Client taking advantage...advice needed

by Kina
28 replies
I have a situation that I'm hoping a few more experienced Warriors can advise me on:

I've taken on a new social media client who I initially quoted my normal rate. This client needed daily posts on Twitter and FB for his own client, told me he was in a bind and needed someone to start quickly and help him out or his client would leave him. But my fee was too high and he offered me a lower amount that he was willing to pay. Because I'm a nice person, and I felt bad for him, and I could see potential for more work coming from him in the future, I reluctantly agreed to the lower price. Once I agreed, however, he threw in 'since you are already going to be in FB please post a few things on my two personal FB accounts'. This client doesn't think it is necessary to pay more for these additional postings. Then on Christmas Day, emails to say he is concerned that the posts are not attracting enough 'likes/follows' etc and wants me to increase my efforts, and that if I did he had three more client accounts he'd like me to attend to.

Besides the fact that such social media activities do take time to see results, researching, writing and posting the posts, monitoring the sites and reaching out to attract more fans and followers in these three particular niches is taking more time than I initially estimated. I've politely mentioned to him that for $200 p/m he is getting what he is paying for. The client does not like this and is reluctant to pay more until he is seeing increased results and is insistent that only posting to FB shouldn't really cost any extra. Now, I've only been working with this client for a short while and still haven't been paid a cent, even though I've sent him an invoice.

How can I politely raise my rate to actually compensate me for my time? I know now I shouldn't have agreed to such a low figure in the first place and won't make such a mistake again.
#advantageadvice #client #needed #taking
  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    Collect what you can and move on to another client with the lessons you learned.
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  • Profile picture of the author dadamson
    It's simple.

    If he wants you to increase your efforts he needs to increase his payments.

    If he does not understand that he will always be a nightmare client.

    You should gently remind him of the already cheap price he has paid and you will require more payment for the additional postings.

    Don't bend over backwards for your clients, imagine if your full-price clients knew you were giving this treatment to him!

    ~Dave
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelWinicki
      The problem was giving in at the beginning.

      You lost all leverage at that point- The good point is that you know it.

      You either have to draw a line in the sand and be prepared to abide by it or continue giving this client discounted services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Gordon
    Politely raise your rate? Hell no! I'd tell him to go f**k himself or pay more. As for the 'three more clients', I doubt that he'll actually has them. He's just taking pure advantage of the fact that he got you one measly client. Here's what I would do: tell him that the rate has been increased to the normal charge and that you he must pay to manage his two extra personal accounts. All this for $200/month, I wouldn't even bother working with a client like this. I understand the value of a client when you don't have a large business up, but you have to understand boundaries. I had a client like this when I was only making $5K/month on the internet and quoting him a larger price was the best thing I did. Obviously, first he told me it was a 'big mistake' and that he would 'stop using my service' but guess what? A month later he comes up at my door begging. This advice might not appeal to you, but it is just insight from my experience that I hope assists you in some form.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tricerra
    Demand payment. Give him 10 days to pay. NO more posting until paid. If not paid then move to the client you are posting for since it seems you were posting for someone else anyway you should have their information.

    Your client has not paid you so you are not stealing a client you are just searching for business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      How long have you been doing the work? 10 days - 30 days?
      How long ago did you send an invoice?

      What was the agreement concerning when payment would be made? In advance or at the end of the month?

      You need to stiffen your spine a bit. If an invoice is overdue - you stop working until it's paid. If the client wants to talk about more work - you point out there is an outstanding invoice to be paid.

      YOU decide what your time is worth and that's what you charge. If someone needs a lower price, you offer fewer services for that price. This client knows you will give in - becuase you did. By asking for more and more - he keeps you on the defensive because you are letting him do that.

      I don't work for middlemen - too much hassle. But I would never, under any circumstances, try to steal his client. Would do more harm to your reputation than it's worth.

      You don't need forum opinions from people that don't have all the facts - you need to have a serious business discussion with your client. You have to decide whether you over promised or if his expectations are too high.

