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Big Commission, Want some Protection.

EDIT:  Sounds like I'm good to go :3 Gunna ask him for a deposit, get in on that money up front idea, and then get that contract rollin. To protect him an me. :3 Thanks folks!

Hey A_B

I don't know if this is outside your bounds (obviously we'll know if this gets posted, or if it does not) but, I wanted some input.
Now, I don't usually write up terms on commissions, however, the situation has come up where a commissioner wants a Series of images and is willing to pay out a large chunk of money. This person has commissioned me before and has paid me upfront, and graciously tipped. I have been more than willing to take his commissions and to work with him happily.


What has changed is the amount of money, and time.

He would like a series of 7 images and has offered to pay me $500 to do it, to be completed for May 1st.
I want something to protect me, so I could at the very least so I could drag him into a Civil court room if it came down to it. I'm no good with words, and I know there's a friendly bunch of internet lawyers out here who could probably help me come up with something, to say the least. Just an agreement, signed and dated by a notary in both cities. Photocopied so we both have one.

What should I do? How should I phrase it? What can protect me if he's wants to back out and I've finished work on one or all of the pieces?

Annnnnd if you know who is reading this, I posted because I wanted input. Not because of anything you've done, or haven't. :3 It's because of all the things I've seen happen to people, and that big projects have flopped on me before.

I "know" the commissioner fairly well. (as much as you can know someone over the internet) but I've seen people been scammed by friends in the past. I do not want it to happen to me.

Looking forward to this project, but apprehensive about the costs
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
I think I'm a little confused. Why don't you have him pay half upfront as a deposit, start work on the commission and then have him finish payment as you complete the project? Write out a very clear, precise contract that sets your rules for the commission so that there's no changes and no confusion. In the end, if he backs out for whatever reason, you still have money for the work you've done, yet don't owe him money for work he's decided he doesn't want.
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
The thing is, he's going off to basic and wants this more as a gift for himself amd his girlfriend when he comes back. He doesn't have the money up front but given our past work together, I might do it without any money upfront.

I guess I missed the major point here, I'm looking for a contract that'll protect us both in the event that either one has to back out.
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
I would not start this project without a deposit, regardless of how well ya'll have done business in the past. That's how people get shafted, I've seen it happen before, and have had it happen to myself at one point.
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
^^; Thanks for the input. I'll definitely think on it. :/ Like I said above, looking NOT to get shafted here.
Jan. 16th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Yes, this. (I'm coming from a jewelry, not a furry, perspective, if it matters.)
Jan. 15th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
I second the above. Legal action is often more hassle than it's worth even for chunks of change like $500. Even if there's a document in place, you'd have to go through the court to enforce it. That's sticky business.

Decide how many sketches the deposit would cover for you and time the rest of the payment to be due when you come to the end of it. That way if he freezes up on payment, nobody's out anything. He has his money's worth up till then, and you have payment for work actually completed.
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
Friends or not, no amount of trust is worth doing professional work without any sort of deposit or payment upfront. Don't do this without payment beforehand all on the premise that he's been "good so far". You will get inevitably burned from this logic.

I second Alleykat. Start with a batch of sketches/thumbnailing, then work through the process from then on. At least get payment of half before, at the VERY least.

I've had friends, close ones, rip me off in a similar instance. Just be very careful.
Jan. 15th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
in a business transaction, there are no 'friends' or people you 'know'. treat him the same as you would any other commissioner asking for the same thing.

if nothing else, May 1st is a pretty good ways away from now. He's paid up front before, so maybe it would be easier on him if you were to break the payments up into seven parts, and one payment gets him one piece of the commission? that way, if he runs out of money or decides in the middle of it that he doesn't want all seven, you've at least got payment for whatever you did.
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
This person isn't known as Rags, eh?
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
lol No.
Jan. 15th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
From my experience break up the amount into milestones and with each show him progress and not the actual images until the final payment is made. Never take a job without something upfront. There's just too much of a risk of "never having the money" when you ask for it. Also, write up a contract stating this schedule of payments and final date due. Anyone that doesn't like contracts like this is probably not someone to do business with their past payments not withstanding. Contracts protect both sides.
Jan. 16th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yep. Get a deposit to start, and have additional payments made on delivery of milestones, with the final results (however you define them) being delivered only upon payment in full.

No contract is going to be a lot of help in forcing payments; in general, enforcing them costs more than you'll get. Best to build security into the payment structure- and have the contract so that if they pay you and then do a charge-back or something, you have evidence that they are committing fraud by rescinding payment for delivered goods and services.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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