So you're mad at a client who didn't pay promptly..

by PerformanceMan 74 replies
Do you do what Frank Jonen did?

I think lots of people like this idea, but then back off because of the potential ramifications. Personally I'd never resort to something like this.

What do you think?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #client #mad #pay #promptly
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author Diice
    I think this is a childish move.

    The agency were stupid enough to do the work without receiving the payment first. Some people are just stupid. Do the work they have paid you for, not the work they 'might' pay you for.

    The agency is simply bitter for a mistake which it has made, both parties are in the wrong.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743256].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author butters
      I understand they made the mistake about not getting paid upfront and continuing to do work for them even tho they were still owed 6 months worth. I guarantee that company will pay them now because they have been made out to look like idiots (Which by the sounds of it, they are). Sometimes you got to take it to the extreme to get paid, it isn't like they missed an invoice by a day, they were owed 6 months.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743289].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Payment terms aren't specified. We don't know if the situation rides upon the designer / agency having been paid an initial down payment.

      I think for a person to resort to such a measure they must be pretty confident that the client is indeed trying to pull a fast one. Note that there were multiple invoices sent.

      Freelancers are taking a very firm stance nowadays and already many are together in protest over these type of issues.

      If you don't pay your £3 train fare in my town and you're caught, you get your face slapped on a nice big "named and shamed" poster on every station platform.

      I don't see why the case of unpaid invoices should be any different.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743308].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by Michael_Lee View Post

      I think this is a childish move.

      The agency were stupid enough to do the work without receiving the payment first. Some people are just stupid. Do the work they have paid you for, not the work they 'might' pay you for.

      The agency is simply bitter for a mistake which it has made, both parties are in the wrong.
      For sure he lost his cool. That alone could hurt his chance with major accounts moving forward.
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743318].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author KevL
      Originally Posted by Diice View Post

      I think this is a childish move.

      The agency were stupid enough to do the work without receiving the payment first. Some people are just stupid. Do the work they have paid you for, not the work they 'might' pay you for.

      The agency is simply bitter for a mistake which it has made, both parties are in the wrong.
      You're obviously not a web designer
      The norm in web design is to take a deposit and then the remainder upon completion, it's certainly not the norm to get paid up front, so the fact he didn't get paid 100% up front, isn't a mistake on his part. 50% up front & 50% on completion is the most common structure.
      Plus, he's not an "agency" he's a freelance designer.
      The other thing people are not taking into consideration is that this guy is in Germany - in Germany bad debt is much more rare than it is in most countries, people just up when they say they will, and when German firms work with companies in other countries where the norm is to try to hold off paying until absolutely necessary, it's understandable that they would react differently.

      I don't think anyone can really judge though because we don't know all the facts - and there are two sides to every story.
      Signature
      SEO Kev
      Small business SEO / Web Marketing Tips.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770671].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author ronrule
        Originally Posted by KevL View Post

        You're obviously not a web designer
        The norm in web design is to take a deposit and then the remainder upon completion, it's certainly not the norm to get paid up front, so the fact he didn't get paid 100% up front, isn't a mistake on his part. 50% up front & 50% on completion is the most common structure.
        Dude 50/50 is a terrible deal for a web designer. If you're still billing clients this way, you're doing a lot more work than you should be.

        Here's what happens every time with this arrangement:

        Client: I want it to look like X
        Designer: Ok, that will be 50% up front
        (designer does the work, exactly to the client's spec)
        Designer: Ok, I'm done, I'll take my other 50% now.
        Client: Oooh... yeah, I want to change this and this and this and this and this and this and this and I'm not paying you the other 50% until you do those things.

        You should be billing in milestones... break the design process up into each of the critical components (wireframe, graphical mockup, HTML, optimization). Bill the client FOR each stage prior to starting it (in this case, 25% of the total quoted price), and require them to approve it before you start the next phase. And in your contract, if you ever have to roll back and change anything that was previously agreed, it's a separate hourly charge. That way you're billing for your work in advance, and if they bail at any point in the process, turn over what they paid for thus far - they aren't entitled to a refund, you delivered as agreed for each milestone. And if they are slow to pay, you are slow to start working.
        Signature
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770695].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author KevL
          Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

          Dude 50/50 is a terrible deal for a web designer. If you're still billing clients this way, you're doing a lot more work than you should be.

          Here's what happens every time with this arrangement:

          Client: I want it to look like X
          Designer: Ok, that will be 50% up front
          (designer does the work, exactly to the client's spec)
          Designer: Ok, I'm done, I'll take my other 50% now.
          Client: Oooh... yeah, I want to change this and this and this and this and this and this and this and I'm not paying you the other 50% until you do those things.

          You should be billing in milestones... break the design process up into each of the critical components (wireframe, graphical mockup, HTML, optimization). Bill the client 25% of the job prior to each stage, and require them to approve it before you start the next phase. And in your contract, if you ever have to roll back and change anything that was previously agreed, it's a separate hourly charge. That way you're billing for your work in advance... if they are slow to pay, you are slow to start working.
          I have been in web design for several years, and the scenario you have said above, i have never experienced....

          here's how it usually goes for me:

          The client pays 50%
          The process starts with the mockup, any amends required, continues through to the coding stage - any more amends requested & processed - fully developed and goes live.
          The client pays the final 50%

          In your description you seem to be missing out some crucial elements, for instance the client being able to request amends because they simply don't like any elements of the mockup. We can't just tell the client that it's to their specs so they have to like it. I know I wouldn't accept that as the client.

