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01-27-2001, 07:36 AM
I am owed $500 US for two jobs I did for a guy named .... His website is located at http://********awebsite.to and he is calling his company 'NEW DIGITAL DIMENSIONS'.

I am posting this message as a warning to all freelancers who are offered work by him, or anyone else for that matter. Always request a downpayment on a project before you start.

Please feel free to post your comments.

01-27-2001, 09:25 AM
This might be a good place to get a discussion going on how we can protect ourselves from this type of thing. Any ideas?
We haven't had any real problems, so far, but we've discussed ideas like a javascript time bomb that 'expires' a site after 60 days. If you are doing all of the groundwork for the client including FTPing the finished product to his server, you can try to go back into the recalcitrant's site and replace his index.html with a "This company doesn't pay" page.
All these ideas probably leave us open to lawsuits, I'm sure.
In my previous business, I had a couple of occasions where customers didn't pay. I had my lawyer send them a letter and the (certified) cheques came in quickly. A lawyer will send a letter for quite a bit less than US$500; especially, if you are already a client.

01-27-2001, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the reply Jelve. The jobs I did for this guy weren't actually full sites, just parts of a site ( Flash content ) otherwise I would have tried to include some kind of safety measure similar to what you mentioned.

As for protecting ourselves from this type of thing, it is something that we definitely need to do. Anyone else reading this, please include your comments/suggestions. Think about this, if this guy or anyone else doing this sort of thing assigns parts of each project out to freelancers, then in theory he/they could fake him/themself as a Flash/Web Developer and never get caught ( or do any of the real work ). There are many freelance developers out there and we must not let this sort of thing occur.

01-27-2001, 10:33 AM
yeah sorry to here about what happened. like the animation its pretty cool.Yeah the thing about the payment. I always ask for half down then when im done ask for the other half when IM done and I have both parties sign a contract before start that way if they decide not to pay the other half. Ill have my laywer send him a letter.Never really had any problems with this method. Good post.

Nomadic Designs

01-27-2001, 12:54 PM
I got stung like this once, but I'd built in to the movie a loadmovie action that referrenced a .swf file on my site.

If the movie has not found, it had no visible effect on the clients site. But if it was found it was loaded on to a _level1. The beauty of this was that it could be completey changed to suit the situation and the client had no idea it was there.

In this case I just had it load a movie that unloaded whatever movie was in _level0 therefore disabling the site.

Its sad that we have to resort to these things but, its even sadder that there are people out there with absolutely no intention of paying for the hard work you have done.


01-27-2001, 03:38 PM
I think that dbrf really has an idea there. You would not have to put the whole movie on your server, just setup a text file with something like &paid=OK, then if they did not pay after 30 (or 60) days, just change it to somthing else like "notOK". Make it so that if paid is not equal to OK, the movie goes to a blank frame. Ofcourse, you would not want to give them the .fla untill full payment.

Eddie Hillegers
01-27-2001, 10:06 PM
i always keep the login information at my side untill
the bill is paid.

did you think about contacting the provider?

cheers eddie

01-28-2001, 01:02 AM
I have also been stung. I am owed $1000 for doing some flash content. When the site went up on the net the company that we supplied the content to turned around and said that we hadn't done for anything and that they wouldn't pay us, even though we had the .fla's on our own hard drive. We can't afford lawyers fees so we use a dept collecting agency. Most of these collecting agencies have good rates and some even have the policy that if they don't get you any of the money owed you don't have to pay them anything.

Chris Murray
01-28-2001, 08:17 PM

I used to work freelance and almost every project had me producing work before seeing any kind of payement.

In most cases it was necessary to produce a certain amount of work, before the client would even confirm that they wanted me to do the job. Competition being how it is, many freelancers are all to happy to make this same gesture.

To protect myself and my work I always programmed small protection devices inot my Flash movies which prevented any unlawful use.

These included time-outs, URL protection etc.

When Flash 5 came out it provided a pefect solution, in that you can aquire the time from the users machine and see if the Movie has timed-out. There is now way around this as when the Flash movie loads it checks the users computer and most people have the right time and date set on their computer.

These methods may sound over precatious, but in this new world people are facelss and names are meaningless. You can't afford to be naive.

Thankfully I now have a full time job in the industry, which gives me some protection in this uncertain medium.


01-29-2001, 03:04 AM
JirSames - I'm sooo sorry to hear about this - I too have had this for larger amounts of money - fortunately I was able to gain access to the server and "hold them ransom!" :) I noticed that this guy has an email address just waiting to be spammed by flashkitters everywhere!?? You only have to say the word!!! hehehe
Next time ask for 50% upfront then 50% final BEFORE delivery of final files (ie fla) - goodluck!

01-29-2001, 04:57 AM
This seems to be a problem facing many designers. When I first started I freelanced for a design company that had no intention of paying me (as I was to find out after pulling some heavy all nighters on a rush project). I had made the fatal mistake of being so excited at being offered work I let my heart lead my head and didn't worry about getting a written contract. Eventually I got paid because basically they got sick of me calling and emailing them invoices and finally I turned up on the doorstep and demanded payment, not a pleasent experience!! Since then I have never worked without a written agreement stating the terms and conditions of the arrangement, signed by both parties. This not only protects yourself but also gives clients a sense of security. If push comes to shove (as it often does in the business world) you have a legally binding document. If people don't want to sign then you are better off without the work.
There will always be bad payers out there and this can seriously effect your cashflow and profitabilty of your business, you must protect yourself as much as possible.
I sympathise with your predictiment and hope that you resolve these payment issues.
It's a little wonder in the world that we live in that lawyers are always the winners.

01-29-2001, 07:30 AM
This subject seems to come up again and again...so surely there's the demand for Flashkit to have a section of the site dedicated to all things Freelance?
- what to do and what not to do..
- some generic contract legal jargon speak...so we can get legally binding contracts with our clients. Perhaps these could be adjustable too, like a 'contract-generator' thang??!
- case studies and important news on E-LAW?

that kinda thing??

