HELP! A client has me VERY angry.

by devonm
50 replies
I am doing a Wordpress setup and customization for them for 100 dollars. Here I thought it would be a few customizatrions and setup. Now she wants HUNDREDS of customizations. I am about to dump her and block her.


I am only afraid she will chargback the Paypal payment. Wat do I do?
#angry #client
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
    You have to tell your client upfront what's on the table and for how much. If you leave the door wide open you'll just get taken advantage of.

    Set rules straight off the bat. If you're already on the trenches than charge that client something modest even if you incur a lost.

    Always tell people upfront what is to be delivered.
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    • Profile picture of the author mrtreyk
      Originally Posted by Christiani View Post

      You have to tell your client upfront what's on the table and for how much. If you leave the door wide open you'll just get taken advantage of.

      Set rules straight off the bat. If you're already on the trenches than charge that client something modest even if you incur a lost.

      Always tell people upfront what is to be delivered.
      I agree! To take it one step further though you need decide what is fair to you and what is just too much at this point...Set an amount of changes you will make and inform your client of that amount and stick to it and explain it to them in as nice of way as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    It depends. What was promised, I have hired many a virtual worker where I stated until Im satisfied, I got my moneys worth. Did you leave yourself open. Did they hire you on a virtual worker site, do you have anything to fall back on.

    Look at the first communications and see what you can do if anything, if you left yourself open I would finish the project.
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  • Profile picture of the author devonm
    Lesson Learnt!
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    • Profile picture of the author benlydenver
      Originally Posted by devonm View Post

      Lesson Learnt!
      I know what you feel, your not alone.
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    • Profile picture of the author kimhopkins
      Originally Posted by devonm View Post

      Lesson Learnt!
      Im pretty sure everyone learns this lesson at some point.
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  • Profile picture of the author YourProfessional
    Don't block her.

    That's the worst thing you can do. Kindly send her an email, explaining that she paid $100 and that it is unreasonable to expect unlimited customizations.

    In future - take Christian's advice.

    And, if all else fails, FIRE the client. Give her the money back, put the website as it was, and ask her to find someone else to work with.

    Life is too short to work for nothing and unreasonable clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author LunarSky
      Originally Posted by YourProfessional View Post

      Don't block her.

      That's the worst thing you can do. Kindly send her an email, explaining that she paid $100 and that it is unreasonable to expect unlimited customizations.

      In future - take Christian's advice.

      And, if all else fails, FIRE the client. Give her the money back, put the website as it was, and ask her to find someone else to work with.

      Life is too short to work for nothing and unreasonable clients.
      you've got all the information you need to make an action right here
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author Claire Koch
        Big Mike to the rescue. Sometimes we struggle through when we make a mistake and chalk it up to a learning experience. The thing is he took action and got a client nobody seems to recognize this that is commendable all by itself.

        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        Let me say first, that I don't disagree with the intent of what you're saying here. In my experience, there are a number of circumstances under which a client deserves to be fired and I've certainly done so.

        I think that ethically however, it's a very bad idea to trot out the old, "Fire The Unreasonable Clients" solution as the first way to resolve the mistakes the business owner makes as is the case here with the OP.

        It's the main reason so many freelancers jump at the opportunity to get a project, realize they're in over their heads and then disappear altogether.

        As business owners, we're accountable to our clients to the extent of our agreements with them. Walking away from that accountability is not a solution and not a right the business owner has.

        It's not the client's fault the OP didn't work out the details and left the project somewhat opened-ended. The client paid in good faith and deserves to be treated with good faith.

        If I were in this situation (and I have been), then I would have made things right, rather than walk away. I would have tried to reach a compromise if possible, and resolve the situation professionally.

        The title of this thread, "HELP! A client has me VERY angry.", speaks for itself - there's only one person the OP should be angry with and it's not the client.

        There's a lot to be said for keeping promises and honoring commitments, especially in business online.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        I think that ethically however, it's a very bad idea to trot out the old, "Fire The Unreasonable Clients" solution as the first way to resolve the mistakes the business owner makes as is the case here with the OP.

        It's the main reason so many freelancers jump at the opportunity to get a project, realize they're in over their heads and then disappear altogether.

        As business owners, we're accountable to our clients to the extent of our agreements with them. Walking away from that accountability is not a solution and not a right the business owner has.

        It's not the client's fault the OP didn't work out the details and left the project somewhat opened-ended. The client paid in good faith and deserves to be treated with good faith.

