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Finished the work... where's the payment?

Hello to all,

I have a small problem and could use some advice on how to solve it as I've never encountered this kind of situation before...

I was commissioned at the end of May last year to make a one piece fursuit (with no head, just an open faced hood)
I was paid half upfront where 250$covered materials and 50$ for labor and have about 300$ left owing to cover the rest of the labor.  I made the costume and it was ready at the end of August. So it took 3 months.
I photographed it, sent the photos to the customer,  asked for the last payment, his response was:  "I'll send it out this Friday."
So I waited, and hoped and then was dashed...
2 weeks later I ask again,  and get the same response: "I'll send it out this Friday."
I've probably let this drag on, but basically since September I've been emailing him every week or two to ask for payment.... and he hasn't paid yet, always with the same excuse.

So, at this point,  what should I do?  I figure I should give a final notice of some sort?  Maybe something like "Please make the final payment, or I will be forced to resell the costume."  How long should I be obligated to wait?

But what about his deposit amount?  Is he entitled to the entire amount or to a portion of it?
I don't think it's fair for him to be entitled to the material portion, as I could have spend 250$ elsewhere, especially right now.

I feel I'll be lucky to get 350$ for the suit on an auction, likely to only get 250$ at the most.

So some input would be appreciated~

*edit* 03/25
I've sold the suit privately to another fur before it had a chance to go up on auction.  The original buyer hasn't even e-mailed me about it yet nor has he responded to the final notice or anything.  I'd still be waiting to this day had I not sold it to another buyer.
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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
I'm a jeweler, but I ask for a 50% deposit up front, which covers my out of pocket costs. None of this is refundable. If they choose not to pay me when the thing is done, I keep the deposit and sell the piece.
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
In my policies page, I say that if the client can't pay the second half within 3 months of completion, the suit becomes my property and they aren't entitled to anything. You should add a line like that to whatever kind of policies page you have for just these kinds of occassions.

Send him an ultimatum with a time limit for that final payment, and if he doesn't pay by that time, just try to sell it to someone else. It's not your fault this guy isn't taking the commission seriously.
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
If you end up selling it, you could keep the portion of the deposit to make up the difference for what you expected to get from completing the costume for him. If he's lucky it'll sell for enough and he'll get his refund, but if not, it's on him, not you.
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
It's pretty standard practice for artists (or any type of commission-based work) to have some non-refundable percentage of the final cost. For me, it's 50% of the final price; I know some other people will do less.

I personally have in my terms that if repeated excuses are made as to why the commissioner can't pay me, and I am unable to substantiate the claims, I will end our business. I get annoyed with people who make excuses about anything XD;.

I do think in your case it's probably to the point where you need to give this person a date by which the final payment needs to be received (assuming this is PayPal...if it's snail mail, maybe a mail-by date) or he loses the costume. It's what, nine months since this started? Unless something significant has happened in this person's life to suddenly change cash flow, that's more than enough time to pay for this.
Feb. 8th, 2008 07:45 am (UTC)
I'd say the cost of materials is definitely non-refundable.
You should send a notice stating that if he doesn't pay up before X, if needed in terms, the item becomes your property and you will resell it to cover the expense of your labor.
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
Well, it was a deposit... the purpose of a deposit is generally to ensure the buyer's commitment to follow up and pay the rest (motivation being that if they don't they paid a deposit for nothing)
So, i say you should just keep it. You did do the work, afterall. So that combined with the lesser price you might get for it as a resale-item will even out.
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
For orders over $200 or even $100 if you're serious you should really write upa terms of service so you can never get in trouble with the law and you always have back up for times like this.

All the suggestions above are good, so I won't repeat them.

But I will tell you that you should decide where you stand on how you want your buyers to pay.

Write out a contract! Save it in Word and send it to everyone who pays you over x amount. My commissions generally go for a lot so thats what I do. Luckily, I've never had this type of problem.

I wish you luck sorting it out but certainly for the future, especially with fursuit making (its such an expensive, POPULAR deal) you should have a contract saying how much you get of x amount if commission isn't completely paid for in x amount of days after it's finished. :)
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Thank you to everyone for their helpful suggestions :)

I've sent off an "final notice" email, giving them until the 16th to make the final payment.
I tell him that I will put it on auction if he doesn't make the payment and if the auction goes for 280$ or under, he gets no refund, if it goes beyond 280$, then he'll be entitled to a portion of the difference.

And for those curious about what the suit is: http://www.northfur.ca/gallery/sleepers/purple_bunny
The suit is like this one, except white and peach and not purple, also no mask.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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