I'm sure it would be much appreciated! Squeeze it into ya busy schedulle would you Flashkit team? please!

01-29-2001, 02:22 PM
I agree with the idea of creating a forum for clients who do not pay.

I had a client about a year ago who only paid me for an initial redesign of their website, http://www.vkferro.com. I did it, and then he asked for some additional work to be done. The biggest chunk was a CD rom. Now, mind you, all of this was being wrapped up about 2 days before I was to go out of town to get married. The owner was abusive and pushy and above all, he never EVER paid for any of the extra work that I did. He even had the nerve to call me the day before my wedding and yell at me because he wanted more work done and I had the balls to be out of town getting married.

The bottom line is that people do not respect designers unless they have some sort of clue what it is we do. We're only doing this because we can't do anything else, as far as a lot of people are concerned. Never mind the years that I've taken to develop my skills. No, that deserves no respect at all and certainly doesn't deserve payment.

What ended up happening was that I had a phone call with Vincent, the owner, where he was so abusive I had to end the call. I told him that he did not own those files until he paid for them and I would take the site down as collateral. He must have changed the password before the phone was even back in the cradle. Now not only have they not paid me, they've trashed the design work I've done. The site looks like it has been thrashed through Frontpage in some half-attempt for them to do their own updates.

Karma baby. Karma.

Bad clients lead miserable lives.

In the meantime, we could create a sort of checklist for freelancers here. "Is my perspective client on a no-pay list?" I wish there had been one started a long time ago.

Best wishes all-

01-29-2001, 04:46 PM
I agree with specialD about developing a list of no-pays. I don't know, but I think that I heard of something like that somewhere before, so maybe there is such a think already.

Anyway, the number one problem that I see with freelancers trying to get their money is that it is hard to convince or prove to other people who are not freelancers that you are right. To them it looks 50/50; that is, they figure that chances are as good that you are making things up as that the client is no good. How can you convince someone like an ISP to give the client heat if they don't know who is right.

The fundamental problem that is run across when people start black-tagging clients (or when clients rate freelancers!) is that people get mad and give unfair or untrue reports. All this dose is make everyone look unreliable. This leaves the lone freelancers all alone against the client's company, which often looks more reliable to other people than the freelancer.

A possible solution to this is to have a panel or a "jury" that looks over any reports submitted. Only after they have looked over things, and things are "proven", would the data be entered into a database of no-pays. The reason that I say database though is that for a list to ever be very effective, it must contain a large number of names. If its that long though, its too long to read.

Of couse any such organization would have to reach a certain "critical mass" in order to be resected. But once it was developed, it could be very good prevention just to tell prospective clients that you are a member. And in reality, I don't think that it could take long to get the word out, as freelancers are normally pretty well networked with other freelancers.

Just to be clear though, I am not talking about actually "proving" your case just to think that it would help you in a court; its not good to ever get to that point. I am just talking about developing a body that has enough respect and validity that it can be effective in convincing others of your clams, as well a providing names of bad clients.

AxsDeny at work
01-29-2001, 05:44 PM
Yeah, we get them to sign a contract up front, then pay 1/3rd. We show them teh final product, if they like it, we deliver it and they pay us the other 2/3rd.

01-30-2001, 01:21 AM
Ya know, this situation bothered me so much that right after I posted earlier, I went and bought http://www.theydontpay.org. I intend for it to be a searchable, automated database of companies and references/complaints about them by the freelancers they have hired.

We'll see how it goes. I should have it up in the next day or so.

Any ideas for things that should be included? I was thinking that a sample freelance contract would be helpful. Is that the sort of thing that would differ from state to state? Or is it a pretty standard agreement? What other utilities would help freelancers get better/stronger business agreements?


[QUOTE]Originally posted by zacvin
[B]I agree with specialD about developing a list of no-pays. I don't know, but I think that I heard of something like that somewhere before, so maybe there is such a think already.

01-30-2001, 04:39 AM
luckily i've never come across this problem, our system of payment is based on 'deliverables', we get the client to sign off on sections of the project as they are completed and we bill them for each section straightaway. In practice this means that we are billing the client about once a week, usually for 2 or 3 deliverables at a time.

one thing to remember is that you need to portray yourself as a professional. No matter how friendly or casual you think your relationship with a client is, be professional, have a contract signed with deliverables spelled out on it, and clauses for extra work caused by clients changing their minds about stuff they have approved already, it always happens and we always bill for it.

be professional and people will remember and respect it, you can still be friendly but just remember, if they're paying you it's business.


01-30-2001, 05:44 AM
Now that I am making my first paid job this tips seem quite interesting...

I am planning on creating a small clip, stg like a "bomb" in each one of my swf's. It allows the surfer to navigate for let's say 5 minutes, and then it displays an obtrusive PHOOKA.NET in the screen... :D

Only after paying the final swf is released, without the "bomb"... :D :D

Is this far too machiavelic?

BTW, Mushroom, even when I understand your feelings (it does sound sensible to me to spam this kind of ppl),

1. Spamming is stg that shouldn't be even taken as a possibility here in FK...

2. Even when I believe JirSames completely, some other members could simply point to an innocent company for us to start spamming them. Reasons? Jealousy, for example...

So let's leave this kind of behaviour relegated to oblivion, I wouldn't like to see another "let's spam Jakob Nielsen" thread in the Boardroom... ;)



01-30-2001, 12:20 PM
Never trust people just like that...I would also request for a deposit or some payment in advance...mmm..and I would never never give the .fla - the source file to anyone...ofcourse unless you want to give it for educational purposes such as submitting to flashkit.

