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Annoying customers

I don't have anyone to report per se, but I do need to vent with the people who I know will understand. :) Other artists. Tell me your opinions on this. I scrolled through a crap ton of journals here at artists_beware to make sure this would even fit in here, but if not, just delete this. :) I'll go ahead and post my post about commissioners behind a cut so I don't take up space.



Okay, I had a customer who months and months ago said he would like to commission me. Well, wonderful! Fantastic! He told me exactly what he wanted and gave me references and all that jazz. It's a really fun commission, too, and I look forward to working on it. Also, the guy is an absolute sweetheart. However, he's a bit slacking on his payment responsibilities, even though it's not really his responsibility just yet.

One of my top rules is that I will not start a commission until I receive at least half payment. I will not finish the commission until it is paid in full. I've been ripped off before, even with customers just paying half, by taking the line art and coloring it themselves or having a friend do it. So, in this matter, if they do that, at least I'm paid in full for a sketch piece. After they pay the other half, I'll color it. I think it's a good way to do things. So, I have not even begun his commission and I really have no right to be annoyed with him, I know.

It's been many months now and he keeps emailing me saying "I'm going to pay you, I still want the commission." Alrighty, no big deal to me. I didn't begin his commission just because of situations like this. Who knows, he may have had horrible things happen where he needs to pay a lot of bills. Again, it's not my business as I didn't start his commission yet. However, I'm kind of starting to get annoyed with this guy. Is he going to buy from me or not? I closed shop for awhile back and I told him that since I promised him that I would let him buy a piece from me, even though I was closed, I'd still take the commission. No go. He sent me a message the other day saying he has to sort out things on his credit card and then he'll pay me. Fine with me. He re-sent his references to me via email and said he couldn't pay me just yet because he can't get online. Umm... if I'm not mistaken, aren't you online when you send email? :) If he can send an email to me, he can take 3 seconds and go to PayPal.

I guess I'm just getting annoyed of waiting, plus I really want to begin this commission. It's really awesome. I have my regular day job like everyone else, but I do take art commissions as another extra source of income and it usually does go towards putting extra money into bills to pay up ahead of time or whatever. Since I've been waiting for his payment, my commission list has grown longer and longer and I'm needing to know if he wants a spot or not.

On the other hand, I have customers who have paid me but haven't sent me any information about what they want me to draw for them, even though it's been 3-4 months since they paid me. Gah, you think they'd want to get their money's worth and I want to get them done. :)

So, does anyone here have a certain time frame for customers to pay you, even if you haven't begun their piece yet? I pretty much just answered my own question as I wrote this out, but I'd still like to hear opinions. :)

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
beetlecat
Jul. 8th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
I leave it up to the customer.

If they don't pay, then I simply ignore the commission until they do. If they pay and don't send the information/supplies I require, then ditto.
zyleeth
Jul. 8th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC)
Commissioners who say they want to commission me and don't send money/details, I sort of just ignore too. Its more of a minor annoyance to me unless its a case where I'm really in a bind money-wise. Its pretty dumb/rude to brag to an artist "Hey man, I'm going to commission you!" and never actually do it, but its better than having started the piece and they don't send the money. Its why I also require at least half payment in advance. I also watermark the sketches that I show to customers, just to discourage them from having it colored by someone else.

Although about the email thing, he may have just gotten on from a library computer or something to send you the email. I'm not sure if some places restrict access to PayPal. If not, then I agree thats weird heh.
filthy_animal
Jul. 8th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
iawtc

I've also had people say they'll commission me and then disappear. Which I mean, if they changed their mind that's fine. I kinda wish they'd say they did rather than leave me hanging. I'm sure this is normal though.
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
I also require half payment up front. I'm going to start watermarking my sketches though. :) That's a good idea. Also, you can access PayPal from the library. :)
growing_rose
Jul. 8th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
Not necessarily. I mean, my library might restrict streaming videos/games because of older computers, and yours might be able to run them because of a donation of brand new computers.

Also, I personally wouldn't feel comfortable putting THAT kind of information into a public computer. I only do those kind of details on my computer or my boyfriend's.
foxhack
Jul. 8th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
Simple, don't do anything until you get paid. Keep it in the backburner.

I'm the other way... I just paid money for an icon commission but I can't decide what to ask for, heheh. >_
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Now, I love commissioners like you. ;) It gives me an excuse to work on my own art for awhile until you make up your mind. :)
bladespark
Jul. 8th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
I have this happen a lot. After several "I'll pay you next week" things fall through, I usually say "contact me after the check is in the mail" and ignore them after that. It only builds up frustration to be constantly put off, so tell him that he can drop you a line when he actually has the money on its way to you, and until then you really are too busy to discuss it. Or something along those lines.
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
That's what I'm going to start doing. It sucks being put off. x.x Hope you're doing well! :) *hugs*
acrothdragon
Jul. 8th, 2007 04:41 am (UTC)
I'd of set up like a time frame of no more than 6 months, on how complex the piece is and how much work your putting into it. If you already did the work you can put in a terms of service that you reserve the right to alter and sell the piece in order to recoup the amount of time you put into it.
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
This is why I don't finish the piece until payment is received. I don't do the sketch until half. If the customer bought a high-detailed commission with high-detailed background, it'd be $90. He'd pay me $45. If I got to the sketch stage and he never replied back again and months and months passed, I'd refund $20 and consider the transaction closed as a simple sketch piece, as my sketches are $25.
niiku
Jul. 8th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
I dont let people reserve commission slots till they've payed, simple as that. So if I had closed off commissions, I wouldnt let him keep saying he'll pay till I open commissions again.
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
That's what I'm going to start doing. He never had a spot reserved, as I require 10% down, I was just getting fed up of thinking I'd have X amount of dollars by a certain date. However, once I'm closed, I'm closed. That is my new rule. :)
neongryphon
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
I get this all the time and I'm in the same boat as you with the day-job. My spare time is precious, and I hate time-wasters. Reading all those emails and organising the refs etc takes up enough time by itself.

