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  1. #1
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Anyone ever 'sacked' a client?

    Anyone ever 'sacked' a client? I did today. They were more trouble than they were worth.

    I advised them on where to buy a cheap redirect domain, because they wanted a cheap redirect domain and because I won't compete with 3 a year for full mail and web forwarding.

    But the company who host the redirect 'went dead' - email is the only way to contact them and they don't reply anymore.

    And we were expected to sort this out. But it can't be done, because as I said on this board earlier, a dead business can't talk.

    He always questioned everything I ever told him as if it were a con and probably wouldn't have spent much more money anyway. He annoyed me so much I told him to seek another designer.

    It's never happened before, but when you have a lot of clients, you can ditch one if he's ultimately detrimental to your business overall. If you don't respect yourself, you can't do business.

    You shouldn't and can't become a client's *****. They have to respect you. Unless... your business has one big client that provides a vital percentage of your bottom line, which is Web Design Hell. So cast a broad net on the Net, everyone.
    We're all in it together

  2. #2
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Yeah, out of the 50 or so customers we've done any kind of work for, we've binned exactly 2. One was an architecture firm, the head partner of which wanted 'input' into the site (he was a friend of a friend) so we gave him some leeway. They (he) ended up being completely unresponsive, we'd be begging for a meeting to show our work, only to have this jackass complain about this and that, so after the third demo (all of which were paid for, which was OK), he suggested a new contract to keep us turning out ideas, and we said 'hit the road, Jack'.

    I think we really put the wind up him, 'cause 3 months later, he's got one of the ugliest, least effective sites I've ever seen, so I'm guessing that he cut out the games (finally), took the next offering and put it on the air.

    The other one was a real estate firm, again, the owner wanted to play 'designer'. Again, all paid for, but sometimes cash just ain't enough incentive to put up with the nit picking of some customers, so we cut 'em lose. Gave 'em to a company we'd partnered some projects with and three weeks later, they're having the same problems. They wanted to kill us for setting them up - I just thought it was gratifying to prove that we weren't the root cause of the problem.

    Moral of these stories - be careful giving any room to color-blind company chiefs. Designing looks temptingly simple to the uninitiated, but it's so, so easy for things to get out of control, to the point that the customer is using your time to rough out their own whacked ideas, oblivious to the fact that each change is eating into your marginal profit.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever 'sacked' a client?

    Originally posted by phantomflanflinger
    Anyone ever 'sacked' a client? I did today. They were more trouble than they were worth.
    I've sacked one to date, and have let a couple others die off. The one that we sacked was actually my most profitable job ever, but finally i just had to let them go.

    The job lasted for sixteen months. During that time we dealth with five (!) different project leads on the client side, each with their own vision of what the site should be, as well as the president of the organization routinely stepping in to add her two cents to the project. The total amount of the change orders on the job was almost twice the original cost of the job.

    We finally had the client sign off on a list of "final changes" for the site to go live, completed all of them, and then the client came back with another four pages of changes. These weren't copy changes or minor things, it was "can you move the navigation to the left hand side of the page rather than along the top, and we'd like to change the architecture of the site, and while were at it, we need to consider our dial-up users, even though the signed and approved site strategy document was for a full-Flash high-bandwidth site."

    The biggest problem we were running into internally was a perception along the client's organization and others, that we, as the agency, were just not getting the job done. The roots of the problem were far more complex, but the perception was that we were screwing up and not delivering. We decided as an agency that letting the client go was the best solution for the sake of our professional reputation, rather than get into a quagmire of finger-pointing and blaming each other for failure to deilver.

    Once we made that decision, we happily packaged up several CD's with all the source files and documentation and sent them along to the company's in-house team. I've been a much happier person since then.

    Sometimes it's just not worth it.

    d.
    dlowe93

  4. #4
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Anyone ever 'sacked' a client?

    Originally posted by dlowe93
    We finally had the client sign off on a list of "final changes" for the site to go live, completed all of them, and then the client came back with another four pages of changes.
    Hey, it wasn't that architecture firm I was talking about in my post that you were working for, was it? - Man, reading that's like deja vu. All this, after their 'rep' (who we sussed after a while had no final decision-making authority what so ever, had come to our offices - twice - to beg we continue on the project, despite him acknowledging his boss was a complete nutter) we let them go.

