Am I being unreasonable with this client?

47 replies
I've built a $6000 website for a client. The site is completed and he still owes me a final payment of $1500.

Our agreement was that I would arrange hosting with my own hosting company. But just prior to completing the site, the client told me wants to host with Godaddy, as he's heard how great they are.

So, reluctantly, I moved everything to Godaddy and made the site live. Unfortunately, it was giving some errors in Internet Explorer. So I've switched the A record back to my cpanel hosting and it's working perfectly.

The client is now nagging me to move it back to Godaddy, and work with their support to fix the errors. I've told him I can't guarantee it will work on Godaddy, since I'm not familiar with their hosting.

I've even offered him a year's free hosting to leave it on my cpanel host, since the cost in terms of my time in messing around to get it working on Godaddy is worth more than a year's hosting.

But no joy so far. The client still has this final $1500 payment, which he won't release until I get his site moved and working on Godaddy.

However, I still hold the trump card because I can take his website offline until he pays me the final $1500.

This is what I'm very close to doing. So am I being unreasonable?
#client #unreasonable
  • Profile picture of the author aharrold
    Just move the domain to Godaddy, it's not THAT hard- try to avoid confrontations with clients if you can.
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    • Profile picture of the author plainwords
      I've already moved it to Godaddy. The problem is, Godaddy's PHP setup is different from the cpanel host, and some of the form functions don't work correctly in IE on Godaddy... but it works perfectly on the cpanel host. So I have been trying to get Goadday support to figure out why it's not working correctly. i.e. a lot of wasted time.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by plainwords View Post

        I've already moved it to Godaddy. The problem is, Godaddy's PHP setup is different from the cpanel host, and some of the form functions don't work correctly in IE on Godaddy... but it works perfectly on the cpanel host. So I have been trying to get Goadday support to figure out why it's not working correctly. i.e. a lot of wasted time.
        If the agreement said your hosting as you said here is what I would do/suggest.

        "Mr. Customer I can get the site to work fine on my hosting which is what we originally agreed you would use.. I understand that now you wish to go with GoDaddy hosting and that is fine with me so here are the two options I see. You can choose to go with my hosting where I can ensure the proper operation of the website or you can choose to go with godaddy hosting. But please be aware that during a test on Godaddy it appears that certain things will not function properly and after a reasonable attempt to make them work with help from GoDaddy's support I cannot.

        So if you choose GoDaddy's hosting I can not guarantee it will function 100% correctly. Now once it is live on GoDaddy you can, if you wish, pay me $$$ per hour to attempt to correct the problem but since this is outside the scope of the original contract I can not do it within the context of the original fee. You also could contact GoDaddy and see if they would offer a free or paid service to fix the compatibility issues between the website and their hosting.

        The choose in all cases is yours. Are you ready to decide now or would you like 48 hours to think the choices over?"
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  • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
    I refuse to work with sites on Godaddy. Customers are on their own. Too much non-standard propriety crap, and I'm not wasting my time. It's a horrible host.

    I would just remove the site, and not back down.

    "The balance due is $1,500. Please remit payment to unsuspend your site."

    and if they pay

    "Your site has been uploaded to the host you've requested.
    If something does not work correctly, you'll need to contact Godaddy support."
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Make it right on GoDaddy. Give best efforts. $1500 is not worth ruining your good name. Which can VERY easily happen if your Client chooses to.

    Sure, you can hold his website hostage. And even more easily, he can hold your reputation hostage. Google search can be terribly unforgiving.

    How long did it take to build your reputation? Because in a few of hours it can be destroyed. Taking years to rebuild.

    - Rick Duris
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    • Profile picture of the author plainwords
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Make it right on GoDaddy. Give best efforts. $1500 is not worth ruining your good name. Which can VERY easily happen if your Client chooses to.

      Sure, you can hold his website hostage. And even more easily, he can hold your reputation hostage. Google search can be terribly unforgiving.

      How long did it take to build your reputation? Because in a few of hours it can be destroyed. Taking years to rebuild.

      - Rick Duris
      Actually, that is a very good point. I live in a city of 350,000 people, which is small enough that my reputation could easily be affected if this client wanted to. Although I'm hot headed by nature I'm going to sit on this one for a day or two.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by plainwords View Post

        Actually, that is a very good point. I live in a city of 350,000 people, which is small enough that my reputation could easily be affected if this client wanted to. Although I'm hot headed by nature I'm going to sit on this one for a day or two.
        You will never be able to please every customer which is why reputation management is something you have to proactively address in advance.

        This is outside the original contract. yes as a customer courtesy I would try to fix the problem in a reasonable time frame. But after doing that you just need to be honest with the client.