I would just ignore them from this point onwards. Unless the money magically appears in your paypal, don't waste anymore time batting emails back and forth.

If the buyer wants to reserve a slot they need to give you a down-payment. I make mine 50% of the commission value or $50, whichever is higher. And it’s non-refundable (at least that way you can get started on sketches etc).

But since he’s not coughing up the cash, I suggest you use the time to find more reliable buyers.
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC)
lol I totally agree. There's 2 things about me that really conflict

1. I'm incredibly strict with my business. My customers follow very strict rules and play by *MY* game. If they don't like it, tough shit and they can find some other artist. ;) However, I do this so I don't get screwed and so my customers get 100% satisfaction and they don't get screwed. It's a win-win situation.

2. Despite the above, I'm really lenient and friendly and I understand that crap happens in life. So, if I have a customer that says, "I really want a piece by you but I just had this come up and I know you're closing soon..." I usually tell them I'll still let them commission me. I know they're excited to get more artwork and I want them to have and enjoy that feeling, so I usually play nice and let them commission me later on when they can pay, even if I'm closed. This clashes badly with my strictness of #1 and usually interferes with my life.

I'm actually not letting them reserve a spot, although, that is how it is going to be from now on. No more "you can commission me when I'm closed." I take other commissions until then and they're shoved way back in the queue until I get payment. First come, first serve. However, I'm not going to do that anymore. Time is money. I'm not even really wasting time, but I just don't like being told I can count on X amount of dollars by a certain date and 6 months later, I'm being told the same thing over and over. If they actually do want a spot in my queue, I require 10% down but I won't start sketching or anything until I get the other 40%.

Coincidentally, just after I posted this last night, the guy paid me in full. :P Weird. Gorgeous icon, btw. :)
neongryphon
Jul. 8th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on all aspects. I think the way you run a tight ship is good business and very professional.
And I commissioned the icon from shadow-wolf http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/54522450/

Recommended! =3
alcyione
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
Oh, I very highly recommend Shadow-wolf/Wolf Nymph. She's a wonderful gal!
lilenth
Jul. 8th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)

I admit, I'm guilty of telling someone I want to commission them but not yet commissioning them. But then I really do plan to buy the commission off them this year once all my finances are sorted out and I'm planning on tipping heavily for the wait.
alcyione
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:14 am (UTC)
So... this happens to other artists. That's a relief to hear. I've had a number of deadbeat customers over the years. They go so far as to send me the information, but then don't say anything else.

To be honest, I've felt kind of bad for ignoring them, but I've gotten stiffed a lot in the past. For me, it's either pay up or shut up.

...although personally, I wonder who ever taught these people that you could get something for nothing in this world. D:
alcyione
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
*doh* Meant to say that it's a relief to hear that I'm not the only person this happens to. I'll try to stop feeling worried over the deadbeats. XD Thanks!
thaily
Jul. 11th, 2007 08:20 am (UTC)
Heh, same here :3
likeshine
Jul. 10th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)

i have had this issue as well ;_; feelin your pain!
monikasiberkat
Jul. 14th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)
commission woes
Commissions. I used to do so many and one day I just stopped. I had had it with people who would order a commission, and then either disappear, never have the rest of the money or they would call and call and ask, "is it done yet?"
Now I have a different problem. I offer items on furbid or furbuy, I get auctions that close. Then someone has a problem paying, I am cool, I can wait I can give you time a little slack but after awhile they dissappear. And as much as I hate to, I have to black list them and warn my friends. It is common for some reason in the furry community for this to happen. And some artists never finish the commissions you fully paid them for after the sketch phase. I had to chase down a couple afer 3 years of waiting to remind them about our agreement. What I recommend to all invloved, get a contract, detail it to the enth degree so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and if someone fails no one loses out. Professionals charge 1/3 for sketches, 1/3 for color comps, and the last 1/3 for finished product.
Good luck, keep it professional and you have to set your limis and stick to it!
furryskibum
Jul. 18th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
We're good to go, right? Got my spot in your queue, payment sent, and informations a-plenty and all that? *makes big watery kitty eyes*

;3
inaliwhitewolf
Jul. 18th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
Yes hun, we're good to go. X3 Dun worry, this journal was not about you. It was about a canine. :)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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