01-31-2001, 01:38 PM
I like the idea about the link to "client site being held for lack of payment" .swf on your server. Very clever! You can also set up a directory on your server for client sites and projects. This allows them to view the work online, but doesn't actually put it in their hands until you get paid. You can either add a link to your site or email them the url to keep them updated on your progress.

As far as getting payment from clients goes, I had a new one thrown at me just recently. I generally ask for half down and half upon completion as others do....my thinking that the intial amount lets you know they are serious about getting the work done, and holding the final product until payment is receiced would ensure my not getting screwed. However, what I failed to anticipate was the client failing to provide me with the informatiion that I needed to finish the project. We had a contract signed...two web sites, I was going to do them both for $4,000...so I got a check for $2,000 and then I did the initial design work that included the basic design layout, some intro animation, some music, logo creation.....basically the "shell" for the site.

They were then going to provide me with the content...the extact verbage that was to go in each section and they had some industry-specific software (they were a mortgage and loan company) that they needed to set up and then let me know what I needed to provide that was not included in this software (it had a number of different online tools for calculating mortgage rates, etc). Well, everything went great until it came time for them to do their part. They spent several weeks telling me that they would get this to me, but I still have not seen it and the site lies unfinished and I remain unpaid. Now the way it played out, I didn't end up doing any work that I did not get paid for...I did basically half the site and I got paid half the money, but I was still counting on the income that would come from the completion of the project. As it turned out, these same people also told me that they had an additional two sites that they wanted me to do for them when I was done with these. This prevented me from lining up another job right away because it looked like I was going to be busy for a while, and I ended up getting pretty screwed in the process. You also have to understand that I had numerous personal meetings with these people and there was every indication that everything was on the up and up. You can never tell what kind of flakiness you are going to run into.

The moral of the story....your skills are worth something...try not to sell yourself short, always look out for #1 (you), and if at all possible get all the information that you need to complete a project before you begin.

[Edited by RUSHVision on 01-31-2001 at 12:57 PM]

02-02-2001, 10:23 AM
really usefull information here.. But do people really give away .fla's to their client? I don't think I would ever do that!? I mean, pro-photographers always consider their negatives as their property, and would VERY seldom give it out... If they did, they would loose all control, and people could do whatever they want to the photo ..
Wouldn't the same thing happen to .fla's?
I understand that the client might want to be able to make text changes,updates etc. if they know a little about flash,
but generator and templates should take care of that..
If you give away a .fla I mean you give away your whole work.. people could also just change logos,text and sell it to someone else!...

Just my point of view...


02-02-2001, 12:15 PM
I never give the fla's out and I always establish a service level agreement before I put mouse to pad. Basically this involves how much money is being talked about, the service offered, the maintenance etc. If the company asks for the fla as part of the agreement then any code or movieclip names should be renamed to numbers to make it harder to understand, this is not being obtrusive, its simply protecting your interests, you don't want someone altering your work with new graphics they're losing you money. Obviously, if they want the fla to maintain themselves then the price should be pushed up accordingly.

The loadmovie idea is a good one and I have used it myself before. Simply put a loadmovie statement, loading into level 1, point it to a non - existant swf on your file. if they don't pay, make the swf on your server with one statement

getURL ("www.RazoRmedia.co.uk", "_parent");
_root.getURL("www.RazoRmedia.co.uk", "_parent");

your flash work can then not be viewed. Even better is to direct it to their competitors site. Ring them up and see how fast they pay. In this case I do not think you are doing anything wrong legally as they have not kept up their side of the agreement and so you have made your swf null and void. Its underhand tactics but it's the only way to protect yourself against sneaky clients who never had any intention of paying you.

There are other ways too. Although I am a web developer, I am 6 foot 1, have a skinhead and regularly weightlift. When I meet clients, they no longer think I am a techy nerd like they imagined me.

Anyway, please write out a service level agreement before you start anything and get them to sign it. Then send it to yourself in the mail and leave it unopened, this is then suitable to be used as evidence of dates and times that the agreement was set. :)

02-02-2001, 02:24 PM
I'm just starting out freelance after working for a large company for the last 2 years. The way I will present my work to clients, is with the *.html and *.swf files on a CD, but only providing local links between the pages. Once they hand over the pennies I can then upload the files onto a server for them. . .

Can anyone see any major flaws in this plan?

Also, I'm looking at charging about 1000 per website, dependent upon functionality etc. This will include consultancy, and support. Does this seem reasonable? May seem like a daft question, but I'm used to being a wage slave, working for a large company. I'll be freelancing in my spare time.

Any comments appreciated.

02-02-2001, 08:06 PM
I ran into the same problem with someone. I do have a full time job and do web stuff on the side. I was approached to redo a website. Since it was my first "paying" job I didn't even ask for any money up front. So I went ahead and put about 10 hours of work into and he won't call me back. He loves the site but I don't think he can afford to pay me. But every time I speak to him he gives me some excuse like he was really busy or was out of town. But oh well i guess ya win some ya lose some.

02-03-2001, 06:03 AM
I have read all these posts and have thought we should have some sort of "universal" set standard, If we could all abide to this it would be great, something like pay half before, and the other half later.

And remember that not all clients are bad :)

02-03-2001, 08:45 AM
my solution is..

keeping the site on my server until payment has been recieved. even if they try to oprn their site as if it on theirs, i have full control over the content, so i can say. if this site is on any other server than d3k it has been stolen. and that would, ineviatbly appear on their site.

02-03-2001, 10:05 AM
I'm pretty impressed with the load movie idea that points to your website.
Just one question: I'm aware that load movie doesnt always work... as in, the movie isnt always loaded. Is this caused by size? if yes, then the one frame (with action) idea for the swf is probably okay. If no, then it's not a fail-safe method.
But, if it is fail-safe, I've got an idea to take it a step further:
In the movie loaded have a custom javascript that either redirects the whole website or opens up a pop-up window from your site!

