Freelance verbal agreement

So I have a verbal agreement with a client I freelanced with, stating roughly that his payment for my design services is I would receive 10% on each sale of a low volume product I helped design. I realize this is probably not the best way to do business, it was basically my first freelance gig & I was naive… Well fast forward to now, the client has had issues with the manufacturer basically screwing him over, and the project is now dead. What’s the best way to handle getting payment for the work I did? Or did I also get screwed here?

The simple math is $0 in sales * 10% is $0 in royalties.

I’m a flat fee guy, but there are plenty of folks who work the royalty angle. But many times in the royality angle, there is an agreement if the project is killed after a certain amount of time, you get some sort of one-time payment.

You got screwed.

Without a contract, you are entitled to nothing. And based on your agreement, even if you were to take him to court to enforce your verbal agreement, 10% of nothing is still nothing.

Always have a contract and consider this a lesson learned. I got sued by a deadbeat client and the contract was the only thing that saved me.

You can’t go back in time and change the terms. Even if this was in writing as a signed contract (which it always should be) according to the terms you stated you would be entitled to nothing.

Thing one) hire a lawyer to write up a standard contract that you can easily modify terms on.

Thing two) when doing a royalty agreement, make sure you get what you need out of it (IE, if you don’t really need the money, make sure you get the rights to show the work, make sure the royalties have a guaranteed minimum for year one, or a design fee to cover your butt and at least get something, or a design fee in the form of an advance on royalties that serves as a minimum.)

Thing three) always have a paper trail. Email trains, signed documents, all that stuff is necessary if you want to have any real legal recourse.

Thing four) don’t be afraid to be annoying. Call him up and try to get some compensation. The worst he can say he screw off and you are no worse off than you are now. Likely he will say “I let more than you” yada yada yada, at which point I’d tell him since there is no agreement, you technically own the IP and you will be making the work public… something like that.

Don’t go there girl!