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phonecalls from clients

I'm not sure if this kind of post is appropriate, but I can't think of a better place to get some useful answers to my questions, so I beg your indulgence:

I'm still new at doing commissions online and I have a potential client in another country who seems really particular about discussing their commission on the phone rather than email or IM. I'm a little wary of doing so because a) even if they call me, it's still long-distance and I still get charged for the length of the call and b) I'm not really comfortable giving out information like my phone number to someone who is essentially a stranger.

Is it a regular thing to deal with customers in other countries over the phone? Have I just missed mention of that part?

Is it better to cater to the customer or should I stick to my prefered means of working out a commission, ie through email or IM? I get the feeling the client isn't very Internet-savvy or maybe doesn't have a lot of internet access, I don't know if that makes a difference...

Thanks for reading :)

ETA: Thank you SO MUCH for your thoughts and some really good points about contracts and record-keeping :) I wasn't worried too much about stalking since the contact mentioned the commission as a gift for their SO, etc.
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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 11th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'd rather have a record of a deal. With a phone, there's no proof that they said what they said and it all comes down to he-said she-said if something goes wrong.

But that's personal preference. I kind of have a phone-phobia and I don't really like to give that stuff out, so I'd never do a deal over the phone.
Dec. 11th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
I've never known anyone ask to call over the phone, so as far as I know it's not a common thing, at least not within fandom circles. I've done all my work via email.

I think you'd be well within your rights to decline and explain why. As well as your own reservations, phone calls aren't very good for record keeping, another reason I like to stick to email.
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
Off topic, but <3 to your icon. That show cracks me up, especially Alan XD
Dec. 11th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
There is absolutely no good reason to give any personal info out to anyone for any reason.

I know alot of artist friends that have been stalked and harrased by fans and/or customers and sounds like a bad idea.

Someone having limited net access is not an excuse.

Sounds like you would be better off passing this one up.

Dec. 11th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Definitely would have to advise against it. Not just because there won't be a paper trail, but because if by chance something goes wrong, you have a very unhappy person with your phone number. Harassing calls aside, there's also the potential of your number being reposted out of spite.
Dec. 11th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
No. Tell them they would need to reimburse costs if done, and that you, the artist, need written documentation of what is needed for a commission. Explain it this way: Do you sign contracts over the phone? No. Contracts are written.

Commissions are contracts and therefore they need to handle it that way.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)

I agree with everything that has been said, stick to email, it might be slower but it's unlikely to backfire spectacularly.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
There should be no reason for you to have to pay for a long distance call out of your own pocket when email is free -- even if they aren't net-savvy or don't have much access. If this becomes a deal-breaker for either side, there are PLENTY of other customers who would be happy to work with you. Via email. :)

Try Furbid if you haven't already, I'm sure you'll find lots of work there.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
I personally wouldn't do it. I mean the person may just be trying to commission you to turn around and stalk you or something. Yeah, I know. I'm a paranoia betch.

Anyway, you need to go with what you feel like doing. If you don't want to discuss things over the phone, tell them that. Also, tell them if it breaks the deal, so be it. It's bad enough you have to send your e-mail, etc.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
I am a phonophobe anyway, but no chance would I talk over the phone about it. I would rather just pass it up and find other clients.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Ok, why would the be commissioning art work which they find commissioners online ANYWAYS?!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 12th, 2007 09:25 am (UTC)
"I once did a freelance design job and got calls at all hours."

Because they were demanding pricks or because of timezones?
I'd say timezones is a good enough reason to decline calls, I get very testy when someone wakes me up for something important, nevermind to hear someone describe their character's 12" clitcock to you ;P
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shimmer_critter - Dec. 12th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - thaily - Dec. 12th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
You would be far within your rights to bill them for your phone usage since it would be related to completing the work for them, but as it is, I'd say keep it with IM. They can say exactly the same things in a text conversation as on a phone, particularly if it is through IM.

The only clients I have ever been on the phone with have all been people commissioning me for business-related work (logos, game boards) and more likely than not meeting them in person. For a personal commission? No freakin way, too many dingbats out there.
Dec. 12th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
I've always refused to give out my phone number and have never regretted it....seems like the clients who have asked for my number end up being the creepy ones XD
Dec. 12th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
That sounds fucking creepy. He probably doesn't want your art anyway, but gets off on talking about sexual positions and yiff over the phone.
Dec. 12th, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
I totally agree with what she said.

(I just didn't want to say it.)
Dec. 12th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
I agree with all that's been said. It's not common at all to hand out your phone info to someone ONLINE, especially private commissions! It might seem like an innocent question to the person commissioning you if they aren't tech savvy, but specify you don't make a practice of using the phone for online things because it's for your own protection.

I might be tempted to give the benefit of the doubt to the client if it was someone you met in person through a gallery or angecy, but online? Too much of a risk.

Your icon? All kinds of hawtness btw. :3
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