02-04-2001, 02:36 AM
I am starting to work freelance and this is going to be very useful to me and all other freelancers.

What are you going to do about getting your money?

Tell him to come to this thread to see what honest people think about scum like him.

02-04-2001, 05:51 AM
I'm right with you all on this one! I'm currently chasing http://www.designfreak.com for $2200.00. I used measures to protect myself, asking for a $4000.00 retainer, however, it was the next bill they chose to ignore.

I think it might be good to not only keep track of these people, but look to find a collection agency that will work with us, By the looks of the posts we have enough volume to keep someone very busy!


02-04-2001, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by JirSames22
I am owed $500 US for two jobs I did for a guy named 'DARREN TESSITORE'. His website is located at http://********awebsite.to and he is calling his company 'NEW DIGITAL DIMENSIONS'.

I am posting this message as a warning to all freelancers who are offered work by him, or anyone else for that matter. Always request a downpayment on a project before you start.

Please feel free to post your comments.

always insist on the following

1. supplying a written quote for the job
2. a written response from the client to agree with the contract and proposed schedule
3. written instruction from the client to begin the work as agreed in the contract
4. even work for "friends" - do not proceed informally
5. never work for free - this is especially common where designers carry out work for friends or colleagues - always demand something in return, whether it be payment in cash or services or goods

clients will try all sorts of things - i was recently approached by a client who knew nothing about websites and so asked for a meeting to discuss their proposed site
-after 90 minutes discussion, she went away and we awaited orders to start their work- however this didnt happen as she used the information she got from us to go and approach another company so that she looked as if she knew what she was talking about - and all i got out of it was a wasted day from travelling in to the city centre and a 10 rail ticket to log as travel expenses - it would be nice to present an invoice for my "consultancy time" to the company concerned but with hindsight it is probably best to try and avoid unscrupulous clients like this and pre-empt them - as they are cynical and know that smaller companies probably wont waste their time chasing fees which will most likely never be paid (even with recourse to legal action)

02-04-2001, 06:16 AM
Originally posted by tagbo
I'm pretty impressed with the load movie idea that points to your website.
Just one question: I'm aware that load movie doesnt always work... as in, the movie isnt always loaded. Is this caused by size? if yes, then the one frame (with action) idea for the swf is probably okay. If no, then it's not a fail-safe method.
But, if it is fail-safe, I've got an idea to take it a step further:
In the movie loaded have a custom javascript that either redirects the whole website or opens up a pop-up window from your site!

if you are producing a flash site one thing i will do is place a watermarked banner across the front page something like
"work in progress - BigBlueBalloon - Copyright2001"
the watermark copyright note only gets removed when the client is paying and the site is ready for posting on their own domain

02-04-2001, 09:43 AM
As Flashkit has helped me many times, I will share with all. I use a simple written agreement (contract) that I had an internet lawyer draw up especially for a flash user (me)its just about iron clad...I'll be happy to share this agreement with anyone who doesn't have a legal document they feel confident with (wording is crucial) or doesn't have one at all. Email me, and I will send you a copy a soon as I can, If I get too many emails I will just post it somewhere but I'm too tired to even type now. You will have to change the bottom of the agreement where it reads New York (where I live) to whatever state you are in.

P.S. as I see this thread has basically been about staying away from the wrong kind of client, I would suggest to stay far away from Victory Records. They are thieves, who steal work and don't pay up. Sorry had to vent. Goodnight All.

02-04-2001, 09:51 AM
my email addy is faction718@aol.com...sorry I forgot.

02-04-2001, 10:12 AM
I was burnt as well on a site for an airport. I invested well over 20 hrs. and my colleague at the time, who was the main contact, never paid my share and practically disappeared afterward. He claimed he was never paid but the designs we were working on just magically appeared in production? I don't think so. =/


02-05-2001, 02:10 AM
if the client is allowing you to FTP to his/her host, change the password immediately. this will give you exclusive access. chances are very good that he/she will never know you did it. it seems underhanded, and such tactics are generally not good, but it's better to do it if you sense that you're dealing with someone who's not on the up-and-up. i hope it's not against the law, cuz then i'd have to go to jail :).

if you are doing CD ROM work or not FTP-ing your work to the Web, add a 5 second scene to the beginning of your work that dislpays your logo, name, time spent on the project and the nature of your skills. remove it only when you get paid.

this is all a judgement call. you don't want to come off as 'playing defense' if your client really has honest intentions.

02-05-2001, 12:11 PM
Gr8 thread - I myself am dying to get some freelance flash work up for money - I feel freelance thing should get its own separate room on the new look Fk! And I feel quite strongly about this...

02-05-2001, 06:50 PM
Always always always have your client sign a complete contract. And ask for at least half of the amount as a downpayment.
Here is a wonderful site that sells (very affordable) proposal kits - specifically tailored to web developers.
All you need to do is fill in the blanks (ie your name , the client name and the amount) . Every kit contains several different pricing structures (ie, per hour or per job etc)
Definitely worth checking out!!


02-05-2001, 06:54 PM
oh yes, another thing you should mention to client who try to dog you:

02-05-2001, 11:37 PM
I see all of my relationships with my clients as long term. I tell all my clients that I can't generate revenue for them if I just put up a site and leave it. It's a process; not an event. If your client is able to see how your flash work can generate money for them, they'd be stupid to pull the $plug. If you've got a genuine interest in contributing to the success of your client, they should be able to see that. If not, why would you be doing business?

02-06-2001, 01:09 AM
In Mine, I place a Load variable, and it loads a variable from a text file on my server, containing what ever I want it to eg: "ok", and once I get the money, I send them the .swf with out the Load variable. If they don't pay, I remove the text file from my server!

I had a problem with coppyright, and this cleared that up real quick!

