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How long is too long?

A lot of us have seen a situation where a person orders a commission, pays with Paypal, and then has the issue of not being able to pursue a chargeback because they are past the 45-day dispute timeframe. They, then post their situation to AB.

How long is too long for a commission? How long is too long for a queue? Does it really take an artist over 45 days to finish a commission?

This is a lot of what I've been asking myself when reading these posts, and I wanted to get your opinion. I understand there are a lot of factors that go into this; some artists have an easy time pumping out work and can handle a large queue. Others make it known it takes them forever to get work done, and the commissioner is aware of that ahead of time. But when does it become wrong?

Seeing some people wait over a year for a commission, paying ahead hundreds of dollars and never seeing WIPs, or having WIPs come at a snail's pace just doesn't seem like ethical business practice. Especially with Paypal, shouldn't the commissioner be more assertive to protect themselves within that 45 day period, and make it known that a refund/partial refund should be arranged for lack of work being completed within 45 days? Is it okay for them to ask for work to be done within a month?

Just something I've been thinking of today, I'd enjoy other input on this topic.

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( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 17th, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
30 days might work well for something small like an icon or sketch, but if someone is getting something large- custom clothing, fursuits, large oil paintings- or if the artist has a queue, then obviously a 45 day window is kind of silly.
Jun. 17th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with asking for a deadline, but make sure it's expressed before you pay as some artists might charge a 'rush fee' for deadlines.

That said, if you're basically asking if it's okay to open claims a bit before 45 days are up, that would depend on the situation going in. If you buy from someone, knowing fully well they have a lengthy queue and it might take months for them to get to you, and then do a chargeback without warning, that's pretty crappy. But I suppose you could go 'I'd like to purchase from you, but in order to protect myself, I will open a claim right before the paypal deadline. Are you okay with that?' and if they aren't, you part ways and don't buy from them.

Expect to scare some artists off, though, doing that.

As for the more general question, there's just too many factors to straight up go 'Everyone should get all art done within a month, period'. It really is a case by case basis thing, at least for me. And I say this as someone who usually finishes their art within a matter of a week.

TL;DR, everything you propose is OK as long as you communicate this to the artist ahead of time and they agree with it. But I would expect to have difficulty purchasing from some artists because of it.
Jun. 18th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
I've been waiting 4 months for a commission and expect to continue waiting due to the length of the artists queue and how much work they get. I think I'm 5th on her list now.

I'm decently slow as well but I warn people of this, 45 days is actually not long to wait for full colored work. Granted for a quick sketch or an icon it's IMO to long but for a fully rendered piece of art waiting over 45 days is common.
Jun. 18th, 2013 01:40 am (UTC)
This is what I'm thinking. A sketch from me? Two weeks, tops. Longer and I start getting super embarrassed about the wait.

An edge to edge, whole piece of bristol/illustration board is covered colored pencil or painting? Expect to be waiting the better part of six months at least. Especially since I both work full time and help run a printing/shirt biz at home.

I think it's a case by case basis, really. I might get impatient if I was waiting past the 45 days for a sketch, but not so much if I'd commissioned something on the larger side.
Jun. 18th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
I don't comission a whole lot of people, but for the few people I comission that have queue it have worked very nicely to pay when It's my turn or I'm next in line. Possible with a place holder fee, but nothing in the hundreds atleast.

As for big things such as suits, I've found that 30% non-refundable for materials up front is reasonable. Then half the amount when WIPs are shown, and the other half before I ship it. Atleast I feel taking it in steps fore the bigger things are a safer way.
Jun. 18th, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
I think it depends on what it is, how long their work load is and how fast they work... big stuff like suits, plushs, large scale art work it might take a bit longer also depending on how intricate the work is.