          What does sometimes happen is that the client takes time to get stuff to me, which slows things down and is a bit of a pain, this is more often to happen with schools, and large companies, than with small to medium businesses, but luckily I don't experience what you're describing, so I must be lucky with my clients!

          If you're in web design and you work this way - then you must love faffing about with invoices and contracts I don't...

          In your description though you seem to be missing out the amends stage - are you saying that you expect a client to pay because the designer says that it has been done "to the clients specs"? The client is the only one who knows whether the site is how they want it to be, and at this stage amends can be requested.
          Signature
          SEO Kev
          Small business SEO / Web Marketing Tips.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770751].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author ronrule
            Originally Posted by KevL View Post

            I have been in web design for several years, and the scenario you have said above, i have never experienced....

            here's how it usually goes for me:

            The client pays 50%
            The process starts with the mockup, any amends required, continues through to the coding stage - any more amends requested & processed - fully developed and goes live.
            The client pays the final 50%

            In your description you seem to be missing out some crucial elements, for instance the client being able to request amends because they simply don't like any elements of the mockup. We can't just tell the client that it's to their specs so they have to like it. I know I wouldn't accept that as the client.
            No, of course not, what I'm saying is by using milestones you get that stuff dialed in within each stage after you've been paid, not at the end while you're waiting for payment. On an $8k website (that's the minimum) I'm sure as heck not going to have my guys do all of the work and wait around to get paid. I still have to pay them whether the client pays or not. This method guarantees we aren't doing any work we aren't being paid for, and gets all of the little nitpicky changes worked out early on when it's easy to correct them. No surprises at the end.

            Wireframe is always first, so how elements are going to be laid out on the page are clear up front. That's working directly with the customer to design them... no graphical mockups begin until the site wireframe and navigation are completed. Then they pay for the mockups, and we deliver 3 that we feel are close to what they're looking for. Usually one of them is pretty close to the mark, and we tweak from there - all still working in photoshop, no code, until it's to the client's liking. Once that's approved they pay for the build out phase (at which point they've had plenty of time to get their content written and have a feel for how it's going to flow on the site). Then their content is optimized and they're done.

            What does sometimes happen is that the client takes time to get stuff to me, which slows things down and is a bit of a pain, this is more often to happen with schools, and large companies, than with small to medium businesses, but luckily I don't experience what you're describing, so I must be lucky with my clients!
            That's what is great about this method - it actually frees the team up so we can handle more projects at a time than we could using the 50/50 method. If a user has delayed getting something required to move into the next step - like content (or payment) - we've already been paid for all of the work that's been done thus far so we aren't obligated to do anything else for them yet. That keeps us free to work on other projects.

            If you're in web design and you work this way - then you must love faffing about with invoices and contracts I don't...
            It's just basic protection... keeps everyone focused and on the same page. It's a lot better to find out we completely missed the point in the wireframe or photoshop phase, than after we've coded something out and imported content. By using this methodology, there is never any arguing - the client is a part of each step of the process, and is paying as they go. We never have to bug them to pay up for work we've done, and they never come back at the end and say they want to change something (unless they're willing to pay for that change, because they already agreed to how it was done the first time).

            I've also never had to give a refund. Sometimes clients financial situations change and they can't continue with a site we're in the middle of. So at that point, we would turn over the wireframe or photoshop PSD and let them know we're available to continue if they're ever ready. But they OWN that material as they pay for it, if they wanted to hire another firm to pick up the ball later that's fine, we still got paid for everything we did.

            You should try it man, it's a great system. I did the 50/50 thing for years... got burned too many times by the last minute nitpickers.
            Signature
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770792].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author KevL
              Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

              No, of course not, what I'm saying is by using milestones you get that stuff dialed in within each stage after you've been paid, not at the end while you're waiting for payment. On an $8k website (that's the minimum) I'm sure as heck not going to have my guys do all of the work and wait around to get paid. I still have to pay them whether the client pays or not. This method guarantees we aren't doing any work we aren't being paid for, and gets all of the little nitpicky changes worked out early on when it's easy to correct them. No surprises at the end.

              Wireframe is always first, so how elements are going to be laid out on the page are clear up front. That's working directly with the customer to design them... no graphical mockups begin until the site wireframe and navigation are completed. Then they pay for the mockups, and we deliver 3 that we feel are close to what they're looking for. Usually one of them is pretty close to the mark, and we tweak from there - all still working in photoshop, no code, until it's to the client's liking. Once that's approved they pay for the build out phase (at which point they've had plenty of time to get their content written and have a feel for how it's going to flow on the site). Then their content is optimized and they're done.



              That's what is great about this method - it actually frees the team up so we can handle more projects at a time than we could using the 50/50 method. If a user has delayed getting something required to move into the next step - like content (or payment) - we've already been paid for all of the work that's been done thus far so we aren't obligated to do anything else for them yet. That keeps us free to work on other projects.



              It's just basic protection... keeps everyone focused and on the same page. It's a lot better to find out we completely missed the point in the wireframe or photoshop phase, than after we've coded something out and imported content. By using this methodology, there is never any arguing - the client is a part of each step of the process, and is paying as they go. We never have to bug them to pay up for work we've done, and they never come back at the end and say they want to change something (unless they're willing to pay for that change, because they already agreed to how it was done the first time).

