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Apr. 17th, 2011

Hey everyone. At the risk of sounding quite silly and this being utterly unimportant, I have a question for you all:

A while back, I was contacted to paint someone a commission of their character. I'm not usually open for commissions but my general workload was down at the moment and I was in need of money, so I accepted.

Since I haven't really done commissions much in the past and not being quite confident on myself, I told them they could pay after I was done with it.

A week or so after having accepted the deed, my real life started getting hectic and I ended up putting the commission on hold for the time being. It was just recently that I e-mailed them asking if they were still interested (after all, no monies were exchanged, the painting was only a sketch, and it'd be fine if they wanted me to drop it). They told me to continue with it and I did.

I went through each stage of the painting with their approval and ended up presenting them the finished artwork a while ago.

Problem is they haven't replied at ALL since I sent the finished picture. :( I'm fairly sure they're online and about, just not acknowledging the fact that I finished it. I did try to contact them again, but don't want to be a pain in the ass.

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
To be honest, even if you don't feel confident, you shouldn't take payment only when you're finished.

I'd suggest a half and half method if you don't want to do things with payment upfront. So, you get paid for half the work, you do half, then paid the rest and finish the picture.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
To be honest, I have only had one problem customer not paying after I completed their commission in seven years of freelancing. The problem is where you advertise and screen your clients before taking on work. If you take on all types of customers, then yeah, you get deadbeats. I usually weedout suspects by shuffling my list. The deadbeats usually lose interest and cancel.

But I found half and half works well, but taking it on FULL payment before starting never sits right with me.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
True, but most people don't have the luxury to screen people. You hear this happening too often for people to keep doing it with anyone that commissions them. If anything, you'd need to give very, very tiny previews and watermarks, that way they don't really have much until they pay.

I always work with payment upfront personally, unless the commission costs more. Everyone is different though and feels differently for it. Like how some commissioners don't want to pay full upfront because some artists do take the money and run. Which is why I suggested half and half, not full.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
If you can hammer out work fast, then payment upfront works. But I'm slow. :/
Screening doesn't really take that long. Five minutes on google pretty much shows up any red flags and I'm surprised more people don't do it.

I do shoot off very reduced quality jpegs until I get payment of course. I'm not that trusting XD
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
True, I know some people don't want to have payment right away cause of how long they take. I personally never like an artist doing that because I'm forgetful and may transfer my money when it's time to pay, since I don't know when it's gonna be finished and I always feel bad ^^;

I didn't say it takes long, I said most people can't. Meaning some people need to take any commission they can get. Especially since I've seen people scammed by people before that had no red flags whatsoever, it happens.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
I didn't say it takes long, I said most people can't. Meaning some people need to take any commission they can get.
My response to that is, well, I think 5 minutes of searching a username is better than spending hours working and getting scammed. This comm has saved my bacon a lot.
I mean if it's a teeny commission, why bother but I am referring to high priced commissions, it's worth the looking into a username.

I myself am unemployed and need money, but I take the time to check out people before I say yes. Not saying it's fool proof, but it helps a lot.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
I think you misunderstood.

I'm saying that it's better to have at least part of the payment upfront, before any work is done so you don't get scammed, because, like I said, some people need to take any commissions they can get.

The other person was saying that someone could just screen people so they don't get scammed, and only get payment after the work is done.

Basicly, I'm saying rather then screen, just get some part upfront. Especially since I have seen people have no red flags whatsoever and still ended up scamming.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
Fair enough.
No one method is fool proof.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Pretty much. Plus, it is a preference thing, like how I prefer full upfront.

But, the half and half works well in my opinion. The artist gets paid, if they run off, you only paid a bit, if the commission bails on the second half, you didn't over work.

I do half and half for commissions over 40$, but people can also discuss it if they think something smaller should have that too. But, I also work extremely quickly, so I guess that factors in.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
Personally I don't want to see any money until I'm finished. But I am slow and I tend to work out of order. My orders are usually big and time consuming and I tend to work on five pieces at once. I don't feel nearly as pressured to slap and rush a commission because I have money on the table. But then again this community is proof of people sucking about holding to an agreement.

Half and Half doesn't sit right with me, but that's more because of what I learnt when I worked out of an office. But definately see the benefit of it to other people.

Apr. 18th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
See, that's the thing. Non fandom commissions, you'd have way less trouble. But the fandom has so many scammers that it's hard to know what works best.

But! I can see why being paid after is better for you. I sometimes do feel the pressure, but I also enjoy getting things done right away and not have to worry about payment.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
Nothing wrong with asking payment after completion. I do it all the time. However you need to be very firm with the finished product; did you only email a low quality preview?

Shoot them another email, reminding them payment is due and they will receive their 'full' image after payment.
You are well within your rights to remind them of overdue payments.

Publicly oust them if they don't end up paying, and warn other people to stay away from x username.
Apr. 18th, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
Being new to commissions, you just made one of what seems to be the most common mistakes. Never give them the finished product without being paid. All images (even approval sketches) should be fully watermarked, and the final image should be low res and watermarked. Try to get paid, but don't be too surprised if you can't manage it. Go ahead and give a warning here if that happens.
Apr. 18th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Pretty much this.
Apr. 18th, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
Beings slow to work myself I will repeat what others say when getting payment at the end.

Low quality (72 dpi and very small compared to the final image (I usually go with 15-20% normal size but I work HUGE) and watermark it extensively.

I watermark 3 times when doing commissions - once invisibly - once visibly in a different area (and smaller) and I have a distinct paw print of a tattoo I have in RL I mark across the image as well.

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5545068 <--For example but this a a piece I'm working on as a print not a commission but same concept. The original size and the upload size are on there for how small I cut it compared to the original as well.

However, I go to extremes cuz I lost a large commission by not doing this once when I was new.

But I take too long to ask for payment even half payment up front.
Apr. 18th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
If they've otherwise been good with communicating with you until now, it does seem odd that they've suddenly decided not to contact you. The only thing different now? Money's involved. It could be that they're waiting for something on their end to clear in a bank or something, or it could be that now that they have a final piece in their hands, they've decided to cut and run with free art.

I don't know what time frame we're talking about between when you sent them the art and the last time you contacted them, but you're well within your rights to keep reminding them that payment is due. If they don't send the funds your way, do let us know who this is so others will be warned.

For future commissions, if you prefer to get paid after finishing the piece, it would be a good idea to send them a small, low-quality version of the final piece--show them that you have indeed done the work, and remind them that payment is now due. Once you've been paid, then give them the large, high-quality version.

Otherwise, it's a common practice to ask for some sort of partial, non-refundable payment in the beginning stages, and to bill for the rest either right before you give them the final piece or after they've received it, whichever you're more comfortable with. This way, you won't run into situations like yours where you do a lot of work and end up with nothing to show for it.

Good luck!
Apr. 18th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
I have learned that lesson myself in the past too many times. I highly advise taking at least half payment up front. <=( If you don't get your payment, please post a warning here. Good luck!
Apr. 18th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
I really would advise against taking no payment till completion, even if some people here operate that way. You're putting yourself at a needless risk, in my opinion. Even if you work slow, most people will be fine with paying half upfront - especially if you communicate with them each step of the way and give them regular progress updates, reply to any queries etc.
Apr. 18th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Question: Was it a real media piece and did you give them a picture or send them the actual piece? If it's real media and you've only sent them a picture, you may not be SOL on it. I just wanted to clarify since "painting" can mean either digital or real and it didn't seem specified.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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