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More Whining about Lousy Clients1148

Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I have whined about clients here before.

What do you do when a client goes weird on you?

Sometimes I hate clients. <= not my thread but I joined in.

What to do when stiffed by a client.

More whining...

A client went missing. No response. No nothing.

I found out today that he has reached out directly to one of my workerbees to try and work around me, cut me out of the loop. Argh....

Whatever happened to trust?

I work and I trust people to pay. I am done with that model.

Going forward...I get paid and they can trust me to deliver the work.

Unless you have a better idea?

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Member Newzmonkeys private msg quote post Address this user
People can be very fickle and they don't see the bigger picture. Its a small world and everybody's got to live. Some people may try to cut you out to win in the short term. They forget that there is always another day when they might need you and you're not going to be there. So don't change the way you do business just because there are some shady people around. Keep on doing what you're doing after all its worked well for you this far.
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I had a "Come to Jesus" meeting with my accountant today.

Getting paid 'after the fact' isn't working any more.

Paid up front seems to be the new model.

Or maybe someone can create an escrow system ... hmm...
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Member dono2081 private msg quote post Address this user
@belew -- What you are describing is complex, so seeking simple solutions is just frustrating. Instead, I use the "trust and verify" approach. It goes something like this:

Step 1: Negotiate an agreement. Summarize and verify the agreement in writing (you can call this a memo, a memo of understanding aka "MOU," or a contract). Include in this agreement progress payments. Typically they are xx% up front, then xx% when you hit a milestone, then a small percent at the end. The specific percentages are up to you, and I use 50 percent up front (sometimes 30), then 40 percent at the halfway point, then 10 percent at completion. The purpose of these progress payments is to observe the client's behavior -- things rarely improve after the contract is signed, so if the client is late with the contract, they are likely to be late with payment.

Step 2: Monitor your client's behavior carefully. If they are late -- even a little -- with their commitments, you MUST put a halt to all work and check in with them. But don't forget that they have (unspoken) expectations of reminder emails, invoices, regular updates on 'how is it going?' etc., etc. You have to show up to them consistently and keep yourself top of mind / top of inbox to prevent the spectre of "What am I paying this guy for?"

Step 3: Delivery. I never deliver the final product until after I'm fully paid. I recently had a client ask me for username and password to all the content I had created for him; I reminded him that he would get access to the goodies after final payment was made. It's in my contract. He was still upset, claiming some kind of trust violation. And he's right, he was trying to violate my trust.

End result: After his fit, he waited a few days and then sent me the check, and he got his log in credentials same day I got the check, and I verified that he got them and knew how to log in and get his stuff.

Some might fear that by pissing the client off, I will lose future work with him/her. Did I lose this client? I wouldn't call it that. The client and I have separate objectives and priorities. I would not be surprised if s/he looks for another vendor, gets some kind of result, and I hope it's a good one.

But in my experience it's more likely that the quality of my delivered product, plus the quality and clarity of my communications and the ease with which clients can work with me, most often results in them returning, sooner or later. And by then, not surprisingly, my rates have gone up.


ps. I encourage you to add to your contract a $10,000 fee if the client wants to hire one of your team directly. This is a pretty standard fee for a recruiter. The client shouldn't get to hire someone you trained on your dime without paying for the training. It's a nice deterrent.
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user

I think I am somewhere between #2 and #3 above... #3 is ongoing.

I have implemented the $10K in the past and it worked.

People just don't keep their promises.

Overall yours is a very good strategy.

BTW ... is it Tuesday yet?
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Top Contributor Steve private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew Simple solution is stop putting your writers together with your clients, use a VA to act as the client liaison and populate clients websites with the content created by others.

I see this as ...

1. Client - the client doesn't value what you are doing, they can see your contractor working but they are not seeing the added value you are bringing to the table. I have found this is typically because you are not communicating exactly what you are doing for the client.

2. Contractor - If you have a contractor that accepts such an offer, it simply means they aren't trust worthy, and don't see the added benefit of working with you ... i.e. potentially multiple clients, long term relationship, etc...

Just a few thoughts ... I've been through this myself, I actually find getting trust worthy contractors that can deliver long term the hardest part of business. Most people start of doing great work which then slides...
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Member tienny private msg quote post Address this user
@belew That's what my friend suggested to me to ask for the full payment. Then deliver the result.
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Teacher Rev private msg quote post Address this user
My process is similar to @dono2081. I tend to work on 50% up front, balance when work is substantially complete. Works for me.
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