              I've also never had to give a refund. Sometimes clients financial situations change and they can't continue with a site we're in the middle of. So at that point, we would turn over the wireframe or photoshop PSD and let them know we're available to continue if they're ever ready. But they OWN that material as they pay for it, if they wanted to hire another firm to pick up the ball later that's fine, we still got paid for everything we did.

              You should try it man, it's a great system. I did the 50/50 thing for years... got burned too many times by the last minute nitpickers.
              Cheers - but this seems far to complex for my liking, and my clients liking... and I simply haven't been burned by nitpickers, so the 50/50 method works fine for me.
              Signature
              SEO Kev
              Small business SEO / Web Marketing Tips.
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7772383].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Diice
    I'm not saying he should get away with not paying, im saying that the agency was foolish enough to operate on a basis that they did the work before getting paid.

    In my opinion it is one of the most stupid and overused practices, even with a down payment, you have absolutely no idea if you are going to get your money for the work you have done.

    If you are going to work like this then at least draw up some form of legal contract stating clearly the rules and price of the agreement.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743319].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by Michael_Lee View Post

      I'm not saying he should get away with not paying, im saying that the agency was foolish enough to operate on a basis that they did the work before getting paid.

      In my opinion it is one of the most stupid and overused practices, even with a down payment, you have absolutely no idea if you are going to get your money for the work you have done.

      If you are going to work like this then at least draw up some form of legal contract stating clearly the rules and price of the agreement.
      No question. I've always demanded pre-payment and have avoided issues like this for years.
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743324].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    I'm wondering if the design company could get in trouble since they do not legally own the domain they "hacked".

    Whatever the justification for hacking it.

    If I hired a painter to paint my business, do they have the right to come back and vandalize my business and prevent paying customers from entering because I was late on paying my bill?

    Mahlon
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743340].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      I'm wondering if the design company could get in trouble since they do not legally own the domain they "hacked".

      Whatever the justification for hacking it.

      If I hired a painter to paint my business, do they have the right to come back and vandalize my business and prevent paying customers from entering because I was late on paying my bill?

      Mahlon
      I was thinking along the same lines. It seems that whatever agreement he had with the other company it does not give him broad rights to alter the website content.
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743366].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      If I hired a painter to paint my business, do they have the right to come back and vandalize my business and prevent paying customers from entering because I was late on paying my bill?

      Mahlon
      I'm not sure that's a fitting analogy since the website is basically everything the designer built - not simply a part of the business.

      Maybe a valid point about the domain though...
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743371].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sys4
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      I'm wondering if the design company could get in trouble since they do not legally own the domain they "hacked".

      Whatever the justification for hacking it.

      If I hired a painter to paint my business, do they have the right to come back and vandalize my business and prevent paying customers from entering because I was late on paying my bill?

      Mahlon
      I would suggest that it depends on who owns the server. If he accessed the clients server space, he broke the law (unless the client authorized the changes). If it's his server space, he did nothing more than what your telephone company will do if you fail to pay your bill i.e. replace your service with a pre-recorded message. Though the telephone company doesn't mention your failure to pay, we all know that the "This number has been temporarily disconnected" translates to "This telephone customer has failed to pay their bill. We'll turn their service back on after they pay what they owe us."

      As for your painter question, no. They can, however, place a work lien on your real property. This would prevent the title of said property from changing hands until such time that the lien was satisfied - either by payment in full or a judge's decree.

      I once took a clients web application offline for failure to pay hosting fees. This client's company had franchisees throughout the US paying them monthly IT fees for my services and was using their (the client's) unpaid invoices as a tool to renegotiate our contract - the contract was up for renewal and I was requiring compensation for expanded services. In this case, I had no obligation to continue to provide service for which they were not paying. Within fifteen minutes I was paid in full. Within an hour, they received a communication terminating our relationship and a zip file containing their work product. I fired this client.

      In the end, I brought the appliaction back online and assisted them in getting the application transferred to another service provider. To this day (2.5 years later), I continue to answer their employees questions about the application without compensation - not because I have to, but because I want to insure my businesses integrity.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744711].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Farish
    Usually when I do work like this I use a contract with 3 payments.

    First payment is the down payment. I start the proof and design phase.

    Second payment occurs when a concept and proof is agreed upon.

    Third payment occurs and then the website is delivered to their servers.

    It is not that hard folks.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743379].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Diice
      Originally Posted by Farish View Post

      Usually when I do work like this I use a contract with 3 payments.

      First payment is the down payment. I start the proof and design phase.

      Second payment occurs when a concept and proof is agreed upon.

      Third payment occurs and then the website is delivered to their servers.

      It is not that hard folks.
      And you dont draw up any sort of contract?

      If this is for large sums of money i would strongly recommend some sort of contract.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743383].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Farish
        Originally Posted by Michael_Lee View Post

        And you dont draw up any sort of contract?

        If this is for large sums of money i would strongly recommend some sort of contract.
        That payment breakdown is part of the contract, taking a look different ones I have written up in the past the contract has been no fewer than 2 pages.

        The terms I spelled out was more for simplicity sake.

        For example in the design phase of things, I will deliver the customer 3 proofs(designs or revisions) based on our conversations of how the website should look like.

        If after the 3rd proof they want a dramatic change I will charge them an additional fee and I spell that out clearly.


        Part of the whole point of that proof concept is that if the Client is force to decide to move forward or not or pay an additional fee to make changes.

        This is more for my protection than the clients.