        If I were in this situation (and I have been), then I would have made things right, rather than walk away. I would have tried to reach a compromise if possible, and resolve the situation professionally.

        The title of this thread, "HELP! A client has me VERY angry.", speaks for itself - there's only one person the OP should be angry with and it's not the client.

        There's a lot to be said for keeping promises and honoring commitments, especially in business online.

        This is true. I've only had to fire a small handful of clients, but they got to keep product or service that was done for free. I just needed to get free of a client who was an unreasonable time suck, but they got what they purchased at no cost.

        I just posted a project on Elance and since I'm not a programmer, I expect the programmer to know how much to bid and whether the job can even be done. So I chose the most qualified programmer. One month after the project is overdue, he cancels. No reason, no explanation ... so I'm left not knowing whether or not it is even possible. Fortunately, in Elance escrow, I got my money back. I wasn't as lucky with Scriptlance where the programmer demanded money up front out of escrow before he would begin. I lost the money on that one, and he did tell me that he underbid on the project and couldn't do it for the price ... but he kept my money.
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  • Profile picture of the author pandadoodle
    No offense if your charging $100 without even knowing what the job involves maybe you should no have taken that job on. Its all about basic client and business management
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by pandadoodle View Post

      No offense if your charging $100 without even knowing what the job involves maybe you should no have taken that job on. Its all about basic client and business management
      +1.

      But now it's time for OP to solve this issue professionally and try to do what's best for her and her client. In the end, if the door was open, it's NOT her client's fault.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

        +1.

        But now it's time for OP to solve this issue professionally and try to do what's best for her and her client. In the end, if the door was open, it's NOT her client's fault.
        This is true. A client will always get as much for their money as they can. Who wouldn't?
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        • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          This is true. A client will always get as much for their money as they can. Who wouldn't?
          Exactly. But I can understand OP's point of view. It's a low cost service, they agree on "some" customizations, and she thinks "we're all good".

          Well, at least hope they can solve it.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    Hey when you get done I have a project for you too, but I have to be totally satisfied first. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author slickymedia
    Originally Posted by devonm View Post

    I am doing a Wordpress setup and customization for them for 100 dollars. Here I thought it would be a few customizatrions and setup. Now she wants HUNDREDS of customizations. I am about to dump her and block her.


    I am only afraid she will chargback the Paypal payment. Wat do I do?
    If she is really welling to pay for that amount of work, you can find some warriors here who can also do the same work and hire him. You can pay him and let him/them help you do all the works.
    You can just cut through the budget so you also get more income.
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  • Profile picture of the author InnoSoft
    Its better to have clear rules of game before playing them From next time you can have clear rules. u have X work and Price will be $Y.. This way both will be under radar
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  • Profile picture of the author olalinks
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  • Profile picture of the author luvtrees
    Tell them that that amount of customizations is not included for the price you charged and the hours you set aside for the project, then give her a quote for the extra cost you will incur. Most people will be reasonable about it.

    The others are right, you should have been more clear as to what services or how many hours of work are included in your $100 cost. If you did not do this, you should be more willing to compromise and work with her till she is happy with what she gets for the cost.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndyBlackSEO
    As above, just take this as a lesson. Don't burn your bridges either. Just explain that you have done a lot of work already for the fee you have been paid. Allow a few more changes but on future jobs clearly outline what amount if work will be carried out for the set fee. Additional changes to be charged extra.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesrich1
    Ask for what the project is worth. If its $300 worth advise the client that you will do what $100 is worth and if she wants extra customizations they will have to pay additional money. Give them your paypal payment address and wait for answer. Send them a nice message explaining your worth and that you are happy to do it for X price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jashandeepmax
    You should discuss with your client and be always frank with the client.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eduard Stinga
    From what I see here, I don't think asking for extra $ would be the best solution here. It seems to be that your client found an "open door" and now is trying to get AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE out of it, while being aware they got a lower price than the job's worth.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claire Koch
      Give her what she wants just estimate how much time it will take you and let her know thats about all you can do for the $100 send her updates about how much you've got done and and whatever you do get a testimonial from her. You're a smart guy just make sure its more spelled out next time. You could have figured it out yourself. Just remember you make the customer happy you make the customer happy you make the customer happy and you get better as you go along. We've all been here even the ones giving you a ribbing. Smile you're doing fine. Tell her you'll be glad if she recommends you to a few people. Its a strategy to remember if you do anything for anybody at a discount.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Well, when you work for a client, you should never "think" she'll want a few customizations. You should have it written down exactly what you will do and how much it will cost and the cost of any additional work. If this client doesn't want to pay for additional work, I would lose her, but refund her. You don't really get to keep the money if you don't have an agreement or contract on what you have done. She would most likely file a Paypal dispute.
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  • Profile picture of the author Yulia from DNP
    Agree with the nice approach of, "unreasonable to expect unlimited customizations"
    And you can just explain that this is not so acceptable in the market and if she wants more customizations made she will be have to pay for additional customizations.
    Otherwise if she will get angry with you and tell you that shes going to take the money back,then you will have to discuss the option of half payment because you already made work done. She really can take advantage of that and pay you only half. But this is where the mistake of not discussing the amount before you started to work on the project comes in.