02-06-2001, 01:15 PM
Yow. Well I had this experience once in the offline world. I had an obnoxious client who asked for repeats, changes like mad, till one day he suggested that he'd find another artist.

Well the long and short of it was, he ended up using my design, with minor alterations made by the other artist, and didn't pay me a cent. But I wasn't going back, he caused me too much stress to further trouble myself. Yep, I should'a had it in writing. But I was subcontracted for the work by another company.

Now I'm a development engineer | programmer at large and flash designer.

One way I could see us overcomming this is by forming an association. Say the IFDA - International Flash Developers Association. This group should see about protecting our legal interest internationally, and come up with recommendations and standardized contracts that we use with clients.

To make some minor points:
- yep, keep the FLAs, follow another thread on that somewhere
- yep, I like the watermark idea
- I don't like the defacing the server idea, as it's just plain wrong
- I like the idea of the SWF hosted on your machine (or the text file)

Keep up to ideas guys.


02-08-2001, 03:19 AM
Well, here's my 2-cents.

I don't think it would be a great idea to place a "no-pay" list on Flashkit. The list would get waaaay to long, and very rarely would two Flashkit freelancers get the same client, although I guess it IS possible.

I do, however, think it is an AWESOME idea to place legalities/ideas/general contract templates in a "freelance forum". Something for us professionals to go by.

And in my own thinking.... don't you think that if the company pays for your work, that they then own it? Granted, it's your work... but they technically bought it in a legal fashion. But I do agree, that if they want the FLA's for their own self-efficient work... that the price be pushed up accordingly.

Ideas, comments?

02-09-2001, 02:30 PM
Well, as regards Neelixx post "don't you think that if the company pays for your work, that they then own it?", I don't know if you can always say that the person that pays for the work owns it. I think that there are two very different approaches to this.

One, you can offer to build a clients site, and produce the files as a product, thus the client owns the files and can do anything (almost) that they want to with them.

Two, you can offer to provide the site as a service, without giving the client any right to change the files, or take them else-where to be modified, such as another design firm. If the client wants changes, they must come to you. If they go elsewhere, they must start all over.

I would be interested in knowing which way most people provide their work; that is, as a service, or a "product".

Finally, I do want to agree with Neelixx about having some "legalities/ideas/general contract" info here at Flashkit, even if it is just a thread with people giving info and/or experiences for their own countries legal system.

02-10-2001, 08:56 PM
I always take a down payment of 1/4 of the quote/contract

Then, when I'm done, I upload everything to my servers, (including a .zip of the site)

I wait for the rest of the payment before giving the client the url to the site.zip

sound like a good plan?

02-12-2001, 08:53 PM
i was way ahead of myself, but before i learned flash and was considering to make money off it, this was the number 1 issue.

a few points yall should consider:

i think with the 50% downpayment, there could be a potential problem, if the cost is huge, your client would also think of the possibility that you run away with the money - i'm 16, huge chance they would think that way.

if they don't get the .fla , then they wouldn't be able to change ANYTHING. this may cause them to choose a more legitiment designer.

One thing that most of you haven't considered is how the clients would react to your demands.

this is what i'd do

1. a contract, listed conditions, full cost and due date
(contract would have to be very professional - i've heard that with a contract you have to have a witness, that true?)
2. pay as you make, % of total payment based on the work shown
3. tiny watermark on a specific page, only known by you and only seen under 800 magnification on a specific page.
4. extra charge for the .fla
5. id' advoid a lawsuit if avoidable, its something way too costy for me. if unadvoidable, then your tiny watermark would be proof.

hopefully that might work


p.s. Under718 - send me the contract please? it'd help me a lot or just post it here under this thread.

email: bob_2007@yahoo.com

02-13-2001, 12:43 AM
If it comes to that much cash (over $1g), SUE!

Law scares 'em pants off!

(i don't know much about uk/aussie law tho)

02-16-2001, 08:02 AM
oh, kids, loadmovie doesn't work on different servers, feature in flash 5 for security, sorry :(

02-19-2001, 11:10 AM
Sorry RazorMedia loadmovie DOES WORK with Flash5 from different servers, it is the LoadVariables command that Macromedia says doesn't work with Flash 5.

To prove it go here:

for demonstration purposes from the loaded movie you can press the button and unload what would be the clients movie if they didn't pay.


02-19-2001, 11:51 AM
okay, I stand corrected. I have tried this and it worked but I was working on a local movie. I did post about this in another forum but I got shot down and they said it doesn't work. I have not had time to try it out but thankyou for correcting me :)

Its an ideal solution and for some nasty clients you could redirect the root timeline to get a really nasty url (some horrible site!)


02-21-2001, 05:02 PM
I have experienced a similar situation that has still not been resolved.
I rushed a project for toxicsoup.com, and received a lot of praise from the client. I put the site up on MY server along with a custom logo I had designed.

He Pulled my logo and put it on his site, and linked to my site for the flash intro.

I ofcourse, asked for payment, which he denied, so I took my site down, and asked him to remove my logo from his site.

I am now out the money and the TIME spent, with nothing to do I registered http://toxicsoup.net and put up my site (hoping I can do something with it later).

I was shocked to see http://www.toxicsoup.com and the surprisingly similar logos.

This guy wont answer my phone call, yet claims to be affiliated with MANY big companies... any ideas?

02-22-2001, 09:40 AM
I've been through this as well. I did a flash intro for an expensive site once, never got paid for any of it... at that point I STARTED to think about built-in protections. Evidentally the company failed to pay a bunch of other people as well... their site went down. Since then I've done what looks like a lot of us are doing, building in those protections. Mine was a loaded text variable fro mmy server that basically defaced the remote site with a no-pay message.

As far as .flas, I've had people ask for them, but since I never include it in the original contract as a deliverable, I tell them up front that the negotiations on the COST of the fla have to be completed before they get the file. I'd rather be bugged for a rare update than give over the source.

