ME. I am so pissed off at myself because I did the most ridiculous thing any unexperienced designer could ever do…I took a freelance job without a contract. To make a long story short, I did a couple of 3D renderings, submitted them to the “client”, and now I find myself calling them constantly without getting ANY responses…somebody, please shoot me.
Don’t beat yourself up on this one too much.
Chances are your client is a deadbeat with, or without, the piece of paper. All a contract will do is prove to a judge (if you go that far) that your client really agreed to employ you. Even if a court (usually small claims court) ordered the defendant to pay, it is still up to the plaintiff to collect … and you can spend HOURS on the phone trying to do that too… Harassing debtors (which includes hovering around your client’s frontdoor, overloading his switchboard with calls, etc.) is itself illegal in most states. And watch your tongue too… ya never know who da bum is hooked up to. Slanterous statements can reverse the legal process and it might be you explainng to ‘his honor’ what you really meant to say.
You’ve learned a lesson, move on. But get a contract the next time. It shows that you are serious about their project and quantifies a lot of details (besides the remittance), delivery dates, change orders, who is authorized to change the scope of the project, etc.
Betcha didn’t even get a downpayment before you started the work either… did you ask for one?
If they won’t give you a down, don’t work for them… they aren’t serious about their end of the commitment to YOU. If it is a large, drawnout, project arrange to be paid periodically, or by milestones. If the scope of the project changes significantly once it is underway, request that more money be deposited on the work, a retainer. Lawyers do it all the time.
live and learn.
Get 50 percent upfront next time. Sure its nice to think that a handshake is still worth something, but at the end of the day, you can’t keep working for free. There should be a site warning of the deadbeat clients. I can name a few.
I recommend having a list of such “clients” so that other designers can be made aware. So… what was the clients name?
I too have fallen for this.
Its not so much the fact that you didn’t get paid, but the insult of the party involved in F*#*ing you over.
The feeling is like having your car stolen. You have your ideas literally stollen from you.
Contract is the way forward. You won’t ever fall for it again…
Yeah…seems to be something that about everyone learns from experience. No matter how new & inexperienced you are, don’t accept jobs without a contract & up-front payment. Chances are they already know you’ll produce quality work, so there’s nothing for you to prove.
The worst part is that clients who refuse to pay 1/2 first or refuse to sign an agreement until afterwards…it seems that in the end most of them end the relationship with a huge insult.
I learned a lot from my experience related to this, and in retrospect nothing would have turned out properly no matter what angle you approach the issue from, so I’m glad I got the experience to learn from.
Does anyone watermark their work? $ = removal. Use paypal. Not that watermarks are that tough to digitally remove, however it can be a real pain, and time consuming.