and you need to quit. Bottom line don't let a client change the scope of a project on you. That's a mistake I've learned from. You may not even get a good job reference at the end of the day.

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  6. #5
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    Normally you should put together a contract with a price for thumbnails,a sketch (or 2,3), final and 1 or 2 revisions (beeing small/medium adjustments to the final).
    If he wants additional revisions he has to re-negotiate the price.

    Normally standard prices for sketches, final pieces, revisions should be available online to calculate a total.
    If you think these prices are to high to start with or to be competitive give him a reduction. If clients complain too much about money just refer to those standard prices.

    If you don't have a contract just tell him you can't do that amount of work for the prices he's paying atm. He can negotiate a new price or you have to terminate the cooperation.

    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."
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  7. #6
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    Ok I recommend being straight with the client at this point - let him know the project has continued way beyond what you originally quoted for / accepted budget for. You could quote for the extra revisions that were really above and beyond but most importantly you need to stop, explain and plan how to go about completing this so you can get on with life.

    Seems to me there is not enough communication of what exactly is wanted. Usually if a client starts wanting change after change - I call a halt to finalising anything and ask them to really work out what they want. If they're still struggling to decide I see if I can help them work that out via a discussion or two.

    Also if at any point the client has confirmed to you that they would like the final version then technically they have confirmed the job is completed - there is still a small bit of leeway for minor revisions but nothing that requires redrawing.

    At the end of the day most artists have been through this situation - learn from it and let them know at the start of commissions what the fee covers. And always get the client to give you a really good idea of what they're after.

    All the best!

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  9. #7
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    hey man,

    I suggest to read up on your rights as a commercial artist/ illustrator. It has helped me tons and gave security when working with clients. Furthermore, it makes the business aspect sooo much more relaxing
    the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook is a Standart in the Industry, definitely get one.
    Also, many clients don´t mean to harm the Illustrator, they just don´t know better. It is your job to "educate the client", a phrase that is much discussed on blogs about illustration. Check Escape to Illustration Island to get access to great resources regarding this topic.

    hope you get everything straight :

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  11. #8
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    Explain that you've completed the project to scope and have already done many out-of-scope changes. Tell him you're going to bill him for the work you've completed. Inform him that when you receive payment you'll be willing to negotiate another contract for extra revisions. If what you say is the full story then there's no real option but to be firm with the client.

    You should really have a contract. Email exchanges are also binding, as indeed are verbal contracts, but are much harder to enforce. However, if the extra work is clearly way beyond scope then there is no need for a contract to be in place to demonstrate that these additional requests are unreasonable. Next time, though, have a contract.

    If the client doesn't agree to final payment then explain that the ownership and rights to the work remain with you, and that he cannot under any circumstances use the work or any derivative. You can still display it in your portfolio. Of course you won't get the money but if he's that much of a chancer you probably won't anyway.

    Edit: Bear in mind I'm going off your word here, that you're working for the equivalent of $SodAll an hour and the client keeps demanding huge changes for no extra charge. If the truth is not so clear-cut then you need to dilute this advice you get accordingly. Recently I had a client who asked for quite a few changes. He's a great guy but I found I needed to draw a line under the changes and told him that future changes would be extra, and explained the situation. He agreed and when I delivered the final he paid in full the next day. I wish all my clients were like that. The motto being, don't take drastic action unless you're sure you're being taken for a ride.

    Last edited by Baron Impossible; February 26th, 2010 at 10:01 AM.
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  13. #9
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    Deacent people don't need complex contracts to work out a honest deal, as long as you're not afraid to tell them how things are going to go, and they will decide. Extra work = extra money is not some alien concept.

    In your case you're dealing with a poop, not a serious client, so ditch him and learn to detect wastes of time in the first meeting you have with them. It's a damn shame you didn't charge him 50% before you even started on his shit.

    And no, fear not, he has no worthy connections, nothing that would spoil your non existant professional reputation. His word of mouth would only bring his whole goddamn familly to use you anyway. As far as resume, make what YOU want to make and put your friend/relative as the client.

    So yeah, i like the idea of firing him. Don't quit, litterally go up to him and tell him he can't be your client anymore. Go all Dragon's Den on that mofo and his project too so he doesn't waste anyone elses time.

    Last edited by Kraus; February 26th, 2010 at 05:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kraus View Post
    Deacent people don't need complex contracts to work out a honest deal, as long as you're not afraid to tell them how things are going to go, and they will decide. Extra work = extra money is not some alien concept.

    In your case you're dealing with a poop, not a serious client, so ditch him and learn to detect wastes of time in the first meeting you have with them. It's a damn shame you didn't charge him 50% before you even started on his shit.

    And no, fear not, he has no worthy connections, nothing that would spoil your non existant professional reputation. His word of mouth would only bring his whole goddamn familly to use you anyway. As far as resume, make what YOU want to make and put your friend/relative as the client.

    So yeah, i like the idea of firing him. Don't quit, litterally go up to him and tell him he can't be your client anymore. Go all Dragon's Den on that mofo and his project too so he doesn't waste anyone elses time.
    As eloquent as usual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kraus View Post
    Deacent people don't need complex contracts to work out a honest deal, as long as you're not afraid to tell them how things are going to go, and they will decide. Extra work = extra money is not some alien concept.

    In your case you're dealing with a poop, not a serious client, so ditch him and learn to detect wastes of time in the first meeting you have with them. It's a damn shame you didn't charge him 50% before you even started on his shit.

    And no, fear not, he has no worthy connections, nothing that would spoil your non existant professional reputation. His word of mouth would only bring his whole goddamn familly to use you anyway. As far as resume, make what YOU want to make and put your friend/relative as the client.

    So yeah, i like the idea of firing him. Don't quit, litterally go up to him and tell him he can't be your client anymore. Go all Dragon's Den on that mofo and his project too so he doesn't waste anyone elses time.

    What about self-respect?

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  16. #12
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    Self respect would require punching the 'client' in the mouth for a 0.25$ an hour insult. It's too late for that. He needs to cut his losses post-haste, otherwise he'll loose faith in freelancing.

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  17. #13
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    I do agree with Kraus, along with everyone else. Try and get your money and finish up as soon as possible (be polite, but to the point). Baron's advice is golden. I've worked a couple of jobs at very low rates in the past and it becomes soul destroying pretty quickly.

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