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What is the best way to tell a potential client that you are not interested in working on their project?

Some background: A few months ago I was contacted to make a piece of furniture for a guy in Portland. The piece would go for around $750, give or take, and he had a few special requests that would stretch my capabilities as a craftsbear. He told me several times that he was of "limited financial means" and could only afford to pay me $100 a month, which at the time I accepted because I just wanted to work. He would call me every week about it and repeat what we'd established in the previous call, rising to the official level of "pest".

Since then I am no longer interested in the $100 a month thing (I'd have to invest $300 in materials just to get it done), but he doesn't seem to understand when I tell him I need AT LEAST $250 before wood touches blade. I've been ignoring his e-mails as of late, but feel that's pretty rude and think I owe him some sort of response.

The bottom line now is I simply do not wish to deal with this person anymore and wish they would go away. I know that makes me come across as a jerk, but I can't help it, he's just annoying. How can I politely tell this dude to bugger off and still maintain my reputation as a semi-decent person?
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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
bladespark
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
I have so been there before. Sadly so far every time a customer has reached "pest" status with me, it's been after a downpayment has been made and some work has been done, and it's too late to back out. If he hasn't paid you anything yet, you're free and clear. Just send him one last e-mail, with a firmly polite "I'm sorry, but I really can't work on this project." You don't have to give reasons, just say that you can't do it. If you can suggest somebody else who might be willing to take the project, pass him a name/website/link whatever. And then just wash your hands of it and add him to your spam filter.

That's my suggestion.
tyreenya
Sep. 5th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
I agree with bladespark! you have no obligations if they didn't make a payment. You could even tell them that sorry, the commission slot has been filled.
cissa
Sep. 5th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
My take is a bit different.

Assuming you want to do the commission- and if not, the above advice is excellent- state that a 50% down payment- nonrefundable- is required before you start. If that takes many months, OK; at least you haven't invested. Note that i would only say this if the commission is something that, if the guy flakes out, you could sell to someone else, potentially. If he's the only one that would possibly want it, you might want a larger than 50% nonrefundable payment before beginning.

Even after getting the down payment, I'd personally probably wait till closer to the full amount was paid before doing the work... but that's your call.

I NEVER do a commission for less than 50% nonrefundable down payment- and sometimes more, if the materials require that.

Good luck!
cissa
Sep. 5th, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
Also- if he's a pest, make sure you add dealing with that to the time it takes to do the commission. Meaning, charge him for that.
solid_squid
Sep. 14th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
cissa makes a good point. If in future someone tries to do something like this, suggest that they save the money themselves till they can afford the down payment. That way you don't have to deal with this kind of nonsense and can do another commission while they're saving up
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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