Lately, I've had a few local business consulting gigs fall into my lap... not usually one to turn down money but I'll tell you, I'm rethinking that policy. I'm beginning to lean toward Gary Halbert's eloquent philosophy about clients:
(hmm... can somebody help me remember how that goes?)
Oh, I remember: All Clients Suck!
Since I've started accepting clients again (last year I promised myself I was done!), I've seen my revenue slide on my affiliate sites, I've all but abandoned my weekly audio show, and my blood pressure's so high I'm surprised my eyes aren't bulging out of the sockets.
Calm Before the Storm
But this latest client takes the cake. Sitting next to the pool a week and a half ago, he pushed a check for $1,250 across my patio table (one-time fee... 2nd half will be due in 90 days for developing the site and some DFY services).
Sounds okay so far, but little did I know -- I was going to regret that transaction only 10 days later. First, let me back up and tell you how we got to the patio table in the first place...
Wait. On second thought- no 'loops' (ha, I do it without even thinking now...). VERY quickly: client was a friend of a friend... one day about 4 months ago I was goofing around, experimenting with Animoto and decided to make the vid about this guy's business brand -- emailed it to him on a lark -- and he's been buying me lunch every 3 or 4 weeks and riddling me with marketing questions ever since!
Not kidding - totally haven't pursued this guy's business -- too busy with other stuff... but there I was, 10 days ago, accepting the check.
Shook hands and I told him I'd email him the contract that day, which he should return with digital signature (btw, does anyone else do this? Beats the heck out of paperwork and faxing, imo).
Thereafter, the agreement was that I would send him a Paypal subscription link for my monthly fee for ongoing services, and once he paid that, the project would commence. (He would also put me in touch with the graphic designer he was already working with, so we could synchronize and get started.)
Well... 24 hours goes by... no contract returned. 48 hours... nothing. I email him a reminder... 3 days... I text him... nothing. finally after 4 days I text him again asking if everything was ok, and his email silently appears in my inbox with digital signature. With no other comment/explanation from him, mind you.
So, I deploy the Paypal link... email him that, figuring I was really in for a wait, now. Long story short, after more emails, texts and voicemail (and 9 days of waiting) I get a Paypal notification of payment yesterday, the graphic designer's info -- AND -- get this: a voicemail from him saying: IT'S BEEN TWO WEEKS, WHY ISN'T ANYTHING DONE.
I know some of you have been here before and you're chuckling at me right now aren't you. It's ok. You know, I have renewed respect for you gents and ladies who deal with these folks on a regular basis...
I got him on the phone and, so as not to bore you with all 20 minutes of the conversation, here's the condensed version:
Him: why didn't you start the project, I didn't know you weren't going to start without the other payment
Me: we discussed this, plus the contract explicitly says it
Him: well there should be a special note clearly stating that!
Me: the contract has a special note clearly stating that.
Him: well you should have gone ahead and started the project anyway, I gave you 1,250 dollars! how much money do you need?? - I'm really busy, so you should have contacted me to let me know you weren't starting
Me: contract states how much money begins your project - and I texted, emailed and called
Him: you should have been more aggressive and really gotten after me
Me: that would be pushy. we both knew the next steps, I respect my clients enough not to 'hound' them.
Him: that's exactly what I need! Hound me!
Me: *blank stare at phone* uh, ok? :confused:
I gotta say, I spent much of the rest of the day deciding on whether to just refund him now, or not.
I kinda felt like the project would be fun, because he's in the entertainment biz (which I came from), and the site and marketing concept I have planned will be a way cool addition to my portfolio/experience list. Not to mention the additional stories I'm sure will come out of this.
Refund him and shake his hand?
The guy was late with his deliverables and, instead of owning up, twisted things every way he could think of to make it my fault. Not a good sign.
What say you?