02-22-2001, 09:57 AM
loadvars doesn't work from a remote server in flash 5, a macromedia security feature (as recently pointed out to me). Loadmovie does work though, use that, its simpler to use too. :)

shroom uk
02-22-2001, 10:12 AM
i've just been involved in putting up a similar site to flashkit for the dv community and included in thier site are pdfs of watertight legal contracts for freelancers where you can just insert your details in the gaps. maybe we could do a similar thing?

02-22-2001, 11:55 AM
I used to have the same problems all the time.

The embedded getURL link to your own site is a great idea but getting a written agreement from the start is absolutely essential.

I no longer freelance but work in-house for an ad agency.

The methods with the big boys is simple:

50% up front then 50% on delivery.


If you're work's good enough - they'll agree. If not then they probably never intended to pay you anyway.

We are our services are not serious about paying-up then just don't go with the premise that 'this piece of work is kick ass - they'll love it' because employers, when using our services are usually in some stage of development of their business/project/IPO and are thus just waiting to take the piss out of any designer/freelancer who has'nt signed them up to an agreement.

Take no chances - its your livelihood.


mad clown
02-22-2001, 12:11 PM
As long as you have not received payment you own the copyright to the work, and your 'clients' use of it it constitutes a copyright infringement (at least in the US). I'm sure you all have seen VHS movies where the copyright violation's punishments are listed: they are fairly severe.

I would take legal recourse for copyright violation. Especially for companies that yank your work and then profit off of it without paying you. attempt to garnish their income as payment. make sure to sue for the time it took you legally pursue this and the lawyer's costs.

do not write in bombs, or bugs or host it permanently on your server. that just opens you up to suit. even if they owe you money, it doesn't legally justifiy screwing them. if it's on your server, and they pay you and you forget to copy it over to their server (or it doesn't work right or seomthing like that), then your server goes down and they look bad not only are you liable for losses, but your standing as a freelancers bottoms out.

02-23-2001, 12:03 AM
I'll spare my own burn story and add only this link to the discussion. It's CNET. They have all kinds of freelance/webdesign/techie contracts on tap. Hope this helps someone...


SET PATH=Bookshelf;Deskdrawer;Closet;BoxUnderBed;Garba geCan;

03-01-2001, 07:39 PM
Well, I said I'd do it. I did. You may use it if you like. You may not use it if you don't like.

TheyDontPay.org. Please take this as me trying to do something to help out my peers. I'm not doing this to provide a tool for slander. If you use it, be fair and honest. If used correctly, I believe that this site could provide a very valuable service to the freelance design community.

Best wishes all-


ps- no crap about the code, eh? :) I'm a designer, not a coder.

03-01-2001, 07:48 PM

What a fantastic resource. Thank you for this post. I have it bookmarked.


03-01-2001, 08:52 PM
That was a great idea about sueing for copyright infringment. In the US though, I thing that you must register your copyright before you can sue for any damages. You don't (to the best of my knowing) have to register to sue, but all you can do is stop them from using your stuff. However, if you register, you can get money for damages as well.

mad clown
03-01-2001, 10:24 PM
On the registering before you sue note, I'd be inclined to think you could draft a suit and send it informing them of the intent to sue and get your money well enough. It's not that expensive to register (few hundred) and if the sum is large enough, it's well worth it.

good point on the law though.

03-04-2001, 08:09 PM
I dunno if someone has already suggested this, but I didn't feel like reading a million posts to find out...it seems like this should have come out within the first few posts, and didn't.

If you're designing flash for a client site, and FTPing everything up as you create it- the best approach is to create a 5 second or so "Copyright" message at the very beginning of the flash. Tell the client you'll remove it as soon as you receive final payment. Then once they pay you, just open up the source file, delete the first 60 frames, and publish and upload the file again. Simple.

This way they have no choice but to either pay you or remove your work...no one in their right mind would leave something on their server that blatantly says "Copyright protected by someone else."


03-08-2001, 02:01 PM
If you freelanced for him, It means you had him sign a contract......if u didnt, you should have.

03-10-2001, 05:10 PM
I agree, forget any complex, time-consuming (time = money)..code..

just slap a large UNDER CONSTRUCTION, or DEMO site, or any other equally undesirable piece of code on the front end until you feel comfortable with payment.

Otherwise always take 50% up front, anyone who isn't serious isn't worth the grief..

03-11-2001, 10:59 AM
It's been awhile since I last posted to this site... been doing alot of programming research and experimentation with Flash.

I've read the venting and complaining of when people do not pay. Yes, this is a huge pain... and you have bills to pay, and possibly a family to support. However, some of you complain that you wasted alot of time on that project. Try looking at it from a different perspective. All that time and effort increased your skills in Flash (whether you are a flashmaster or not), and you can include your work into your portfolio.

If I hadn't been working on a project, I'd still be programming and building away, placing my better projects into my portfolio.

Yes, it's too bad you didn't get paid for it, and it's not right, either. More strenuous measures need to be taken. However, try and look at a better perspective... "I'm that much better now!!" :D :D

Happy Flashing!

03-12-2001, 01:57 AM
What I usually do is post to my own URL for their approval. When they send a check along with their FTP info, then and only then do I post to their site.

03-18-2001, 07:23 AM
I think after reading this topic people would get the idea that nearly all client are bad and try to rip you off.

I think that all though there are several con artists and shadey people out there. Most are honest. Because word of mouth can do major things for a company. And its generally not a good idea to mess with "computer freaks" like us.

But mind you, I think you should always find a way of protecting yourself and your work. Partially at least.

03-18-2001, 08:02 AM
hi shroom - any chance of the URL?