        If they choose to leave you negative reviews there is nothing you can do besides to reply calmly and honestly to the ones you can. If you state the facts and how you tried to fix the problem that will likely help you land business. Especially if you have a load of positive reviews. The one negative will stand out and your reply will show you are a pro-active professional. And that you are not who to hire if they want to use GoDaddy for hosting.

        But don't let fear of a client hold you back from doing what is right. if you feel the customer deserves more maybe give them a 1,500 discount, aka what they still own you. But don't bend over backwards when they decided to use a host that you do not support.
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        • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
          Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

          But don't let fear of a client hold you back from doing what is right. if you feel the customer deserves more maybe give them a 1,500 discount, aka what they still own you. But don't bend over backwards when they decided to use a host that you do not support.
          Well said Aaron. The customer is NOT always right. Personally, I won't let unreasonable people take advantage of me. Do what you believe is right, fair and reasonable regardless of the possible consequences. Otherwise, you will lose self respect.
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    • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Make it right on GoDaddy. Give best efforts. $1500 is not worth ruining your good name. Which can VERY easily happen if your Client chooses to.
      A. $1,500 is quite a bit of money.

      B. Godaddy is garbage. Unless the site is plain Jane HTML, there's often no way to "make it right" because of their servers. They run proprietary junk, and have tons of draconian limits of what can run.

      C. Your reputation isn't worth crap if you use low-quality vendors like Godaddy, and do whatever asinine thing the customer insists on. Your new reputation will be that you're a slave that does as he's told. What's next? Fix their computer because email doesn't work? (You think I'm joking?) You need to nip this in the bud before it gets worse. (And it WILL get worse.)

      These are the kinds of clients you need to divorce.
      These are the ones that appear on clientsforhell.net almost daily!

      I'll say it again but in a different way. Take the high road. Always take the high road. - Rick Duris
      In this field, that is NOT the "high road". It's the stupid road. You have a warped idea of professionalism. In other words, the customer is always right -- except when he's wrong. This time, he's wrong.

      Actually, that is a very good point. I live in a city of 350,000 people, which is small enough that my reputation could easily be affected if this client wanted to.
      That's large, not small -- 35k is small, not 350k.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I'll say it again but in a different way.

    Take the high road. Always take the high road.

    - Rick Duris
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Will Godaddy charge to make it work and if so, is the client willing to pay for that?

    Personally, I'd tell him all why you do not recommend Godaddy and that it will likely end up costing him more because of their proprietary stuff - regardless of who the webmaster is.

    If he posts a negative review, then explain if you have to, that he chose to change your original agreement and go with an inferior hosting company with the incompatible coding after you had the site built...
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      Rick is right.

      Just do it and make it work.

      I have no technical knowledge at all.

      If I ask you to make a website and you say it won't work on another host I would have alarm bells going off in my head.

      If you said 'ok but I need to make a couple of tweaks' I would think fine, but to say it won't work even after working with their support is something very different.

      Is there some simple analogy you could use to explain why your site will work on one and not the other?

      eg Everyone from a child to a pensioner knew VHS wouldn't work on Betamax

      Don't know if what I have written makes sense, but I can imagine the person is thinking what I am thinking.

      Dan

      PS: PHP and Cpanel mean zilch to me so won't mean anything to him either.
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      • Profile picture of the author Wendy Hearn
        Just another thought to add to the great advice so far:

        I wonder why he isn't happy to use your hosting, perhaps he's had problems with previous hosting that he doesn't control? A number of clients and prospects have had previous problems whereby they bought a website that was hosted for them and later they had no access to it for changes, couldn't get support or even replies to emails to make changes. He may have heard of these problems from business colleagues and wants to avoid them.

        This isn't necessarily a reflection of you or the work you've done but he may not be sure where he'll stand in the future.

        As Godaddy is a pain to work with particularly with their PHP setup, how about suggesting another hosting company to him that has PHP setup the way you need it to be? Then you can easily transfer it there.

        Wendy
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    So to the OP, is it you that cannot fathom out how to sort the technical issues, or is it Go Daddy that are not helping you to supply them with a new client?

    What is it that the client has heard about GD that makes him so insistent on using them when they're already proving their ineptitude and clearly don't value his new business enough to (help) sort the issue out .

    Does he really understand what he's letting himself in for , send him copies of the communications you have had with GD over this one issue, let him see how unhelpful they are being already (presuming they are from your words) , then ask him again whether he wants to put his business in their hands or leave it in 'yours' for maybe a reduced lets call it quits and live happily ever after amount outstanding.