        There are some clients out there who no matter how many different point of views you give them, they can not make up their mind. It is a time waster to deliver 15 proofs and be rejected because the person cant decide.

        But one of the most important lessons I learned long ago,

        sometimes the Client wants you to tell them what to do.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743423].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Web hosting companies do the same thing all the time.
    Except that their replacement websites may have a kinder
    message.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Let a VETERAN Copywriter and Teacher get your skills up to speed in little time.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743404].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Diice
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Web hosting companies do the same thing all the time.
      Except that their replacement websites may have a kinder
      message.

      -Ray Edwards
      As far as i am aware Hosting companies take upfront payments?

      They will only take down the website if the user does not renew their subscription.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743412].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Raydal
        Originally Posted by Michael_Lee View Post

        As far as i am aware Hosting companies take upfront payments?

        They will only take down the website if the user does not renew their subscription.
        Not all. Many hosting companies offer first month free.
        1and1.com even had a first 3 years free deal some
        years ago.

        -Ray Edwards
        Signature
        The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Let a VETERAN Copywriter and Teacher get your skills up to speed in little time.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743427].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Web hosting companies do the same thing all the time.
      Except that their replacement websites may have a kinder
      message.

      -Ray Edwards
      They DO have a kinder message AND, if you pay the bill, EVERYTHING is BACK!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7752105].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author FirstSocialApps
    I have taken websites and apps down completely for non payment. This seems very fair, you dont pay me I will take my work back. But replacing a website with a 'letter' seems to be to much. There is no need to make a conflict between you and your customer public like that. It shows a lack of professionalism and I would not work with a company that would be so unprofessional.

    So a recap: A) take the site down completely --> OK (nothing wrong with taking work back that wasnt paid for) B) jack your customers domain and put up what shouldnt be public information for everyone to see --> super uncool and childish.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743447].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    I asked to be paid in full before I start.

    Otherwise I wont take on the work.

    Not interested.
    Signature

    BS free SEO services, training and advice - SEO Point

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743452].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Diice
      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      I asked to be paid in full before I start.

      Otherwise I wont take on the work.

      Not interested.
      Thats the way it should be.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743466].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Very poor way to handle a non-paying client. From the sound of the message, they weren't even using most of the work he had done - perhaps because it wasn't up to par, and that's why they weren't paying. Guys who go rogue like that make it that much more difficult for other independent designers to get clients, actions like this drive customers to larger firms.
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743485].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author SeoDemon
    what a nasty thing to do! I'm not sure if anyone could hire him again.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743533].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Farish
    There are a lot of potential clients out there that will not pay for the whole job up front but more than comfortable with a down payment (30 to 50 percent) and they a payment when finishing up the job.

    I think by stating if I do not get money upfront is hurting your potential market especially if you are focusing on the web design business. Also you are hurting yourself by locking yourself into a final price. It is better for your business if the client ends up up selling themselves and adding more money to the project that you getting the whole fee upfront and then asking for more because you underestimated time and costs.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743605].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      If the non-payment facts are true - I don't have a problem with any company that removed the product that wasn't paid for.

      I have no respect for someone who wants to "make his case" to the general public about what is a private business matter. A simple page stating "this site has been temporarily removed" would have been a business move - having a rant that could be viewed as slander is pure stupid. I think they'll lose business over this and deserve to.
      Signature

      Saving one dog may not change the world - but forever changes the world of one dog.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743651].message }}
      • Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        If the non-payment facts are true - I don't have a problem with any company that removed the product that wasn't paid for.

        I have no respect for someone who wants to "make his case" to the general public about what is a private business matter. A simple page stating "this site has been temporarily removed" would have been a business move - having a rant that could be viewed as slander is pure stupid. I think they'll lose business over this and deserve to.
        Fitness SF was once a Gold's Gym. For those outside the U.S., the original Gold's Gym in Venice Beach, CA, was famous as the place Schwarzenegger (and others) came to prominence as bodybuilders.

        Gold's expanded and sold franchises. It also changed hands a number of times. The most recent owner, Robert Rowling, made a campaign contribution as a private citizen to a political action committee that San Francisco activists do not approve of. And when activists do not approve of something, they try to punish the "bad" behavior.

        They launched a campaign to drive the two Gold's Gyms in San Francisco out of business, only relenting when the business pledged to cut its ties to Gold's International. Those gyms rebranded themselves as Fitness SF.

        That's the backstory. That's also why this likely isn't a simple client who refuses to pay issue. There are still people who are upset over that awful no-good very bad political contribution -- which was made by someone with only the most tenuous ties to the SF gyms -- which is why the web designer went public with his grievances.

        This was a stupid, silly, immature tactic. And as others have pointed out, it will probably backfire.

        fLufF
        --
        Signature
        Fiverr is looking for freelance writers for its blog. Details here.
        Love microjobs? Work when you want and get paid in cash the same day!
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744243].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author onSubie
          Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

          This was a stupid, silly, immature tactic. And as others have pointed out, it will probably backfire.

          fLufF
          --
          Are you talking about the web designer or the activists???

          :p
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744513].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author alksense
    I get wanting to get paid and getting more and more frustrated with no replies but I think there are better ways of going about it if your goal is really to get the money that you are owed... many of which have already been mentioned here.

    By hurting their business he's only lessening his chances of getting paid...

