View Full Version : Philosophical question about getting paid

02-27-2010, 07:59 AM
Sorry for posting this in here as it isn't a dreamweaver specific question but it is the most active place so I hope it is ok.

I did a job for a client that I just finished. I initially asked for $1500 USD but the client wasn't so hot on that; they suggested that we agree on at least $1000 and up to $1500 based on the amount of work involved when the job was complete (before a deadline, which I beat by a couple of days) with $500 due upfront to begin work. Finished the job today and it really kicked my ass and involved a lot of work plus a load of tiny little changes the client kept asking for which I did for them (make this text 20% lighter, 1 pt smaller, no go back and undo the changes...etc). Today I told them I was done and that I felt the work I did was worth $1500; the client says "I don't think it was worth more than $1000 so I am sending you $500 and that's it."

I emailed them to explain the work and how much there really was and now they are just flat out ignoring me. That led me to login to their hosting account and change all of their passwords including the FTP. My question is, is it wrong to take their site down and hold it hostage until I get paid in full? I don't want to but I also don't want to get ripped off.

02-27-2010, 09:14 AM
Did you have a contract?

Do you have the agreed costs in writing?

Why did you agree on a fee based on effort. You should have agreed on a fixed price. If you agree on a range the company will never pay the highest value no matter how hard you work. Big mistake.

If you dont have a written contract and the company has paid you money then you may get taken to court by kidnapping their web site.

If you have received no money from them yet you may find the company just walks leaving you with nothing.

If you are working professionally then you need to do things professionally and that means contractual agreements.

02-27-2010, 11:53 AM
I don't do this as my job, I pick up one off jobs here and there so I don't have contracts. In general I have a hard time figuring out what to charge and would rather not say a high number and lose the chance at a job. In this instance I had built a site for this person previously for $1000 and they love it and it gets 2000+ different users a month and generates a lot of business for them.

Since I trusted this person I agreed to their idea of at least $1000 and up to $1500 based on how much work it turned out to be. Since it turned out to be a lot I told them that and asked for the $1500.

So far I received the $500 up front. I am self taught and usually think that sites I build are horrible but people keep paying me and liking the results; the DW Club forums and the people here have really helped me out a lot which is why I figured I'd ask about what to do in this situation.

02-27-2010, 05:12 PM
Even if you do this part time when dealing with a business you need to protect yourself.

The reason this company keeps coming back to you is that you probably under rate yourself and that reflects by what you charge.

If you want to get into this business then draw up contracts. You can charge whatever you like but work out how much you are charging per hour as you don't want to work for minimum wage

02-27-2010, 07:35 PM
I agree, always have a contract. The very reason to have a contract is to make sure you don't end up in situations like these.

Now the good thing is that everything you've made for this website is your until you explicitly give it to your client.

If you had an open pricing range, which said up to 1500 if you had extra work with it, then that is what the price is. Bill them for the final part of the website, and don't put it live before you get your payment in full.

I think you make BIG mistake by not having contracts. It does not reflect positively on you.

02-28-2010, 01:22 AM
yes its a shame when this happens but human nature makes people not want to pay unless they have to. i run an agency and get a lot of this.
invoice and talk now it may end up in a compromise , maybe you can meet in the middle somewhere to get out of the deadlock you are in now, and write it off as paying for experience

02-28-2010, 04:18 AM
I am trying to do that edbr; unfortunately they are ignoring my emails, calls, and texts. Strongly considering taking my work down.

02-28-2010, 07:49 AM
Take it down

I'm betting you wont hear from them again


replace the site with a PORNO and change all FTP passwords

{JOKING of course}

03-01-2010, 02:43 AM
if you put a password protect on the directory maybe it would force a conversation
like grabbing a dentist by the nether regions and saying "we arent going to hurt each other are we?"

03-01-2010, 06:30 AM
Different situation, but I once got took for a mug. I used to repair computers for a couple of friends. I never did it for cash as it was only ever a hobby and most of the folk I did it for where pensioners. One day I was asked by one of these friends if I would repair a computer for an old peoples home. I did the repair and thought nothing of it. A couple of weeks later I was asked to repair a second computer for the same place. Again I did the repair but I was suspicious of the machine this time. I dont know why but I was convinced it was the same machine but somethings had been changed. For reasons I couldnt explain at the time I decided to mark the inside of the case. lo and behold a couple of weeks later I was asked again to repair a so called third machine from this home. As soon as I opened it I checked for my hidden mark. And yes it was the same machine. Each time I replaced components the pc would come back with inferior quality partsinstead of what I had put in. I said nothing but decided this time to go to the old peoples home with the pc and my so called friend. When I got there I explained to the administrators what I had replaced and the brands I had replaced them with. I think my friend got wind that I was on to him as he never came back with any machines from them again.
Anyway to cut a long story short. I met the adminsitrator of the home in the street a few days later. They asked me if the 300 I had recieved had been enough to cover my costs. I said what 300? They said the 300 they had given to my friend to pass on to me. I told them I had never been paid and that I had never asked to be paid. This so called frined had been charging them 300 a time every time I did a repair. Oh did I forget to mention that he worked for them? Well after this incident he didn't.
Moral of the story? Like other folks have said above. Check with the powers that be as to exactly what is wanted. And make sure it is in writing (no go betweens). In my case I pretty much gave up repairing for anyone as this blatent fraud upset me a lot.