    Good luck
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    • Profile picture of the author Trisha
      oh devonm, do I know what youre going through. This happened to me a couple times starting out. Dont get angry or discouraged and dont let it make you feel youre being taken advantage of. Giving accurate quotes is NOT easy and something you'll learn to do well in time.

      Right now. Make a list of what things that $100 included. I know youre starting to hate this client, but it might not be too late to salvage the job. Let them know politely that 'the following' (your list) was what was included in their job and that it is now complete. Tell them that, if they would like more work done, to compile a list of tasks they want completed and you will give them a quote on the additional work. Sometimes clients go off on 'do this, do that' tangents because they aren't organized.

      Their reaction could be anything under the sun, dont be afraid. You have some choices from here on out.
      1. Best Case Scenario, They'll go for this and you will give them a quote for more work.
      2. Worst Case Scenario, They'll flip out and demand their work to be done.
      In this case you can suck it up, finish the job, keep your money and learn from the experience.
      OR. Kindly tell them that you are not the person for the job, give them their money back and take the site down.
      DO NOT keep their money and cut them off. This is really unprofessional. You want to learn how to deal with clients
      and eventually start building good relationships.

      This is what helped me quote jobs better and keep people loving what I do for them.

      Break the job down as list items:
      * List out everything the job entails. (ex, wordpress install, custom design, custom logo, portfolio, 5 built pages)
      * On the same line, estimate how many hours it will take you to do each task.
      * Come up with an hourly rate that suits your needs
      * Add up your totals.

      Most of the time, this type of quote will be right on. I recommend estimating a little high, keeping track of your hours and coming down on price in your billing if youve come in under quote.

      When you write out your proposal, highlight the tasks in your itemized list. Something like. "This quote includes wordpress install, custom design, a custom logo and 5 pages built. If you need additional work done, Im available at an hourly rate of $xx, or would gladly work up another quote for future jobs"

      Also, while responding to a job request, compliment clients on what you like about their ideas. This builds excellent rapport and focuses your mind on how your client needs you to help them. Their site is more than a site, its their marketing tool. Many times, their entire business model.

      During the job, never say things like, "if you dont like this i can change, move edit..."
      Do your best work, complete your tasks, and let them decide what needs changing. Most of the time by this point, their changes should be so minimal you'll be happy to do them because they'll make your work better.

      Best of luck! I hope this helps you establish some really great client relationships and you never hate your job again!
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  • Profile picture of the author r0ny
    Most of the clients don't have an idea of what actually they want until they see something
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  • Profile picture of the author richfit
    To be honest $100 for a wordpress customization is super cheap. I would have charged at least $500 and then all of these little customizations would have been a non-issue.

    I guess for future reference raise your prices!
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  • Profile picture of the author pandadoodle
    This is why contracts are vital even for a small amount you have something there to back you up detailing each aspect. If its not been done, id be willing to post up a sample contract with terms people can use and edit them selfs, although in the long run get a decent legal one drawn up it should cover you for most work under $2000
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  • Profile picture of the author HairyPoppins
    If ground work wasn't laid down right off the bat I'd say your obligated to do what she asks since she paid you. Next time I'd just let my clients now what the service would include and for up to how many customizations you're willing to do for the price. I wouldn't block her though. She found a loop hole and she's milking it. Next time just don't have that loop hole.
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  • Profile picture of the author dmason
    If you conveyed the correct and precise information on what would be included in the fee...there should be little problem in discussing with theclient. If you didn't....refund the fee...return the site to original and move on...life is too short!!!
    dm
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  • Profile picture of the author devonm
    She came at me with a new job, but I laid out guidelines this time around. Rules are new, if she doesn't like the new rules, I am sorry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trisha
    good for you devonm! guidelines save everyones sanity!
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  • Profile picture of the author MattSanti
    1. Refer back to any previous written conversations you had.
    2. Tell her that it will be $xx for each hour for your time.
    3. If all else fails, fire her and tell her best of luck in a professional way. No need to burn bridges or make yourself look like a complete ass either.
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  • Profile picture of the author newtrend19
    Originally Posted by devonm View Post

    I am doing a Wordpress setup and customization for them for 100 dollars. Here I thought it would be a few customizatrions and setup. Now she wants HUNDREDS of customizations. I am about to dump her and block her.