      (But I'd get the money first).

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Kina
    Thank you everyone for the suggestions and advice. As time goes on I realize more and more how agreeing to such a low fee was extremely detrimental to my own personal work ethic and reputation. I allowed by kindness to get the better of me. I truly believed that I would be helping this client out. What irks me is that this client runs his own so-called social media marketing company and should therefore know what the approximate going rates are for social media. It has been almost a month since I started the work and the arrangement was to be paid once every two weeks. The first invoice hasn't been paid and the second one is due now too. I did lay it out quite clearly what I would cover for the fee that he wanted to pay and he agreed to it, but as time has gone on the client just adds more work and I have had enough. I will be telling this client that since he requires more services that my fee would be what my original quote was - and if he doesn't agree to that increase then I will end doing the work. I don't need negative clients, I have enough happy & positive clients to make up for one lost yucky client. I do need to set better boundaries and stiffen up – just as a few other Warriors pointed out. Thanks again!
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Connell
    Did you set out the payment terms? i.e. payment within 10 days of invoice etc.

    I would send another invoice (including your extras) and definately not supply any more work until the invoice is paid.

    By continuing to do work for this guy even though he hasn't paid you a cent, is just working for nothing!

    If he doesn't pay the FULL amount, cut your losses and move on - this client is taking advantage of your good nature.

    Regards

    Karen
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      You give him a bloomin' good slappin' Kina - put him in his place. You don't stand for any crap from any client. You're the boss. You're in charge.

      If any client starts nagging you or starts trying to renegotiate a better deal than the one already agreed, harsh though it may sound, sometimes you just need to fire them as clients instantly.

      Always go with your intuition. If something doesn't feel right for whatever reason, get rid of them instantly. They're not worth you wasting your time on.

      If his entire focus is driving down the price and wanting, nay demanding near instant results and putting on to you more pressure to deliver more and more services for which he still hasn't paid a single cent to you... just blow him off now before he causes you more grief.

      Clients do not value you when you give away your time and expertise for free or on no money down terms. Getting the client to at least pay a 50% deposit cements trust and lends more credibility to your own business.

      From how you've described this scenario, my gut feeling is telling me to tell you to just ditch this individual. They're probably going to be far more trouble than they're worth and there's plenty more fish in the sea.

      Best,


      Mark Andrews
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    • Profile picture of the author lerxtjr
      working with this client for a short while and still haven't been paid a cent
      This is THE biggest problem all of us service providers have in this crazy biz and it's even heightened by a sucky economy. One day you will finally come around and bite the bullet realizing that the only way to make this stuff work is to demand pre-payment and get past the money part so that you can focus on your assigned task.

      This invoicing and "10-days payment" and scope creep, and making demands is just so old school. You just look like you're desperate that way and leave yourself open to only getting paid, statistically, for 70% of your work if you're lucky.

      Demand pre-payment in full for everything you do and say it with confidence that if the client doesn't have the money right now, they can just save their friggin pennies every day for a few months and then prepay you to do the work then.

      You've got to be willing to turn away business and position your time as more valuable than doing collection calls! Decide now if this is a REAL business for you or just a hobby. If it's a hobby, that's fine. I don't think of you any less. But, if it's a real business for you, take charge and be in control of your client or they will OWN you! 16 years of experience talkin' there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Well, I did something very similar many years ago (in a different area.) Someone came highly recommended and his actions ended up costing me about $18K.

    You don't need that kind of a wake up call. You've gotten some good advice above. Just make sure you don't wait more than a minute or two to implement it!

    In reading your response, it sounds like you are on the right track now.

    Marvin
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I drive friends nuts because I often argue both sides of an issue - and that's true in this case. This is not the client's fault - you should know the going rate for the work you do. If he can get a cheaper price, it's good business for him. It's up to you to protect your fee schedule.

      You lowered your prices because you saw the potential of a lot of future work from this client. Now you want to raise your rates before the first invoice has been paid. It won't work.