03-18-2001, 11:21 AM

I totally agree with your thoughts. There should be no reason for us to write bombs, check files, or other "mischief" little subroutines. We are not the bad people.. they are. How are we any better, if we go down to their level?
I have strong morals and pride in my work. I like to consider my work ethics fair and christian (forgive the religious note). Just place the file(s) you are developing on a development server. Give them a link, so they may check for updates, but do not upload it to their server. There should be no reason why it should be on their server, until services rendered has been agreed upon.
If they do not pay, then they don't have the file. It's that simple. If they were to link to your file on your server, then you may confront them with copyright infringement and/or suit by law justice. More often than not, the company will not want to go through the courts time and money. Plus, it looks bad for their company. Treat your work, just and fair. And have pride!

Nice comment, Ninja! I totally agree. With the way this thread goes... it's very easy to think that everyone out there is bad, and that all developers are just waiting for an excuse to "get" the clients. Keep in mind... not everyone is "bad", and even so... they more often than not, will work a payment schedule, if they can't pay it all at once. They normally don't think like, "Well, we'll get them to do the work, take it, and not pay <muah-ha-ha>".
That's just silly. :) But, still, they're are some bad names out there. Just protect yourself!

rule = "protect yourself";
rule2 = gotoAndPlay("rule");

Take care!

03-20-2001, 08:38 PM
I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV, so take this for what it's worth.....

I would be very concerned for the potential to be sued for libel. If someone posts to your site that a client didn't pay and they decide to challenge that in court, it is up to the people making the claim to prove it's validity. If you can't do that, you are guilty of libel. Now, if someone really didn't pay, they probably aren't going to take this recourse, but if someone posts to your site maliciously, you may be in trouble. You might be able to reduce/eliminate your exposure with disclaimers/policies, but talking to a lawyer (maybe hit up a 3rd year law student at a local college) might be a good idea before really getting this ball rolling.

Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together.

Another resource you could use to protect against bad clients might be the BBB. I don't know if they deal with problems like this, but if a client has a bad rep as a business, then you would probably want to be very careful in your dealings with them. If they'll screw their customers, imagine what they'll do to you.

Kind of our own Client Credit Check.
[Edited by monsterfx on 03-20-2001 at 07:45 PM]

03-21-2001, 04:51 AM
good point but what do you do about people who just save all the files and assets from your webserver? even disabling rightclicks and using htaccess to deny directory listing, determined individuals could still save your pages (and the html stuff is there in all its glory to be edited) -
presumably everybody saves their swf file as "protect from import" - even if you do this, if the site is finished and awaiting approval , the swf file is still cached and could be saved - i realise this may be sounding a bit paranoid -

many clients i have dealt with all give the proud impression of "I only just know how to switch the thing on mate" but there are people out there too who know every trick in the unix and NT book - i dont consider it being paranoid to build a site with some sort of consideration for security - after all you design a site considering the navigation and ease of use for "computer illiterates" so whay not take the other extreme into consideration too

i have just moved ISP becasue my previous ISP (paying service too at $40pm) did not have any cgi scripts allowed (not even basic known stuff such as matts formmail), so then i was forced to place "work in progress" on the clients webspace to test the formmail script to make sure it worked ok - also some ISPs will allow you to run ANY scripts whilst others will supply their own!

i pointed out in an earlier post to this thread, as long as your swf is import protected then just sprinkle a handful of discreet watermarks throughout the movie ,one in each scene should do nicely - make them discreet, (alpha to about 10% or less) so as they don't visually distract from the site whilst the client is viewing the work and trying to make critical judgements on it - it only needs to say something like;


and place it as a button with a geturl to your home page (if you were feeling particularly vicious and suspicious of your client you could make the geturl onmouseover instead of a onrelease- just like some banner ads!) -SEE MY FOOTER

A further point that might blow this plan out of the water - if anybody could follow up and throw some light on this point it may be very useful to us all.... I have read that there are apps out there in the underbelly of cyberspace that have been written by programmers, (not mainstream or widely advertised or available,) that can open up and import, protected swf's to enable them to be edited

any comments please!!
NB - to the guys at flashkit - how are you doing on a small area dedicated to the pros and cons of freelancing

03-21-2001, 06:08 AM
Steve 777

Just to confirm your fears such apps do exist, they are extremely useful if you have lost the .fla (eg after hard disc crash or something) but of course can also be used to decompile your files.

Check out http://www.buraks.com/ for their actionscript viewer that sucks the code out of exported .swf's and their deprotector utility, that removes the protection on protected .swf's.

Both have legitimate purposes but like so many things can be used to do you over.


03-21-2001, 10:08 AM
God that sucks! Happened to me once, but I was only at the end of a long interaction chain, there wasn't much I could do...What do you guys charge for freelance work? I think there should be some standard...I charge 25-50$/hr depending on the client/project...

03-25-2001, 04:38 AM
Ok, I've finally put together some thoughts on Freelance Contracts, methodology, and resources for you to use.

Hands down..the best resource for developers & designers is the following product:


This is a ZDNET best pick.

It has Customizable worksheets, web forms and templates
you can easily tailor to your business, interview questionnaire, plus a sample cover sheet and cover letter

Nondisclosure forms, milestone checklists,
and sample storyboards, Site maintenance tips and hotlist of key resources, A sample mail merge data file

Detailed page layout, navigation tactics, and
web site templates in Visio and HTML formats

and the list goes on and on...

http://www.nolo.com for a great self-help law center where you can ask questions and look up relevant small business law (international too!) on contracts, work orders, contractor status, and a whole host of other topics.


Both of these are ABOUT.com guide sites, but have sections on running your own business in these fields. They are instructional, but sometimes outdated.

Hope this helps, since I feel like I promised some information and sort of flaked..

03-26-2001, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by monsterfx
If someone posts to your site that a client didn't pay and they decide to challenge that in court, it is up to the people making the claim to prove it's validity. If you can't do that, you are guilty of libel.