    I checked yesterday morning and their Yelp page ranked them 4.5 stars, now it's down to 2.5 and I'm sure it will keep going down:

    Fitness SF - SoMa - San Francisco, CA
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7743689].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by alksense View Post

      I get wanting to get paid and getting more and more frustrated with no replies but I think there are better ways of going about it if your goal is really to get the money that you are owed... many of which have already been mentioned here.

      By hurting their business he's only lessening his chances of getting paid...

      I checked yesterday morning and their Yelp page ranked them 4.5 stars, now it's down to 2.5 and I'm sure it will keep going down:

      Fitness SF - SoMa - San Francisco, CA
      Shows you the validity of online reviews - doesn't it?

      "Pay your bills, dude" with a 1 star. Obviously that person is not making an honest review of this business! This turned into an Internet lynch mob. I think I'd be suing Joren for all manner of damages at this stage of the game.
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744159].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Originally Posted by alksense View Post

      I get wanting to get paid and getting more and more frustrated with no replies but I think there are better ways of going about it if your goal is really to get the money that you are owed... many of which have already been mentioned here.

      By hurting their business he's only lessening his chances of getting paid...

      I checked yesterday morning and their Yelp page ranked them 4.5 stars, now it's down to 2.5 and I'm sure it will keep going down:

      Fitness SF - SoMa - San Francisco, CA
      That right there is the biggest problem when people do stuff like this... all of the bandwagon jumpers who want to throw their 2 cents into the mix who had no familiarity with either company before this went viral.

      They'll probably sue him, and they'll probably win, but reputation damage that has nothing to do with their product will be a lot more costly to repair.
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770594].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Moriarty
    This was part of my response to the other thread:

    Anyway, aside from the funnier side of things, let's see what we can do for the future. Because these guys are the archetypal bad client. Usually they're a lot harder to spot - so Frank Jonen has been luckier than most.

    Put another way, he won't want to see anybody like them again. Will he?

    Nope.

    So what was their character like? Actually not so far from the whingeing clients who trolled our building business in the UK. I unwittingly got rid of them through an act of kindness to those people we liked doing work for. They had said that they liked having our terms explained to them - how we did things, when we expected to return to fix things and all that sort of thing. It reassured them that we weren't fly-by-night.

    Read more here: http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...didnt-pay.html (comment #6 - I'm not hard to find, the girl with the trilby).
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744001].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Karry
    I'm sure a lot of freelancers who have been burned by a nonpaying client appreciate what Frank Jonen did. As much as it might have made Mr. Jonen feel better and somewhat vindicated, who knows what something like that will cost him in future income.

    From my perspective, he made a mistake by not running his business more like a business. When you're a freelancer in Germany and doing business with a California company, why would you take their word they'd pay you? No offense to anyone in the fitness industry, but gyms are notorious for going bankrupt.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744254].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    It certainly makes for press, and some say any press is good press. I don't like to go negative like that so I wouldn't do it.

    But only Frank can answer if it will hurt or help business in the end. Ask him in a year or so.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744716].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

    Do you do what Frank Jonen did?

    I think lots of people like this idea, but then back off because of the potential ramifications. Personally I'd never resort to something like this.

    What do you think?
    Not very professional, and doesn't reflect well on him as a business owner.

    No idea why he would do the work and not get progress payments though. Sounds to me like the guy doesn't know how to do business, or doesn't have much experience doing it.
    Signature

    Martin Platt

    martin-platt.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744749].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DeePower
      When we work with clients in creating a business plan, we share the risk. We charge 40 percent upfront, 30 percent when the narrative is finished and approved and 30 percent when the financial forecast is completed. Until we get that last payment we own the content in the business plan. When the business plan is paid for the copyright and all ownership rights are transferred to the client.

      Dee
      Signature
      FREE Pump Up Your Profits With PLR
      Are You a Writer? Then you need this FREE guide Convert Your Words to Ca$H Make Money Writing Online
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7744886].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    there are 2 sides to every story and they are most likely both inaccurate accounts of what really happened.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745060].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    It appears that there's another side to this story that hasn't been told yet. The company wasn't using all of the code that was done. Maybe they were unhappy with the work. I wouldn't have done 6 months work without pay, but if I weren't paid for a portion of the work I did, I would remove it ... but not put up that letter.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745140].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      You can tell there are a lot of freelancers in this thread. Either that, or a lot of people who didn't bother to read the whole article.

      Most of you automatically assume Jonen, et al, got stiffed after performaing as agreed. According to Fitness SF, Jonen got paid at least a portion upfront and then missed numerous deadlines, and then voluntarily handed the site over to the new designer.

      Regardless, the act of placing that rant takes Jonen out of the realm of serious businesses. If his erstwhile clients are as vindictive as he has shown himself, his little public tantrum could end up costing him a lot more than it would have had he simply eaten the fee.

      Lately, there have been a rash of threads here where posters bragged about sending nasty emails, outing private communications for public humiliation, and other assorted hissy fits.

      Fluff, thanks for the backstory.

      Like many of these disputes, there are likely three versions. His, theirs and the truth.

      On a lighter note, entrepreneur Harvey Mackay tells a story about how he dealt with a client for whom extracting a payment was like pulling teeth with a tweezer.

      He put on a clean but shabby suit, and brought his wife and kids along to the office to ask for a payment that was months past due. On being greeted, he told the kids to go play in the office while he and his customer discussed the issue.

      The kids, as they had been coached to do, started chasing each other around the office, playing with staplers, throwing wads of paper at each other, etc.

      Mackay proceeded to ignore the kids while he made his case. He left in a few minutes with his wife, kids AND a check...