03-01-2010, 05:47 PM
Id have had to take a bat to him

03-01-2010, 09:28 PM
I had to learn the hard way on this too. Always have them sign a contract, and I always request a down payment.

They are being a-holes, I don't think I'd take the site down though. Besides possible legal implications, its bad PR. I'd learn the lesson and move on.

03-01-2010, 10:12 PM
or build another site that outranks them for their search terms and funnel the traffic to a competitor.

03-02-2010, 12:51 PM
they finally got back to me today and they say the job is only worth $1000. i got $500 already to begin the work so they say they are sending me the other $500. i am so angry even though i put myself in the situation. i am holding firm on $1250, which is less than my original quote and what is the least i will settle for. i am ticked off enough now to ransom the website; i changed all the passwords for the hosting account and ftp. if they don't at least meet me half way and agree to $1250 then the site will either go down or i will put up a page that the 2000 new visitors a month to the site will see saying that the site is offline because the owner refused to pay the webdesigner. this is ridiculous already.

03-02-2010, 02:20 PM
Just be really careful mate. For all the reasons stated here.

03-02-2010, 02:51 PM
If it where me take the $1000 and cut your losses. I try to get contracts all the time it also clearly states what your going to do for the agreed costs or at least a project plan with them in writing signing of the agreement and costs.

Like the others have said always have fixed costs easier for both parties to understand.

03-03-2010, 12:23 AM
If it where me take the $1000 and cut your losses.
me too i would probably a have a last try at splitting the difference but at some point i would take the money and seethe over a bottle of scotch i bought with it then put it down to experience. i'm really not convinced about karma but you never know it might come back to bite them in the nether regions one day , does sometimes

03-03-2010, 09:56 PM
Supposedly they are paying me an additional $750, aka splitting the difference, but I won't count those chickens until they hatch. I think I might just quit doing web design stuff; too much drama and minutiae from the clients. I would rather take fewer advil and have less money.

03-03-2010, 10:11 PM
Actually it's not web design, it's clients.

In my experience working with clients is a matter of setting clear goals and expectations on both sides, then being flexible and when a client proves to be more hassle than they are worth being willing to deliver what you promised and then "fire" them. (Just knowing you can fire a client is very liberating.)

I usually deliver a fairly detailed proposal but not always in the form of a contract and I try to communicate regularly by email with clients to let them know the progress and also what information I still need from them (and warn them ahead of time if, for some reason, we'll be deviating from the proposal/budget).

In a dozen years I've only had a few major hassles and nothing that made me want to leave the business.

03-03-2010, 11:56 PM
agreed, its the nature of most if not all business im afraid

03-04-2010, 01:10 AM
i don't mind doing the actual work because it lets me be creative but so often it is so hard to figure out what a client wants since i have only ever built sites where i have to do everything from designing a logo and all the graphics, fonts, etc and then hope the client likes them so i don't have to keep redesigning things. if they have a general idea of what they want it is so much better but the people who hire me usually just know they want a website and i am supposed to guess what they'll like. pain in the bootay.

03-04-2010, 01:36 AM
Well some people are suited to working with clients and some aren't. Personally, I was a lousy employee but I get along with clients.

But, if you're working the low end of the pay scale (and if you're providing everything plus consulting for $1500 you are), I think you'll find those clients a bigger challenge than people who know what they want and are willing to pay for it.

Making $5000 from one client is a lot less work than hand-holding 4 clients for $1250 apiece. Even if, in theory, it looks like the same amount of work.

Of course, the challenge is finding the higher-paying clients and being able to meet their expectations.

03-04-2010, 06:44 AM
At the end of the day the questions you should be asking are 1) Do I like doing what I do? and 2) Am I willing to put up with the hassle of the clients? I think 1) is essential - you have to enjoy what your doing otherwise you wouldn't do a good job of it - and 2) Just remember that you dont have to like the client - just make sure you have everything in writing before starting. Its better for you and better for them.

03-04-2010, 08:52 AM
But, if you're working the low end of the pay scale (and if you're providing everything plus consulting for $1500 you are), I think you'll find those clients a bigger challenge than people who know what they want and are willing to pay for it.

So doing what I'm doing is more than I should be doing? I thought that was part of the job; doing the graphic design stuff as well as building the site, is it not? That would be fine by me, getting paid more to do less.

For this mega-nutbar of a client I built and designed her entire website a year ago. She called to ask me to do some significant updates and some changes as well as to transfer the domain and hosting from the company that she had been with that was charging her about $100 per month to GoDaddy which was $75 a year. I guessed on how long it would take and how much work that would be involved and quoted her $1500 even though I only charged her $1000 to build her site a year ago. I honestly though it was a fair price, particularly based on how many hits her site gets a month and how much business she gets from it. After having done all of what she asked for and more $1500 seemed like less than what I should have gotten paid but was still fair.

I don't actively pursue new clients, mostly because I'm not sure how I would, and people on craigslist charge way way way super less than what I do; I would try and do more if I could even though I think I suck but I never know what to charge and I don't know what the actual work I should be doing is based on what I choose to charge.


03-04-2010, 03:02 PM
scifin, maybe it would help if you got in touch with the local web dev community.

There is nothing saying that both web design AND development needs to be part of the services you offer.

If you want to compete on price, then you're going to be a bottom feeder by definition almost.