    I am only afraid she will chargback the Paypal payment. Wat do I do?
    Hey Kindly send her an Email and explaining all things.
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  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    It's an example of 'scope creep'.

    You need to stop developing and discuss with her what the $100 did and did not include.

    Work out a win-win agreement and complete the assignment.

    Will
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  • Profile picture of the author DebB
    Define scope upfront, that is the way to go for any web job. Always have scope defined and agreed upon before you start work.
    You went in without any protection and you were ripped off

    Most often clients, try to take advantage of a newbie, you need to get them the facts that you can do this much only for $100, a little shakeup can do the job for you

    Else give them a ultimatum return them the money and remove all your customizations from the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author MattSanti
    PS - Don't blatantly say you are brand spanking new. If they ask sure go ahead and tell them. This isn't about misleading them either in anyway. You do have to demonstrate confidence in your ability at some point in the conversation.

    Just be upfront and honest about your skills. If you know you can do something then you're fine.
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  • Profile picture of the author MattSanti
    Oh I forgot to mention that just because you haven't done something before for a financial payment doesn't mean you need to work for peanuts either.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Chandler
      I made this mistake as well starting out. Like everyone else said, you have to get these details before you agree on a price.

      If they're not sure what they want, charge them a fee for defining the scope of the project and then create a requirements document for them. Find out what their goals are, ask if there are other people in the company that help define what needs to be done. Then give them a price for completing the project. I've had several things happen from that:

      1) They contracted with me to finish the project.
      2) They didn't realize how big of a project it was and will scale back some of the requirements to fit in their budget.
      3) They take the requirements document and find someone cheaper to do the work. I've only had this happen a couple of times.

      At this point, if you promised open-ended changes and it's more work than you thought, just be honest with the client and tell them there's been a misunderstanding. Get a detailed list of everything they want to finish the job. They may be cooperative and offer to pay you more money for the additional requirements. If not, unless it's just a huge amount of work, I would finish the job and take it as a lesson learned.
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  • Profile picture of the author bassem
    hey mate never ever fire a client or be rude to him , because people know eachother and you need to get good reputaion out there .and don't forget that one client can bring 2 or three if he likes his work and his friends will do the same with you and so on , so be wise and negociate with her the right decision

    regards

    Bassem Jaber
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelParsons
      Originally Posted by bassem View Post

      hey mate never ever fire a client or be rude to him , because people know eachother and you need to get good reputaion out there .and don't forget that one client can bring 2 or three if he likes his work and his friends will do the same with you and so on , so be wise and negociate with her the right decision

      regards

      Bassem Jaber
      Sometimes those 2 or 3 people that a P.I.A. client brings in are just like they are, and NOT the kind of people you want to work with.

      Like this guy: He would call me twice a week and hound me that I wasn't getting his site done fast enough, that I was behind schedule, he's losing money, yadda yadda. I would make 5 changes Monday, he would send 10 Tuesday. Evidently he thought he owned me.

      Did not end well. Left me for someone else (*sniff*), his site is now not even navigable. So much for helping out a friend of a friend for practically free.

      Moral: this guy was a reference from a pain in the arse client. Should have said no. Also, charge MORE for a referral from a PIA, as you'l need some way to justify keeping him on when he makes ridiculous requests.

      Be assertive.
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  • If this is how you react when something crops up, then how do you expect to get any more clients? At least from this site.

    You're receiving money for services - that's a business. Act professional.

    You don't see large-scale businesses bitching and whining about clients. Like others have said, lay it out with your client. This is the price agreed, and this is the work that was agreed.

    Losing your cool and getting stressed only makes you look unprofessional and puts off any more potential customers. If this client wants their money back, then big deal. You've learnt a valuable lesson, and gotten off lightly.


    Take it easy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    This type of client can only help you improve your business. This particular client has made you aware of the fact that you need to stipulate everything upfront before taking clients. Your view of how far $100 will go in the way of services is much different than your clients. Setup some fail safes along the way and you'll be fine.