      And nobody went public. Mackay didn't tell the story until several years later, and went out of his way to protect the customer's identity.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745192].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        You can tell there are a lot of freelancers in this thread. Either that, or a lot of people who didn't bother to read the whole article.
        I figured there were two sides to this story, but the following update wasn't on the site when I read it. It's just been added recently after the OP started this thread, but yeah, it changes everything.

        UPDATE 2: Fitness SF gave this statement to Adweek on Friday:

        "On Wednesday evening, our domain name Fitness SF was hacked and stolen by an individual named Frank Jonen. Frank was hired on May 16th, 2012 to develop a functional website for our brand. A $5,000 payment was made to him on the same date. In his proposal, he stated that the website would take 10 weeks to complete. He missed numerous deadlines including our brand launch in September. In December, he voluntarily passed the incomplete and non functioning website to our new design firm.

        Now, Frank is attempting to portray himself as the victim when truly the victim is Fitness SF as he attempts to get paid for work he did not complete and has decided that blackmail is the way to accomplish that."
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745966].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Years ago I administered civil cases resolved through arbitration.

    To be on our panels, arbitrators had to have at least ten years experience
    in their field.

    We had one arbitrator, a recently retired gentleman, stop serving as arbitrator after
    just a handful of cases because he was disgusted by both sides and their attorneys
    in the cases he did hear. During all his 30 some years (construction contractor)
    he never had a dispute that could not be resolved privately.

    I suspect something similar in this matter.

    Dan
    Signature

    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745748].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sue McDonald
    There appear to be two sides to every story. The Fitness company say they paid $5000 up front and the site was supposed to be completed in 10 weeks. According to them it took many more months and they claim he gave them an unfinished site. Now he claims they never paid him.

    I cannot imaging start a 10 week job without getting some money up front. It is a little bit like "they said " and then "he said." I don't think that is a profesional approach to take.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7745767].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    This case was definitely not cut and dry.

    SF Fitness' language has hardened to 'hacked' now. If they can prove he accessed the website without permission this would have to kill his reputation.
    Signature
    Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7746410].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      this would have to kill his reputation
      For me, he killed his reputation with the rant. A trait seldom mentioned in connection with service providers or IMers is emotional stability yet it can make or break a deal.

      Someone who gives in to childish rants or the urge to "show them" is not someone I'd work with or hire. I expect other marketers have a similar reaction.

      kay
      Signature

      Saving one dog may not change the world - but forever changes the world of one dog.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7747208].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        For me, he killed his reputation with the rant. A trait seldom mentioned in connection with service providers or IMers is emotional stability yet it can make or break a deal.

        Someone who gives in to childish rants or the urge to "show them" is not someone I'd work with or hire. I expect other marketers have a similar reaction.

        kay
        Kay, I agree completely. The bottom line is he is still a service provider. Potential clients are going to judge him based on his behavior and his attitude.

        'Ranting' is better left for Donald Trump that someone who is trying to attract clients. They'll simply choose more professional alternatives.
        Signature
        Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7747223].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
    Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

    Do you do what Frank Jonen did?

    I think lots of people like this idea, but then back off because of the potential ramifications. Personally I'd never resort to something like this.

    What do you think?
    I wouldn't resort to that, but I have been known for kicking out customers who are almost always late paying their invoices.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7747226].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by Chase Watts View Post

      I wouldn't resort to that, but I have been known for kicking out customers who are almost always late paying their invoices.
      That is completely acceptable IMHO. No one is saying to honor the deadbeats

      But it's one thing to say "I cut you off, go away" and totally another to deface a website!
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7747233].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
        Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

        That is completely acceptable IMHO. No one is saying to honor the deadbeats

        But it's one thing to say "I cut you off, go away" and totally another to deface a website!
        Oh yea I totally agree it's completely different. I've definitely felt like doing it to some people. He better hope that he's telling the truth about paying the bills. If he did that to me I would pursue him legally for libel and unless they gave him access to that server, I would pursue charges for unauthorized access.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7747247].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Farish
      Originally Posted by Chase Watts View Post

      I wouldn't resort to that, but I have been known for kicking out customers who are almost always late paying their invoices.
      Late paying customers are better than non paying customers.

      I deal with people who pay on a 45 or 90 day cycle, because in their industry that is how long it takes them to get paid.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7748148].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    This is hitting the national news. There is a front page linked story at ABC. I hope "bad publicity" is just as good as "good publicity" ...

    Payment Dispute Leads to Hack of Gym Websites - ABC News
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7748161].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      This is hitting the national news. There is a front page linked story at ABC. I hope "bad publicity" is just as good as "good publicity" ...

      Payment Dispute Leads to Hack of Gym Websites - ABC News
      Looks like we'll find out lol
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7748171].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
        Having worked in the legal arena for over 20 years, I can tell you almost invariably that each party is telling an edited version of the story and is omitting pertinent information that weakens his side of the argument. In other words, we’ll never know what really happened.

        As a freelance copywriter, I totally understand the importance of being paid on time and in full for my services. I get it. I’ve been in that position and had to chase a client. Of course, I would never resort to Frank Jonen’s drastic measures; I’d make a good faith effort to get the money, then perhaps sue the company.

        However, as a consumer, I also know that professionals do drop the ball on occasion, externalize blame, but demand payment for shoddy work performance and product.