      You need to communicate with this client. Give him a choice of Plan A which was the original agreement for services at $$$/month....and Plan B which includes the additional services he is requesting at $$$/month. List the services you will provide - and list them clearly.

      You need to add a provision that invoices will be paid within 3 business days of receipt. If he doesn't pay, stop working until payment is received. Don't threaten it - just do it. If he asks about it - calmly tell him you haven't been paid.

      kay
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    You set your price for the work. Don't be bullied into working for nothing. It's simple. If he requests more work, give him the bill. If he doesn't want to pay it, dump him.

    You should never have given in on your price to start with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Kina, you have some good analysis and advices here. Take a deep breath, read the thread again and take a decision. Personally I have a short leash for customers like that. One strike policy. My wife hates it, I reckon it has saved us from nightmares many, many times.

    As Mark said, plenty of fish in the sea.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Try to collect but don't waste a lot of energy on it. Learn the lesson and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    It's a lesson we've all learnt the hard way. It's hard learning to say no, or learning to sack a client and learning which ones raise alarm bells and are going to be trouble.

    Once you've learnt the lesson it actually feels good to stand up for yourself and say no.

    In this case, I agree with most of the previous posters. Send your bill and see if he pays. Then simply tell him that you gave him a low rate to help him out. Now that he is out of the bind he was in he is welcome to pay you at the full rate. If he declines, stop working for him and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author BackLinkiT
    One thing I have learnt is that there are some clients you simply cannot afford to act for. Some are too much trouble, some are just plain nasty. Spot them early and move on. There are plenty out there who are a pleasure to work with/for.

    Peter
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Here we have a fine example of:

    1) an unclear Up Front Contract

    and

    2) not qualifying the prospect for personality fit before accepting them as a client.

    Not to mention that you let your "client empathy" let him knock your price down. Don't empathize with clients! Serve their needs for a price.

    There are certain types of people who like to change things based on how they feel at a given moment. There are others who like to figure an arrangement out once and stick with it. With the first type, you have to be very clear about what your agreement is. Otherwise they will expand the scope of work, expect different or additional results from what you agreed on at the start, and generally make your life miserable.

    The responsibility for assessing personality fit and working out a strong Up Front Contract lies with YOU.

    In this case, you must sit down with this person and go over your agreement. You must be willing to walk away.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jon Patrick
      Originally Posted by Kina

      Once I agreed, however, he threw in 'since you are already going to be in FB please post a few things on my two personal FB accounts'. This client doesn't think it is necessary to pay more for these additional postings. Then on Christmas Day, emails to say he is concerned that the posts are not attracting enough 'likes/follows' etc and wants me to increase my efforts, and that if I did he had three more client accounts he'd like me to attend to.

      ... and is insistent that only posting to FB shouldn't really cost any extra.
      Yikes.

      I would politely tell him that nobody works for free and that extra work costs extra. I would also tell him that I would love to take on additional client accounts, but that I will need $___ (the actual amount that makes it worth my time) per client to make it work for me.

      Originally Posted by Kina

      How can I politely raise my rate to actually compensate me for my time? I know now I shouldn't have agreed to such a low figure in the first place and won't make such a mistake again.
      You could tell him that you agreed to a cut-rate price on the first client account because you wanted to establish a relationship with him - now that you have demonstrated your value, you need $___ per client to make this project a good use of your time.
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  • Profile picture of the author tamiro1992
    you dont want clients like that. get the money you deserve and move on you want long term trustworthy clients that pay what you deserve. get out and move on
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    It's a shame that there are peopl out there who want everything for hardly any money. It's almost as if they feel entitled because they are giving you a little bit of money.

    I've encountered this when I used to write 400 word articles a Fiverr gig. The Gig specifically stated that you would ONE article, no rewrites, unless it was a grammatical mistake on my part, then of course I'd fix it for free. I had one client who all of a sudden wanted two articles (the original and one rewritten). I told him the rewrite would be another Gig, and he blew his top and complained to Fiverr. Eventually he ended up with his money back and a free article. All I could really do was note this person and steer clear of him in the future.