I am a slow slow artist due to issues with a long ongoing art block and I think the longest I've ever taken with a commission was 3-4 months, but I warned ahead if I didn't think I'd get it out fast, took payment for it when I was finished and kept in touch. but say, someone wants to pay upfront and they lemme know they're opening a claim in case I take too long and they want the money back, I'd be fine with it if they Let me know a head of time that that's what they're doing. never had it happen since I rarely get commissions due to listed reasons but I'm open to that idea.
Jun. 18th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)
Im new to the furry community, but for my commissions I have always guaranteed that they will be done before the 45 day time limit for paypal. Its never even gotten close, but I tell my customers that if the wait time is approaching the deadline, they can go ahead and ask paypal to issue a refund and I wont dispute it. I feel its important to make the customer feel protected and I really feel bad for the ones who make bewares here and have waited months and months and months and YEARS EVEN on an artist. I think that long of a wait time is unacceptable :C
Jun. 18th, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
"if the wait time is approaching the deadline, they can go ahead and ask paypal to issue a refund and I wont dispute it."
- would it not be better (from both Paypal and customer service points of view) to get them to speak to you personally if they want a refund? I'd be worried it'd leave bad marks on my Paypal account, having disputes raised that ended up not being in my favour.
Re: THIS! - thesquarefox - Jun. 18th, 2013 11:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - nambroth - Jun. 18th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - thesquarefox - Jun. 18th, 2013 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - wolf_goat - Jun. 23rd, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - thesquarefox - Jun. 23rd, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - wolf_goat - Jun. 23rd, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - thesquarefox - Jun. 23rd, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - bladespark - Jun. 18th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: THIS! - thesquarefox - Jun. 18th, 2013 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 18th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
I get the worry about the 45-day Paypal limit, especially if it's an artist you've never bought from before. You have a few options, though:

-try to work out a deadline
-ask if you can pay some "placeholder fee" to keep your spot in the queue, then pay the balance when you're up next.
-for expensive, long-timeframe stuff (like full paintings or fur suits or whatever) it's not unreasonable at all to ask for a payment plan.

If the artist isn't willing to work with you and wants to be paid in full upfront to be 15th in their queue, buying from them may not be a great idea.
Jun. 18th, 2013 07:27 am (UTC)
oooO! I have an opinion on this!
I like the suggestion of a "placeholder fee" very much for clients waiting in a queue for a commission. This ensures the artist that the client is serious about wanting a spot and the client is also safe from losing the entirety of their payment if the artist does not complete the work. It sounds like a VERY practical solution, neither person is out very much and the placeholder fee can be states as nonrefundable since if an artist is offering slots it's assumed they are doing so for income and to have people back out unexpectedly when you really need the money is stressful to the artist & loes them revenue. A commissioner is justified in feeling uncomfortable paying 100% up front especially if it is a large amount of money and such a fee would make them feel secure that the artist can't rip them off for the full amount and that they won't lose the slot. Sounds like a good trust-basis that discourages both parties from scamming the other (artist wants the full amount obviously and commissioner doesn't want to LOSE money), honestly this SHOULD be implemented for those who have wait lists! :D

PERSONALLY I believe that no matter what the commission is for if you pay UP FRONT the full cost you deserve to have a solid verification and confirmation that the artist has begun your project or planned it out or something. I always did think it was an extremely unfair advantage artists had over commissioners to simply stall until the PayPal chargeback is no longer an option then never complete the work because there is no "real" consequence other than someone on the internet badmouthing you. I don't know of any furry that really pursued a refund through the legal system and especially not over a sub-$100 commission which I am assuming many are. How is the commissioner supposed to have a fair chance at a transaction here? It really is a risk they take every time they are not given an expected turnaround time/the artist isn't known for taking that long/when they prepay for a slot in the future/are told outright it will be longer than 45 days.

I feel that artists who have abused this system are just as scandalous as artists who beg for charity/donations and lie about the need for it or artists who straight-up scam. It's a seriously one-sided payment system and commissioners really need to be aware of their money transaction method's TERMS OF USE and especially the refund/chargeback/complaint deadlines! I know most of us just skip down and click Agree and sign up but you can't act surprised or victimized when it was YOUR responsibility to know the limitations of your financial servicer before using them... AKA ignorance is not an excuse to not know the consequences. But those people who are aware and give the artists benefit of the doubt or even REQUEST updates/proof of work/progress shots and are not given them within that chargeback period are the ones losing out big time here.