    That was what i was talking about when I said that they'll use your time as a chalkboard for their own whacked ideas - that, and they'll demand as much time as they desire for their petty ideas, not as much as you can afford.

    Designers must take control of the project - have the final word. If you do not, and do not make it clear that you have the ultimate say, you could (could, not definately) be setting yourself up for a bad realtionship, designer/customer-wise.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Anyone ever 'sacked' a client?

    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    Hey, it wasn't that architecture firm I was talking about in my post that you were working for, was it? - Man, reading that's like deja vu.
    No but what is it with architecture firms? I had a similar experience with one that just turned nutty. Fortunately i was just doing site strategy and stepped out of the project before things got ugly.

    This site was, ironically, for an Art and Design College. Seriously, the joint has a couple hundred faculty members, and practially every one of them saw themselves as a "chef" at some point in the process.

    Two words: Ug-Ly.

    I was happy to walk away.

    d.
    dlowe93

  6. #6
    they call me the_jump... le_saut's Avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone ever 'sacked' a client?

    I used to work in the architectural industry as a drafty.. before I found Flash 3.

    ... ever received comps on the inside of a cereal box? That's an experience I had..

    Cheers
    James

  7. #7
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    I think it's safe to say that if you're ever planning on designing for designers, you need the patience of Job. The fact that an outsider had to be 'drafted in' to complete the work gets all the on-staff creatives' knickers in a collective twist, each one starts considering updating the CV in case the outsider actually knows what they're doing, and everyone tries to have a go on the project to show that they're not as behind the times as their bosses thought.

    Pretty? - No. Not for anyone concerned.
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  8. #8
    Heaven is made
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    Eyenovation's Avatar
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    Anytime your business LOSES money on a client, you first have to ask yourself: a.) can you do anything to rectify the situation, or b.) should you retain this client for future business.

    This is a good topic.

  9. #9
    the first thing i'll think about is money. I'd try to get as much money off this particular client, and enjoy it in front of the computer replying to a thread in flashkit about a client who got sacked..

  10. #10
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Hey underthesun,

    was your nohunter site made with MackerelMedia Fish or SharkWave?

    Oh, I'm so funny! I'm Johnny Carson reborn!
    We're all in it together

  11. #11
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    hey! i just sacked someone today... alright!

    these bozos wouldn't pay, so i deleted the unpaid work of their server (db included), sent a short email and said buh-bye

  12. #12
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    Similar Problems

    I have had to drop businesses for the following reasons:

    They "want" a web site but their approach to it is, "Here, make one for us". When then asked to set up times to discuss what they want their site to do and what they would like in it they are "Too busy" and offer generalities yet everytime they see you they ask,"When will you start on my site".

    My answer is,"When you know WHY you want a web site and WHAT you want on it and can MEET with me and SHOW it to me in WRITING".

    I'm careful to explain to potential clients that they have to be involved in the formative stages very directly for me to know what they want their web site to be and do. If they aren't willing or able to focus on this, I let them go.

    Even if you get their site up, their lack of ability to clearly move on it is a reflection of how they see and value it and they will make a lukewarm client at best.

    Time is money--you can't devote an open schedule and constant attention to uninvolved, unfocused and uninterested clients--move on.

  13. #13
    are you saying that my website was fishy

    don't recall putting any fishes on the aquarium

    uts

  14. #14
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Fishy? Maybe it should be fishier. Maybe you should have to Find the Fish! Like in Monty Python's Meaning of Life. "I wonder where that fishy is..."

    Also, sacking a client because they don't pay isn't sacking a client. I was talking about getting rid of a client because they are in some way counterproductive, e.g. they annoy you to the point of affecting other work you do or your relationship with your staff and so on.
    We're all in it together

  15. #15
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Update

    Well, as an update to this story, the client I sacked has subscribed me many times over to an emailing list sent out by a cult of nutters. I can't prove he did it, but he did it.

    What a cretin.
    We're all in it together

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