I'm not a lawyer either, but I think you could avoid the libel if you changed "client hasn't paid me" to "I haven't received payment"--that could cover a lot of ground, and they'd have to prove that you were lying.

A possible workaround would be to use the LoadMovie trick to load a blank screen--maybe one big wall of black. The client would wonder what the hell was going on, and have little choice but to call you. There wouldn't be any possiblity for libel so far as I could see; you'd merely be preventing them from using something they hadn't paid for.

03-26-2001, 08:44 PM
I tried to email you but evidently you turned down that option in your profile. So would you mind posting your contract here? It would be very much appreciated.

03-31-2001, 07:11 PM
There's a simple way for a company to shut down a site like that... they could just have a bunch of people post _obviously_ false accusations aimed at their own company, and they can use that to shut down the site (esp if it has legit dirt on the company). Just a thought that ocurred to me. You'd need a SOP for accusation verification... hey.. I like the sound of that :). Probably something like requiring the author to produce the original .fla or something.

04-07-2001, 04:54 PM
Read all the posts/responses in this string - the bottom line is: You are in business if you sell your skills or a product - whether it's cleaning houses, roofing, washing diapers, painting pictures or building websites. Up front you need to have a binding contract between yourself and anyone with whom you do business. If the customer does not agree to this - you don't do business with them. At first you may be hungry just to see your work out there ------ but who can spend the time building great stuff if you can't make a living - it is a hobby at that point. Not a good idea to build bombs into sites so the non-paying client will suffer - this is convuluted and if you want to stay in business, very much a career limiting approach.

Eddie Hillegers
04-08-2001, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by mscorp
Read all the posts/responses in this string - the bottom line is: You are in business if you sell your skills or a product - whether it's cleaning houses, roofing, washing diapers, painting pictures or building websites. Up front you need to have a binding contract between yourself and anyone with whom you do business. If the customer does not agree to this - you don't do business with them. At first you may be hungry just to see your work out there ------ but who can spend the time building great stuff if you can't make a living - it is a hobby at that point. Not a good idea to build bombs into sites so the non-paying client will suffer - this is convuluted and if you want to stay in business, very much a career limiting approach.

totaly agree with you.
what if the site is down where the other site reads it's BOMB-file from ?
there site will be down to, but in a verry ugly way
IMO doing that is verry unprofessional
secondly if that would happen your customer has all the right to say: it's been nice working with you but we don't like what happened so we go to somebody who trusts us.

my guess is if you run a company you are going to have a customer who makes trouble paying you.
i think that's part of running a company and my guess is also that it won't happen to much and it's not worth it to
start building stuff into every site that you make.
probably the time spent on making those security backups
in the end will cost you more time creating them than building a site for that one difficult customer does.

in the end get a bayliv en they will sort out the nonepaying customers.

cheers Eddie

04-09-2001, 11:51 PM
dbrf Your idea is hilarious and ingenious...:D:D:D:D


04-10-2001, 04:46 PM
thats a link to a quick page i just threw together for us to drop him a line(s)

04-12-2001, 02:21 PM
If you're going to change a client's index page to a "this person does not pay" thing or whatever, make sure you have made sufficient efforts to contact the client first. If by e-mail, don't delete the sent messages because they may be helpful should you need a lawyer. Then, if they get a lawyer to send you a letter to remove the "nasty" page, you have your butt covered (provided you have a signed contract).

Stand your ground but always be professional about it.


04-12-2001, 03:39 PM
It is ridiculous and idiotic to display a "This person does not pay" sign on someone's server by removing or adding an outside variable to/from a site.

What if you are the one who made a mistake? OOPS! You just lost a client, as well as perhaps many more!

I do use a previously posted idea, which is having the main movie call a .swf from my server, (which is, in effect, a large white box) onto the main level. The swf name is the same name as the company so any other companies' sites I build will not be affected. If there is ever a problem with payment, etc. I would simply upload the "white box" to my server and their site is disabled.

Let me make clear that not every site I build gets this treatment, and I have NEVER had to use it. EVER.

Pick your clients carefully. Conduct yourself respectfully. Create good business relationships.


04-12-2001, 03:43 PM
If you have some way of disabling your work on their site, do it..

But do NOT put "this person does not pay" or you can be sued..

They can come back and say that there were issues with you as a vendor, and payment was being worked out..you will wind up being slanderous by branding them for the world to see as someone who does not pay their bills.

Contracts, contracts, contracts...spell it out and you will never worry again [hah!]

04-13-2001, 05:00 AM
i hide a button on the site.. its my special button that locks sites till i put in the correct PW again

04-13-2001, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by DJ_SFinKz
I have read all these posts and have thought we should have some sort of "universal" set standard, If we could all abide to this it would be great, something like pay half before, and the other half later.

And remember that not all clients are bad :)

Just build a function that allows your client to view your work but is password protected after you hand it off. Just like software you buy at the store. The ID would only have to be entered once by the client. Otherwise the flash file is disabled.

01-13-2004, 02:11 PM
just found this on a search... good read thought it deserved a bump...

07-13-2004, 03:55 PM
I know it's old but ...

What I've started to do for my outside projects is included in the contract that if the full payment is not made within thirty days of site completion and upload, there is a 5% interest on the due amount which compounds daily.

You'd be amazed at how clients start to pay when you bring that to their attention.

My basic rules:
1. always have a contract
2. never release source files until payment is made
3. always have the aforementioned interest clause in your payments section
4. if they still refuse to pay or neglect to, allow the interest to build for three months and then get a lawyer
5. make sure you talk to the client and ask them if they've read over your contract and understand everything in it before finishing any work
6. if you've already finished work, simply take down the site and make sure you include your right to do so in your contract

01-31-2012, 12:00 PM

A thread that has not been touched in 8 years is no place for this kind of stuff. I have removed all content and referencing the material.

Frets SuperModerator