If your preferred method of payment is PayPal then there are several things I think everyone should be aware of or impliment:
1) KNOW the terms of service and read about how to report a scam, file a report, get a REFUND or CHARGEBACK and how LONG you have to do this as well as how to protect YOURSELF from this before you use that service to transfer money to someone else.
Jun. 18th, 2013 07:27 am (UTC)
longpost is long
2) It is the commissioner's responsibility to ask or find out the artists' average or estimated time for completion. If it is near or OVER the 45 day chargeback limit then think very hard if you're willing to lose that money in case the deal goes sour. Commissioners - ask the artist to provide you with irrefutable proof or evidence that they have at the VERY least began your project in some way--be it a sketch or composite, a photo of materials being used or screencaps/receipts that supplies have been ordered, a shot of your desired order (like a printed description or ref sheet) laid next to a pile of the things that will be used to make it, SOMETHING to show that hey, you aren't just a name on a list that could be deleted or lost somewhere. I don't think an artist, even a busy one, should have a problem taking 5 minutes out of their day to block out the most simple of designs/sketches or show you that they have something prepared to begin your order.

3) ARTISTS if you want your commissioners to feel more comfortable if you make it known that the wait will be beyond the refund/chargeback date consider offering nonrefundable deposits for slots. You receive a small amount of money up-front for supplies and things you may need to work on the commission or a 'cushion' that will keep you afloat if a client backs out/is flaky. If a client is willing to pay a deposit for a slot to commission you for work it is much more likely that they won't leave you penniless after you finished the work because they'd also be out money.

4) As a COMMISSIONER ask if they will do this so you do not risk losing the ENTIRE sum of money if the artist does not fulfill their end of the work. I believe it is within your rights to say "no, I want the assurance of knowing that if something happens I can still get my money back" if an artist tries to demand you pay in full for work that you have any doubts of being completed or wish to commission for a slot in the future beyond the refund date of PayPal. If an artist insists you pay up front when you know the work won't be completed by then or are simply uncomfortable then that should be THEIR loss and I woud not trust their reasons for insisting you put all your money up at risk of losing it just for the chance of receiving something from them. That seems very one-sided to me and a commissioner deserves the right to get what is owed them if they are scammed.

If an artist's TOS clearly states no refunds then that's up the the client to decide what to do.
I also feel like artists demanding payments as "gift only" (as often as they can without PP suspending them) is unscrupulous or who force clients to pay an extra fee based on the percentage PayPal takes out for CC transactions so they get their full $20 or so and the client, who wanted a :"$20 commission" is now paying $20 and THEN some so the artist can circumvent the fees that are clearly stated in the TOS/rules of PP when they agreed to use that service....

I'm sorry to come off as being angry or bitchy, unwilling to compromise or listen - I really am interested in hearing ALL opinions of this I just feel very strongly that the amount of commissioners who are ripped off because they can't file a chargeback or complaint due to waiting MONTHS or even YEARS is totally ridiculous and some sort of checks and balances system should be in place to protect not JUST the clients but the artists as well! Nobody wants to fill slots they desperately need for their income only to have 5 people drop out or disappear when their art is completed. :C

I need to sleep so apologies if I'm being too harsh or biased, I'm rushing to finish this!

Edited at 2013-06-18 07:30 am (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2013 03:34 pm (UTC)
I understand that this community mostly has folks doing smaller commission work and the like, so please take this with a grain of salt. For those sorts of things, perhaps a short wait time is acceptable, or even demanded. But some of us really do need months to finish commissions. Some of my art has many hundreds of hours put into it. That sort of thing just isn't going to happen quickly, no matter how driven I am (and I do put in a lot of long hours on my art). I am fortunate enough to work full time on art. If I had to work another job and did art in my 'time off', surely the wait period would be all that much longer.

