Panda (maractus) wrote in artists_beware,

Two Questions about Commissions

I went through many pages of tags and saw similar things, but not my questions exactly, so I hope these are okay to post here.

Is it ever okay to ask someone if they are still interested in commissioning you? If so, how long should you wait?
Two situations dealing with this one.
I make hats, as some people may know. It's nothing major right now but I post in teenycom and such sometimes. Anyways, one girl asked for a hat commission that would go over the price limit I wanted to do at the time. This was fine, though, as I needed money and it seemed like an interesting challenge, so I told her to PM me with exact details of what she wanted.

We discussed it for a while. Her hat called for two very specific colors, so I told her the commission would have to wait until I could get them. It took several different trips to finally find these colors. It was maybe two weeks later at this point, with me updating her that I had no luck after I went. Once I had found them, I sent her a message, providing pictures and a final quote. And then...she disappeared.

I'm pretty sure I messaged her about a week after that (this was over the summer so I've deleted the messages since then), since I know sometimes messages don't send and whatever. She's still active and I see her commenting and posting places, and I've always wondered if I should have nudged her more about the commission. normally something like this wouldn't bug me, but I doubt I'm ever going to be able to use these colors, so I pretty much threw that money away =/  Since it was so long ago, obviously I can't do anything about it now, but I'd like to know in case this happens again.

This next one wasn't exactly a loss but it still has me wondering. A girl found me through FA and was incredibly enthusiastic about my hats. As soon as I opened for them again, she messaged me, telling me she wanted a total of four hats, she just wasn't sure what they should be yet. I told her no problem, and to message me when she had figured it out.

A couple days later, she messaged me, including everything that she wanted. One of these hats was going to be for her Halloween costume. This wasn't a problem, but I knew there was no way I could get all four hats done and shipped in time (it was near the end of September and I had other commissions ahead of her), so she agreed to pay to have that one done and shipped ASAP and then I could do the other ones after.

Well, that transaction went smoothly and I noted her after Halloween, telling her I was ready to take on the rest of the commission. She said okay, changed some of the details and asked how much it would be. I told her, and she mentioned that she still wasn't completely sure about the details yet, so I told her to email me when she had everything final and I'd do her commission.

That email never came. She's still semi-active on FA, but less than she used to be, so I can only assume life got in the way. This was...four? months ago, so another lost cause, but I'd still like to know if it would have been okay to ask her if she still wanted the hats. It's frustrating because she made it sound definite rather than "just a quote", and honestly I was excited to do the commission. I guess I'm just afraid of sounding like some annoying, money-hungry artist, haha.

My second question, a much simpler one:
How do you deal with a nonpaying customer?
A girl commissioned me about a month ago for a hat of her character. I usually don't require payment until after (I know, bad on my part), but I trusted this customer because she is always 
buying art and has had lots of successful trasactions (at least from the looks of it). It went smoothly, minus a bit of a delay on my end because of some troublesome hand sewing.

I finished, sent her pictures, and she went on about how much she loved it. I then messaged her about payment (the price we agreed on before the hat was even started was $16 not including shipping). She said she was low on funds and asked if she could pay next week, and I said that was just fine as long as she kept me updated.

Three weeks later and still nothing. She's still active as ever on FA; in fact I see new [commissioned] art go into her gallery. To be fair, I guess the word "nonpaying" is a bit harsh, since she could still come through...but honestly I'm getting a little worried. Plus there's no way I could sell this hat if she ended up not paying, since it was of her character. I know I should probably contact her again, but how? I sent her another message three days ago with no luck. I've been nothing but polite and understanding about this but I think it's time to get a bit more demanding. Help?

[Oh, and I'm almost positive she's over 18]

I've gotten burned but I've learned my lesson. I am now going to require half payment up front before starting on any custom orders. Its upsetting that I have to do that, but I don't want to run into these kinds of things again.
Tags: advice for artists
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