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How would you respond to this client?

Ace Contributor
Maria Criselda E Member Since: Sep 25, 2015
1 of 3

I'm working with a client on a fixed price project making textile prints/surface pattern design. We're finally on the very last item for the job. As is what I usually do, before I start on anything, I make a list of details about the print, condensing the very many things they say into a list that they will approve so we are in agreement about said details. They sent reference photos that I included in the itemized list like this:

1. Floral like your reference photo IMG_xxx.jpg, topsy turvy, not aligned, big and small flowers, very full, hardly any background showing.

2. But done in watercolor style like Print#1 that I did for you.

3. Extra color on border like your ref. photo IMG_xxx.jpg

4. Colors: A, B, C, D

5. Submitted in 2  files: 1 for bedding at scale of xx, 1 file for clothing at scale of xx

6. Background color: E


They said yes to everything but that it doesn't have to be overly-tight, overlapping florals and some background may show.


So I do exactly what we agreed on. And when I submit it, they say (I'm paraphrasing just so I don't copy/paste) that the floral is nice but not quite what they had in mind. They were thinking more like IMG_zzz.jpg (and they attach another reference photo). They were thinking more like that style but in colors: F, G, A, B. And they say thanks.


I'm just so sad that I wasn't able to read their mind and instead worked to the list we agreed on. The 1st reference photo is Laura Ashley's poor cousin and the one they 'had in mind' is a Blue Delft tile print.. which are as different as about, oh.. only a few centuries and 2 separate cultures could be. Not to mention they just gave some completely different colours, too.


Now please help me, what do I say? To make life easier I can just do it. But I really will be making a completely different print. Nothing can be used from what I've already done. I really tried to be clear about everything before starting on the work. Unfortunately I never said anything beforehand that a change as big as this should have a corresponding charge. So that's my fault.


If this were you, applied to the field you work in, what would you do/say?


EDIT: I should also say I've been freelancing here for just over a month and everything has been a learning experience. And I'm still deathly afraid of bad feedback. Lol. Does anybody have some sort of prepared agreement about terms/conditions that they send to clients before work starts? I'm thinking I should do something like that to avoid things like this.

Community Guru
Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
2 of 3

"Unfortunately I never said anything beforehand that a change as big as this should have a corresponding charge. So that's my fault."


Ugh, that does make it a bit tougher.


As the client has referenced a whole new picture and different colours from the ones that were already agreed on, I would reply something along the lines of


That sounds like a really interesting combination, I would be happy to design something for you based on this combination! As the reference picture you sent it very different from the one I was working off from before and the colours are also different, this would really class as a new print design instead of an alteration of an existing one. If you would add $ xxx to escrow to cover the cost of this new design, I would be happy to start the work on this print. 



Basically, explain that you will charge extra, why you charge extra, be nice but also firm about it. You could also add a note about what sort of changes you would make for free, which I won't guess at, since I am not a designer. 


For future contracts, I would recommend that you add a note about how many revisions one print design includes (because you also do not want to run into a situation where the client keeps asking for new colours or something for weeks on end), and what would count as an alteration and what will count as a new design. You could also write how much extra alterations will cost and how much you will charge for a new design. It will save you many headaches in the future. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 3

To me it sounds like they want an extra design free.....


What is strange is that the client shows as 2 people hired in total, and a total spent equal to exactly what they paid you, and only one active contract.


That's strange because they were telling you how their other freelancer was including other colourways etc for free, weren't they?


Sooooo, what happened to that Wunderkind? They never paid him or her and the contract is ended?