    If he still goes GD then he's an idiot and whilst I agree with Ricks moral stance, very few people listen to idiots, apart from other idiots.

    Alternatively you could continue to sort it, he still owes you the money and insist on three personal (he makes the intro call with you present) recommendations as a thankyou
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    Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author daavidz
    Better to spend a few hours setting up gdaddy shitty hosting than have a bad rep with the client. (even tho he is a client from hell)
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  • No biggie. He's changed the original deal. Clients do that. You just need to recast a new agreement that reflects what you can or can't do under his new guidelines. As Aaron suggested, work up a new contract or fee agreement that outlines what you charge to handle this new deal and off you go.

    That said, I don't know that I would spend forever and a day trying to get it to work on GoDaddy. These situations quickly turn in to a black hole of time. It's not just the money. I'm guessing you don't want to be tweaking GoDaddy's quirks for the rest of your life. Wendy also has a good suggestion: What is it about Godaddy they are so juiced about, and can you offer the same or better on another platform they would also like?
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    • Profile picture of the author deu12000
      Another suggestion would be find him another 3rd party host that gets great reviews that is compatible with the site you made. You can tell them that since the original agreement was for your hosting, you created the site to be compatible to your hosting, but since GoDaddy uses proprietary systems it has created an issue with the way the site runs. If they're dead set on not using your hosting, you suggest <insert affiliate link> another highly respected hosting company that is compatible with their site. If you need to make changes to get the site to work with GoDaddy you will give them 2 hours of free credit but if it takes longer they are responsible for overage charges.
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  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    You have some good options listed above, but I will say with Go Daddy hosting, unless you have a very simple HTML site, you will never get your problems resolved correctly.

    I have worked with clients that have used them in the past and the end result is they have server security so tight (mainly because they don't know what they are doing) that any type of script will not function like it was written.

    And trying to get support to correct is useless.

    Good luck if client insists on using them.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Godaddy is the worst hosting ever. I know hardly anyone who would say Godaddy is recommended hosting. Your client is misinformed. I've had simple blogs installed on Godaddy with nothing but problems and moved them to cpanel hosting and up in a flash. I'd try to convince him ... show him ... that people who know, don't use Godaddy hosting.
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      Godaddy is the worst hosting ever. I know hardly anyone who would say Godaddy is recommended hosting. Your client is misinformed. I've had simple blogs installed on Godaddy with nothing but problems and moved them to cpanel hosting and up in a flash. I'd try to convince him ... show him ... that people who know, don't use Godaddy hosting.
      With all these kinds of statements about Godaddy, from very experienced people, it seems
      that you would be acting in the client's best interest - protecting the client from costs,
      headaches, browser compatibility issues, and downtime ... - by giving your strongest
      professional opinion that he use other hosting.

      Again, he is the one trying to change horses in mid-stream.

      Perhaps suggest two or three other hosting companies and provide reviews.

      I had a prospect/friend/on low budget who tried their Website Tonite product and that
      was a nightmare for her. Later, she had someone build a site for her and they tried
      Godaddy hosting. Again, nightmares and they switched hosting.

      Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinInTexas
    Make the site live on your hosting and demand he pay the balance.

    Stand firm and tell him you cannot move the site to nodaddy. If he wants to change the contract, offer to do it at an hourly rate that is acceptable to you.

    If he doesn't pay you for the work that you have done, let his reputation ride on letting it be known that he won't pay his bills. You might even be able to find someone on fiverr to walk outside his business with a sign

    He has no complaint with which to damage your reputation as long as his site is up and running.

    Sent him a link to this thread during your discussion.
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    Robin



    ...Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just set there.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    Fulfill your contract as written.

    Additional work or movement is a new agreement.

    If you fulfill as written, and he refuses to pay you, small claims court is less than $200.

    I am flexible with clients and do my best to help them. I have even given refunds where I didn't have to because someone wasn't happy.

    But, changing the deal and threatening not to pay you? It's illegal. It's hostile. It is in bad faith. You do not have to lay down to these sorts of people.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I'd ask him which expert he heard it from that Godaddy is awesome hosting, and politely point out that he hired you to design his web site for 6 grand and if he trusted you to do all that, why isn't he trusting you on the hosting decision?

    Explain to him that while Godaddy has a great name and reputation their hosting plans are really set up for basic sites, which he didn't hire you for. Ask him to at least consider moving to another hosting, perhaps Hostgator.

    The key here is to take him back to why he hired you, if you do it right he'll realize he's being silly and stick with whatever you recommend.
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  • Profile picture of the author isosales
    Ok I am going to look at this from the clients side for just a second and take another approach at this.. Not saying its RIGHT but this might be what they are thinking..