    In regards to this client I urge you to finish her requests, but first talk to her and ask her what she feels is worth $100 and let her know what the industry standard is in regards to that dollar amount for getting website work done.

    Lesson learned...
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  • Profile picture of the author JimMichael
    Originally Posted by devonm View Post

    I am doing a Wordpress setup and customization for them for 100 dollars. Here I thought it would be a few customizatrions and setup. Now she wants HUNDREDS of customizations. I am about to dump her and block her.


    I am only afraid she will chargback the Paypal payment. Wat do I do?
    If that's how you treat clients, you don't deserve any! I'm afraid you've also just committed Warrior Forum career suicide as I don't think anyone would hire you from here now.

    My golden rule in business is to take responsibility. By the sounds of your 'Here I thought it would be....' comment, you've failed to drag the actual requirements out of your client and that is your fault.

    Running my business got very stressful a few years ago, and I was constantly complaining of clients who were failing to tell me exactly what they wanted.

    You know what - it was my fault for not asking. I then set up a very explicit online form, and made it clear that any requirements not listed would not be included in the cost estimate.

    The result - both me and the client were always on the same page and life became a lot easier. Profits also shot up.

    I'd seriously suggest you apologize and return the money. Or, why not complete it and put it down to a lesson?

    I once dumped a client who annoyed me (when I was still immature in business) as he wanted millions of things done for little money. He moved to one of my close competitors and I was secretly pleased he was now running their stress levels up instead.

    Later that year - the client signed a huge Government deal and my competitor went on to make tens of thousands of $$$ each month from the new contract they'd arranged with him - and I lost out. Now that's a kick in the teeth.

    So, use your head and do what you'd want done to yourself. A chargeback would not only be bad for your records but is also plain immoral.

    I can imagine the new thread we'd see here if you did that....

    ''HELP! A Wordpress expert who can't hack their own business has chosen to ignore me/taken my money"

    Again, use your head and turn this around to be a positive experince for both sides.
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    • Profile picture of the author Danny McConnell
      I need to jump in on the side of figuring our what a (generous) amount of work would be for the price you quoted and explain to the client that that was what you were assuming.

      While people are correct in saying that you should have had an agreement in place before starting, the fact is that there are some general guidelines in place for most types of projects. If the customer is ignoring those practices to an egregious level, there are two possibilities.

      One is that they are genuinely unaware of what the standard package would be. You need to explain it to them and hope they understand and you can come to some sort of agreement as to the scope of work and payent.

      Another is that you have put yourself in a position to be abused by an unethical marketer. One who will screw anyone to the wall to make a buck. In that case, the idea that you give them the consideration that you would expect to receive falls flat.

      The end result of both is the same. You cannot work for nothing. Come to an agreement or refund the money. To save hassle it would probably be best to just leave the work you have done in place, as distasteful as that might be. You have already done the work, your time is lost, just making a point by undoing the work you have made is not worth the possible blowback.

      Unless you positively know the customer is a jerk trying to take advantage of you, treat the them with respect in all your dealings.
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  • Profile picture of the author JimMichael
    Also, just a quick tip :-

    Running a very quick and simple Google search..... I see you're offering SEO on your profile but are also a member of the Black Hat SEO Forum.

    Probably not such a good place to be if you want SEO clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Here I thought it would be a few customizatrions and setup
      You can't assume you know what a client expects - you have to agree on how many areas of customization you will do for $100.

      Either do the work - or refund the money and tell the client the job is much larger than you expected.

      If you fail to complete the work - and you keep the money - your rep is on the line, not the customers.
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      Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

      Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
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      • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
        Tip: work one hour with your client first , then touch base and check in to make sure you are on track, communicate well and have the instructions correct, etc. This helps clear up issues on the remaining balance of the project.

        In this case, it may not be all or nothing. Just confirm what the work has cost you to date, sharing the outstanding balance in the account, and then send her a short list of what her other work will cost (an estimation). Then proceed, asking how much she'd like done that her balance covers.

        Move ahead and invoice a second installment, too, setting her up on a subscription plan for monthly service, if you can. This could actually turn out to be an opportunity, a door opener for you. No need to worry and go in the negative direction with it necessarily. Feel around for a better project fit


        Also, I offer outsourcing tips on my Warrior blog:

        "4 Key Issues to Watch During an Outsourcing Trial Period"

        - this is part of a 3-part series, and all parts are linked there:

        http://www.warriorforum.com/blogs/db...l#comment14472



        Here's to your success!
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  • Profile picture of the author MattVit
    One word: communicate.
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