03 Feb Are you a bank, or a designer?
So I have a client (should put “had” but somehow he’s still classified as a client), who basically didn’t renew his domain. Phoned me in horror, asked me to locate it, purchase it, add hosting, setup email accounts, re-upload website, and then let him know the details.
We spent a day trying to locate the domain, had to get hold of all sorts of ID and such in order to prove ownership of the domain. Spent further hours setting up email remotely, on client’s PC, and this client is about as computer literate as a dyslexic giraffe… he didn’t even know where the “return” button was.
Anyway, a lot of time spent. We then produce a bill, only charging for around 2 hours work, along with hosting and domain purchase. A mere £260+vat. Client went quiet for about 5 weeks. Numerous emails, nothing back. 3 weeks more, a gold old fashioned letter was sent. 2 more weeks, still nothing. Has he died? He could have died. He’s old. Like 70+ old. Maybe his bizarre eyebrows finally took over his face and suffocated him? Anyway, another week goes by, and we decide to take action and stop email and turn off website. Something I truly hate doing. I hate conflict, and I always see the good in people, and just assume there must be some valid reason for them acting like a complete tosser.
Sure enough, we get a panicked phone call. “I have no email, this is not good enough, highly unprofessional and unacceptable”. Ok, calm down there Captain Highground! We explain that we’ve actually spent our own money on his products, we’d spent more time than we invoiced (cos we’re nice – or dumb – like that), and made you a priority despite some very high profile projects. We sent you a small bill, for something that is paramount to you running a successful business, or unsuccessful as this appears to be, nevertheless, you NEED EMAIL TO DO BUSINESS. So without this you’d be sat looking at a blank screen. He then went on to explain financial difficulties. Ok, I can sympathise with this, running your own business is hard as fuck, proper stressful, if the guy had told me from the outset maybe we’d have done things differently. But it was clear, he expected me to folk out for these costs, and he’ll “pay when I get some money in, probably in 2 months or so”.
How hard up is this guy? Sorry *insert generic name here* but that’s unacceptable, you at least have to cover the costs we’ve incurred, and we’ll wait to be paid on our time. ”I can pay you £10 a month over the next few years”. Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?!?
He was serious.
At this point I’m really struggling not to explode. You need to find a different solution, we can’t support your business. We are a small business ourselves, if all our clients worked like that, we’d soon be out of business. And in 2 years time, you would have accrued more costs with us on hosting and domain renewals alone. Turns out his wife was going to drop some cash with us to cover £70 of the bill. Thanks!
A few days pass. Then on a Saturday nevertheless… I get a stroppy email. “My email is working, but I’m not getting many enquiries. I’d like to meet with you to discuss my options. This has clearly had a negative effect on my business, and I’m very upset. I think a lot of my clients must think I’ve gone out of business. I think we should meet for lunch at the pub and talk like men, to find the best solution in going forward.”
What? Is this guy for real? Right, so you lost your domain, got me to track it down, get you back up and running, don’t pay the bill, see negative down turn in work flow and enquiries… all of which is seemingly my fault, and now… YOU WANT TO GO TO BLOODY LUNCH!!?!? How about you pay the rest of your bill before going out to lunch? Or are you looking for another meal ticket (literally) and I’ll pick up the tab? I’m half tempted to go, order lobster thermidor, kobe beef and a nice Dom Perignon 2003 and leave him with the bill.
Good client hey?