    I just agreed to pay you $6,000.00 for a website, I owe you $1,500.00 so I am still out $4,500.00 so far. I originally agreed to have you host my website and I shouldn't be requesting this but I want it to be hosted on another host. Maybe I think Godaddy will be more reputable, maybe I think they will be around longer.. Who knows? I've got my reasons and at the end of the day I want what I want. And look at that.. you agreed to it.

    You then attempt to move the site over to Godaddy per my request and suddenly the website doesn't work right. This throws up a RED FLAG in my mind. What if I put the website back on your hosting now to make sure it works right but in the future I HAVE TO move to another host... say because you close shop, etc..? Will I have a website that will not function correctly? It will be useless.. I am going to have a useless website.

    So now I am at the point where I still owe you $1,500.00 - Why on earth would I pay for a website that in my mind is not functioning correctly? I want to make sure its compatible and works 110% before sealing the deal with a final payment.

    -End of scenario

    I'm not saying you aren't doing everything you can.. If I were you I would attempt to do what he requested since you already agreed to it and in the future write into your contracts that hosting will be at X and if you want to move it to X you will be responsible for A,B,C..

    At the end of the day you just want them to be happy and to lose the headache..

    Best of luck with this situation, I am sure it will work out.
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    • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
      Originally Posted by isosales View Post

      I originally agreed to have you host my website
      This is the crux of the situation. The client is requesting things NOT included. That's on him. That's not the designer's responsibility. I'd have never even tried, and told them no when the request is first made.

      The site works, as the designer can host the site, and it works great. The site likely will work great at most other standard cPanel hosts, too. But Godaddy isn't a standard host. The end.

      Since he's not finished paying, he doesn't get the work yet. Standard stuff.

      There is no "client side". This isn't opinions, this is facts.

      Godaddy is a problem host. If you use them, even for VPS/dedicated, you'll guaranteed have MORE issues ahead of you. Even if you cow down and agree (stupid), I would not pay it, and would refuse to be a middleman for hosting. If the client insists on that host, fine, let him setup his own plan and use them. Otherwise, that's double stupid.

      The only decent idea in this thread is to have the client pay hourly. But given the client doesn't pay on time, I'd pass. Just write this one off as a future client. What you're left with now is (A) He pay and goes away. (B) He doesn't pay and goes away. Either way, it's time to divorce this person. He's a time vampire.

      This idea of "please the client no matter what" is bad business. Otherwise you spend time doing things you don't want to, and keep you from doing more important (profitable) things.

      Stop being desperate to get money no matter what. This is the kind of stupidity that leads to fiverr.com and other online slave wage mills. You're not working, you're someone else's b!tch. In this case, the client, should you do all this foolishness for no extra pay.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    You know what, isosales kind of has a good point...

    We've all been doing this longer than our customers. We know there are plenty of good reasons not to use GoDaddy ... but our customers don't see that the way we do. They see a large, successful company with millions of customers. It's a tough sell to convince them that you, the little guy who makes $XX,XXX or $XXX,XXX per year provides a better, more reliable service than the company that makes $XXX,XXX,XXX per year.

    The answer may be as simple as "GoDaddy doesn't support some of the technology we used on your site on their low-end plans, we would need to switch to a higher plan for this to work" - and maybe that's all it is and you're done.

    What I have seen customers do is switch the hosting so it's out of your control before final payment, then never pay - and if you already uploaded the site elsewhere then you've lost your only bargaining chip. It's up to you to gauge whether or not that's the case here, or if your customer is truly just concerned about portability.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobinInTexas
    Would it work on a Godaddy dedicated server?

    Maybe he's demanding an inadequate shared server for the site you built to his specifications.
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    ...Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just set there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Shelton
    It is crazy-making when this sort of stuff happens with a client. What I've always done is switch into "super-helpful" mode, and in this case show them in several different modalities how your hosting is better for them in the long run

    - would it be too far-fetched or too much work possibly to make a screen-capture video, demonstrating and praising how well the website is working and how they made such a wise choice, giving benefits of what the website is going to do for them?

    Example script: "You can see how smoothly your website is working, it gives just the right feel, it does this and this and that, and all of this is with the major asset of the hosting of our original agreement."

    Notice that it doesn't say "my" hosting or "your" hosting, but "original agreement" hosting.

    Taking it further would be to demonstrate it NOT working correctly perhaps in a subdomain on the godaddy hosting - nothing like show and tell.