        Still, it’s fun to opine on this, and what he did was sort of funny, even if quite foolish and counterproductive.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7751440].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author thedanbrown
    Extremely short-sighted! He most likely won't be getting any design work in the near future unless he creates an alias.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7751464].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by thedanbrown View Post

      Extremely short-sighted! He most likely won't be getting any design work in the near future unless he creates an alias.
      That's what I think too. Plus his name is associated with this mess when people search.

      He started out blasting them but he's getting hit with the backlash too.
      Signature
      Free Special Report on Mindset - Level Up with Positive Thinking
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7751482].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Most people ******DON'T****** pay until the work is done. Don't you see the hypocrisy? People here complain that they get substandard work after paying, and members tell them to NEVER pay in advance and then YOU say to NEVER work without getting paid in advance.

    We may never know the TRUTH. did the customer do something wrong, or force it out of scope? Is the web designer simply a jerk that failed? WHO KNOWS?

    But you CAN'T do this. So the "web designer" is in the wrong.

    Steve
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7752097].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author KevL
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      Most people ******DON'T****** pay until the work is done. Don't you see the hypocrisy? People here complain that they get substandard work after paying, and members tell them to NEVER pay in advance and then YOU say to NEVER work without getting paid in advance.

      We may never know the TRUTH. did the customer do something wrong, or force it out of scope? Is the web designer simply a jerk that failed? WHO KNOWS?

      But you CAN'T do this. So the "web designer" is in the wrong.

      Steve
      The client claim that they paid him a portion up front, and he'd not kept up with his obligations so they took someone else on, and he wasn't happy about that and hijacked the site to blackmail them to pay him in full.
      He claims that they simply didn't pay up.
      So who knows - I said in my last post that there are two sides to every story, I forgot an old saying, that there are three sides to every story and, one side, the other side, and then the truth

      I am in web design, so I can certainly sympathize with this guy - although I am very lucky to work with brilliant clients most of the time, who do pay - and I can only think of one client who didn't pay, and no I didn't post a nasty message on their site...

      I don't think it's fair to judge because none of us are in possession of the full facts, but I disagree that you "can't do this" - obviously you can, as he did... whether you SHOULD is a different matter, but again we just don't know the facts. In my opinion, what he has done has won favour with lots of other freelance designers - but other freelance designers are not his potential clients...I think he's done something very risky in terms of the media publicity this has given him, because it's not the kind of thing that is likely to impress a potential client!
      Signature
      SEO Kev
      Small business SEO / Web Marketing Tips.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770704].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by KevL View Post

        I disagree that you "can't do this" - obviously you can, as he did... whether you SHOULD is a different matter, but again we just don't know the facts. In my opinion, what he has done has won favour with lots of other freelance designers - but other freelance designers are not his potential clients...I think he's done something very risky in terms of the media publicity this has given him, because it's not the kind of thing that is likely to impress a potential client!
        I meant legally you can't. He could be in a lot of trouble. hey, I had a company conspire to steal my code. They had the AUDACITY to ask me if they had the right to transfer my code to another. They did, KEYWORD???? ******DID****** they THEN went bankrupt, could not pay the bills, and sued me under an obscure rule in the bankruptcy code making me, retroactively a SLAVE! ALSO, that was a BREACH of the contract that said they code transfer my code.

        I have had others take credit for my code. Recently, I had a run in with a company that lied about several things and my code will likely be used THERE.

        So I can sympathize ALSO!

        Steve
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7775530].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by WillR View Post

          I doubt most of his clients come from searching his name on Google. Even when people found this web design agency, do you really think the average person would go and Google the owners name? I don't think so.
          In a day and age when people run background checks before hiring a dishwasher, you don't believe people would run a simple name search before signing a four or five-figure contract? Really?

          As for the people who see this as some kind of heroic stand, where only the cheats need to fear, they can have him. Whether he's in the right or not, it's a demonstration of irrational, compulsive behavior. Something I would worry about, lest some other perceived slight or disrespect set him off.

          You would eagerly hire this hero. I wouldn't hire this psycho. Let's agree to disagree, eh?

          Originally Posted by WillR View Post

          I very much doubt it. I can almost guarantee you as a result of this exposure this guy would have gained a lot more clients than he has lost. Anyone who saw the story and didn't like his stance would just never use him, but they never knew about him before. The people who read it and did like his stance now know about him and can hire him.
          Only time will tell on this one. I have a hunch, though, that the people who like his stance might still fear his behavior.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7778644].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Best thing this guy could do right now is shift professions... use the publicity he's garnered to start a website that outs non-paying companies. He'll have the press talking about it, and the designers who support him posting clients to it. Monetize it by allowing the clients to pay to remove themselves.

    You know, like those Mugshot sites. Or the Better Business Bureau.

    At least that's what I would do if it was my 15 minutes in this situation, because I sure as hell wouldn't be working as a web designer again.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770721].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author KevL
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      Best thing this guy could do right now is shift professions... use the publicity he's garnered to start a website that outs non-paying companies. He'll have the press talking about it, and the designers who support him posting clients to it. Monetize it by allowing the clients to pay to remove themselves.

      You know, like those Mugshot sites. Or the Better Business Bureau.

      At least that's what I would do if it was my 15 minutes in this situation, because I sure as hell wouldn't be working as a web designer again.
      Agree with this! Great idea!!
      Signature
      SEO Kev
      Small business SEO / Web Marketing Tips.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770756].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sparkah
    #1. WOW. Frank is really good at typography!