It's true that when I take on more "epic" works like this, I do payment plans and keep the customer informed and updated with WIPs. I am not trying to suggest that folks that take full payment then disappear for a year are in the right. I'm just trying to suggest that some art really can take a long time to make.
Jun. 18th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think payment plans work out best for both parties with those kind of long-timeframe pieces. That way the artist doesn't feel rushed, and the buyer isn't stressing their money.
Jun. 18th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with Nambroth. Some of us just have particularly long art processes. In my case, I state before hand in my TOS that I work a part time job and thus turn around time for art takes longer than it would for a full time artist. I am upfront about this to my clients. So, in some cases, people do know in advance what they're getting into when hiring artists. Despite this, wip's are shown and updates are given as often as possible to keep clients in the loop.
Jun. 18th, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC)
This! If the artist is up front about a wait time and provides current information on the progress of the commission when requested or even when not prompted that's a good practice to implement.
Jun. 18th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)

speaking only from personal experience here, but i am a slow artist in that i obsess over the littlest things, and simple things can somehow take me a very long time. i've worked all day on a piece of art with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. going through the process of sketch/approval/lines/approval/etc can sometimes take that long based on response time and number of revisions.
so my TL;DR is that yes, it can, depending on several factors.
Jun. 18th, 2013 05:55 pm (UTC)
I normally do my commissions in stages now, and try to keep customers up to date when each milestone is reached. (For me, it's usually sketch -> clean lineart/inking -> flat color -> shades and highlights. I find that a lot of my customers are a lot more satisfied when there is a constant communication and seem to be more forgiving when a commission occasionally goes over a month because they know that work is actually being done one it. Diving the work into stages allows me to also work on more then one commission at a time.

I don't know about anyone else, but so far this method has turned out positive experiences for me.

Edited at 2013-06-18 05:56 pm (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
ugh please excuse the horrendous typos...
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Jun. 18th, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rimpala - Jun. 18th, 2013 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 19th, 2013 10:45 am (UTC)
It depends on what I am doing and what else is on my plate. I keep my queue to less than ten items at a time, and will soon be limiting myself to no more than six hours worth of work a week.

1. Sketches and Icons are small items and I would feel terrible if we got into the three week mark on them. With that said, when I am the commissioner and I am faced with an artist who is approaching the 45 day deadline on a small item like this, I will usually cancel and move on. I'm normally very careful about who I commission and generally avoid people with long queues.

2. Full colors/ Illustrations/ Ref sheets can take anywhere from a month to a few months. I always make myself available to clients when working on items like this, and send WIP updates every few days to show the progress that has been done. I think with pieces like this most folks are okay with waiting so long as the artist is easy to communicate with and folks can see progress as it goes. I also hold down a part time job that can have surprise overtime without any prior warning, so I always make sure clients know this. There are some weeks where every day I go in with the knowledge that I have a 6 hour shift and won't leave until 10 - 12 hours later.

On the flip side, when I commission folks for big items like this I don't ask for updates but once every three to four weeks and generally just leave the artist be. With that said, I don't commission a lot of large works unless it's an artist that I've worked with extensively and have full faith that they can get the work done.
Jun. 20th, 2013 06:22 am (UTC)
For me, I try to get my regular commissions done within a week. If I get multiple comic pages to do (one guy has me doing 4 at the moment) then I will space it out a little but I will try not to take more than a month. (edit: I also only ask for payment when the customers slot comes up and not way in advance.)

The 45 day thing can be really annoying. Especially if you commission something physical that has to be shipped to you... because the artist needs time to make it and the postal service has to have time to get it to you... and that can easily take more than 45 days.

Edited at 2013-06-20 06:50 am (UTC)
Jun. 21st, 2013 12:49 am (UTC)
I totally, get where you're coming from, but i must disagree on certain aspects. I know lots of artists are genuine and truthful in their practice, and it just naturally takes a month or two or even three to get around to and work on a commission >3>
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