    Just an idea for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author isosales
    @Kpmedia

    Originally Posted by plainwords View Post

    So, reluctantly, I moved everything to Godaddy and made the site live. Unfortunately, it was giving some errors in Internet Explorer.
    Thats where it got complicated. I agree with you, however. At the point the request wade made to move to another server, lines should have been drawn and implemented into a new, modified, agreement.
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    • Profile picture of the author RWBiggs
      Why not move it to Goddy and also provide the hosting free for a year also. But tell the client that he has to deal with goddy on problems, not you. Consider that you're remaining money due is lost. So what. Get another client. Since the client didn't live up to his end of the bargain, it's time to part ways. He will come back to you at some point if your hosting is better than gddy. At least you haven't totally burned your bridges and you may have a chance to make even more money from the client.
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      • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
        Originally Posted by RWBiggs View Post

        Why not move it to Goddy ... Consider that you're remaining money due is lost.
        Why would you sign up with Godaddy (extra cost) only to get nothing from a deadbeat client?
        That's make no sense. :rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author RWBiggs
          Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post

          Why would you sign up with Godaddy (extra cost) only to get nothing from a deadbeat client?
          That's make no sense. :rolleyes:
          Didn't you say that's what the client wanted? To be hosted on Godaddy.
          And didn't you try to sell him your hosting service and offer the client 1 year free?

          Then give him the year free and let him go to godaddy hosting. But let him
          know that you won't service the account if its at godaddy. You didn't agree to host it on godaddy. Tell him that.

          From my point of view, you need to let the client go. But give him what you promised. Hosting on your site for 1 year.
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  • Profile picture of the author NellyColby
    It depends on what the initial terms of your agreement were. Did you mention any restriction related to hosting? If not, your client may be right.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    No offense, but he paid you for a functional website. Not just something he can use on your hosting. You got paid $6k, and you won't work with godaddy support to make him happy? Call me crazy but if he's got a 6k budget for a website, I'm going to do all i can to keep this guy in LOVE with my services so I can hit him with a $1000+ month web marketing package.
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    • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
      Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post

      Not just something he can use on your hosting.
      Godaddy has lots of proprietary crap on their servers. The site built by the OP probably works on most hosts -- just not that one. In fact, by making it work on Godaddy, it likely will end up not working properly anywhere else!

      Perhaps before commenting, folks need to understand the problem with that host.

      Things not working = fairly common with them.

      If I were forced to use Godaddy, I'd tack at least several more grand to the bill. Why? Because it takes all kind of crazy workarounds, wastes lots of time, and is a general nuisance and time-suck.
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post

      No offense, but he paid you for a functional website. Not just something he can use on your hosting. You got paid $6k, and you won't work with godaddy support to make him happy? Call me crazy but if he's got a 6k budget for a website, I'm going to do all i can to keep this guy in LOVE with my services so I can hit him with a $1000+ month web marketing package.
      If you re-read OP:

      The original agreement was for hosting on OP's hosting.

      The client put in a change order.

      The client has not paid the last $1500 of the $6000.

      Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post

      No offense, but he paid you for a functional website. Not just something he can use on your hosting. You got paid $6k, and you won't work with godaddy support to make him happy? Call me crazy but if he's got a 6k budget for a website, I'm going to do all i can to keep this guy in LOVE with my services so I can hit him with a $1000+ month web marketing package.
      If he wants a fully functional website, he has to leave Godaddy. The website is not the problem. Godaddy hosting is, and that's from experience with clients trying to use Godaddy hosting.
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      • Profile picture of the author Randyorton1989
        I'm sure you can make more than $1500 elsewhere. Dont waste time on such people.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    so anyway to the OP< any chance of coming back and letting us know what you're doing? please
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    Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Maybe the client is worried about having it on your hosting. Some customers have gotten screwed by designers that have control over their sites and domains and he may know that. Offer to set it up on Hostgator or anyone else other than you that has cpanel and other than Godaddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Porphyrogenitus
    Firstly, go by what the contract says.

    However, if its vague or a contract doesn't exist, then unless this is some outrageously advanced and large site, which I doubt it is for $6,000, if I was in your situation I would outsource making the site compatible and just give it to the client. Your reputation is worth more, but make sure the client understands you're going through extra trouble just to satisfy them. Make sure they'll be happy, and this is all they want, if you put the site up on GD for them.

    Either call up a programmer you know, or auction the job off on a freelance site. I really doubt this will cost more than $100-500. Make sure you know the cost before approaching the client... as if you're looking at $10k you might just want to tell the client to shove it.
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  • Profile picture of the author zoobie
    Well I agree with Rick but depends how you contract wrote, you can argue you should have an additional fees.

    Anyway, I don't think contacting Godaddy support will cost much time and they should have some suggestions to solve your compatibility problems.

    By the way are you outsourcing the work or do it on your own?
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