    Here's a good one for you:

    I sell a lot of niche blog themes. I sold a package of 2 health blogs to an individual, and he just couldn't figure out the install (which was not very hard). He berated me for two days, even though I kept trying to help. Even made a video to show him how and posted it to YouTube for him.

    I don't mean to be rude, but this guy was just DUMB, and I didn't have the heart to tell him that he needs to give up because if after a year (which he claimed he had been marketing for), if he couldn't do this he was never going to get anywhere online.

    So, on the third day, I decided to cut ties and refunded him his money for the blog package (which was against my better judgement, since I KNEW it was user error).

    WELL, he responds with a list of transactions that he had bought from me in the past, and says he needs refunds for ALL of them! Some of them weren't even related to blogging! Some were REAL easy to install Adsense niche sites!

    I refunded two of the transactions which were the same type of blogs that he was too dumb to install. I told him I couold not refund the others. He came back and opened up Paypal disputes for 3 of them. Screw that! I fought them. I won all three...

    The moral: Some people are just ignorant morons. Cut ties and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author bretski
    "When Unicef gets into the internet marketing business then maybe you could work with them... until then, we're the people to see.."

    I agree with most of what is written above. There is no way that you can guarantee performance. You provide a service and it does take time to build rapport.

    I agree that you need to kick him to the curb but there are ways of doing that without coming off cocky.

    "I understand that you're not happy with the results that you are getting and I want you to be happy. How about we finish the month up (that's tomorrow) and you are free to do the work yourself or find someone else that CAN make you happy? Sound fair?"

    Happy New Year and here's to new beginnings! =))
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Can't tell you what to do but in a case as cut and dried as the one you have posted, I'd first ask him how seriously he expected me to take his requests for more service when he has two overdue invoices for payment of work already completed. Then I'd tell him there would be no more work until payment is taken care of. Remind him that you will need to spend your time working for clients who do pay their bills. Once the money landed and cleared the banks, I'd cut him loose real fast. This is a guy that you are going to fight non-payment issues with no matter what you do for him at whatever price.
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Can't tell you what to do but in a case as cut and dried as the one you have posted, I'd first ask him how seriously he expected me to take his requests for more service when he has two overdue invoices for payment of work already completed...
      Whooops! I missed that point! Dude owes you money? Two months worth?

      "Sorry... I can't afford to work for you anymore..."

      Get your money before doing anything, I agree. I know it's not ethical or anything that any of us would do but, you do have control over his social networking accounts.

      "It would be terribly tragic if something got posted by mistake to one of your account by accident. I do have clients that are porn stars..."

      Just kidding but get your money or fire him as a client altogether.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        I don't think there are two bills due.

        The OP said she's been working the job less than one month and has sent an invoice - that payment is every two weeks.

        Only one invoice outstanding that I saw - and she didn't say when that was sent.

        The client has been dangling "carrots" by promising more accounts. The only work you can count on is the work you are paid to do. I agree with others that I'd cut him loose - but I'd push for the payment first.

        kay

        (I'm saying "she" but I could be wrong. If so, sorry).
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  • Profile picture of the author agc
    Tell him that as you are doing his work at below market rates, you are only able to do his work around other more valuable clients. If he'd really requires full service, he will have to pay full rates.

    Or, don't tell him anything... just do the minimum and keep sending him bills (but this approach has reputation risk)

    Or, just tell him: I can no longer afford to work for you for $x/unit. I'd love to do x, y and z for you, but the price is $xx/unit. If you can't afford my rates, perhaps I can refer you to someone more in your price range. (then give him one contact to try.

    He'll either pay up or leave... either way, problem solved.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dailybread
    You seriously don't need this cr*p. Tell him, politely, no more work until invoice is paid. Then cut him loose. There are heaps of honourable clients to work for out there. This guy is just too much trouble. Let him go and move on.
    You know this already, I think. Just wanting some validation.
    Be nice, but be professional.
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