    #2. You never have to go that far: I ALWAYS START every client relationship with a glowing positive review about them on my blog.

    You might wonder what that has to do with the price of...

    a. they love the review so much they treat me well
    b. the implied threat that I can change that review at any time looms </evil>
    Signature

    I'm a writer for Forbes and Fast Company.
    Also, I did this: My deepest darkest SEO SECRETS --- https://youtu.be/vl3tswPLJWM

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770728].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author nasuryono
    It's essential to be clear up front about payment terms, etc.

    I do this with all my offline clients. I deliver on time and I expect them to pay on time.

    That's the deal.
    Signature
    ----------------------------------------


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7770746].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    This designer showed neurotic behavior, after making the mistake of not getting paid before working. Two mistakes, one after another, but there are people who believe that he was ‘defending a cause’.






    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7771316].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Yeah, he was defending a cause... his constitutionally-protected freedom of jackassery.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7771320].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author GetMoreCustomers
    I don't have anything to remark about the story, because I haven't finished reading the article yet. I just want to point out that I go to a Fitness SF gym and they're mighty fine.

    The "Fitness SF" chain actually used to be Gold's Gym franchises, but they got tired of the franchise fee and split. I think they publicly said they split off because of Gold's Gym's stance on gay rights issues, but that's very questionable.
    Signature
    Get More Customers - Promote Your Website, Business, or Product (website under construction)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7771552].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author preets
    I don't think this is the right way to take out your frustration. Firstly it is our mistake that we did not asked to advance payment. Though this does not mean that such person can be spared. Recently, I have also came across such situation, I did the work I got from a Warrior Member and did not asked for upfront payment. After I completed his work, I send the Invoice but he did not pay my invoice and also changed his Username and Password for his hosting and wordpress I contacted him several times through skype, email, facebook but he did not responded. I was very annoyed and wanted to name him publicly but my ethics did not allow me to do so. If someone wants to know his name, he/she can PM me and I will disclose his name for the sake of avoiding another fraud.

    Can anybody tell me where I can report.

    Thanks

    Preeti
    Signature
    BUY HIGH QUALITY BACKLINKS | Party Supplies Singapore | Affordable SEO Services
    Wordpress Developer | Sales Page Designing | Affiliate Site Development | HTML Website |
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7771599].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    None of us here know the full story so it's very easy for us to pick a side but without knowing who was actually in the wrong, it's very hard to make an educated comment.

    If the business was not paying what they were supposed to and had not removed his work from their site, good on him. Too many people let customers walk all over them nowadays. Nice to see someone taking a stand.

    But again, we don't know the full story. Ofcourse the gym is going to come out with a statement saying it was his fault. Any business with half a brain would do that. But I find it very odd that someone who had been paid properly would go to these lengths. That's why I am not believing the gyms comeback.

    As for the people saying this will ruin his reputation... are you kidding? This will all be forgotten about in a few days time. I bet you if I asked you this guys name in 3 weeks time you'd draw a blank face at me. You know you would. This will not make one bit of difference to his reputation apart from the new clients he gets as a result of him taking a stand.

    On the other side of the coin, this could all just be a well organized publicity stunt. It's been done before.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7771616].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      As for the people saying this will ruin his reputation... are you kidding? This will all be forgotten about in a few days time. I bet you if I asked you this guys name in 3 weeks time you'd draw a blank face at me. You know you would. This will not make one bit of difference to his reputation apart from the new clients he gets as a result of him taking a stand.
      Whether I remember his name or not isn't important. I don't have to.

      Even if I wanted to hire him, all I would have to do is search on his name, and this little hissy fit would come up front and center. At which point I would think more than twice befor hiring him.

      New clients as a result of taking a stand? I think potential clients would worry about whether he has an encore in him, and that they would be the latest "stand".

      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      On the other side of the coin, this could all just be a well organized publicity stunt. It's been done before.
      And it will be done again.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7774977].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Whether I remember his name or not isn't important. I don't have to.

        Even if I wanted to hire him, all I would have to do is search on his name, and this little hissy fit would come up front and center. At which point I would think more than twice befor hiring him.
        I doubt most of his clients come from searching his name on Google. Even when people found this web design agency, do you really think the average person would go and Google the owners name? I don't think so.

        As others rightfully commented below the article, the only people who would have a problem hiring someone like this are those who don't want to pay him. If you pay him then there shouldn't be any problems.

        I wouldn't hesitate hiring this guy. At least he sticks up for his rights and isn't just a yes man like far too many developers and vendors on the Internet. We need more people like this guy.

        I find it odd the number of people who are against what this guy did and are product vendors or service providers themselves. You don't like people standing up for what is rightfully theirs? Why on earth would this guy waste his time doing all of this if he had been paid on time.

        I say good on him. Why let clients walk all over you.

        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        New clients as a result of taking a stand? I think potential clients would worry about whether he has an encore in him, and that they would be the latest "stand".
        I very much doubt it. I can almost guarantee you as a result of this exposure this guy would have gained a lot more clients than he has lost. Anyone who saw the story and didn't like his stance would just never use him, but they never knew about him before. The people who read it and did like his stance now know about him and can hire him.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7775455].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author IMSince2003
    As a businessman and also as a client, that is a stupid, stupid move. I would never ever do that. It is so unprofessional and childish. If you really had a legitimate beef, then a plain "This site is temporarily unavailable." message would have gotten the message across loud and clear.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7775473].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics