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Advice needed

Hello again A_B
I seem to need some advice in how to word something to a customer, and the lovely people here always seem to have something for that.

My issue;

I don't do commissions through skype - but I do have a FA skype profile for friendly chit-chat and people I meet online. The person I have a problem with added me on skype and we have been friends for a good while both on and offline, he have received some free art via raffles from me in the past, but have never paid for something before - now he have decided that he want to commission me. However when I asked him to write it up neatly in a form and e-mail it to me, he said he would do that but wanted to first "bounce some ideas" for the piece. I am not comfortable with this at all, since it clearly says in my ToS I do not do or discuss commissions via IM's. When I told him this he replied with that it was just for him to get a clearer idea of what he wanted to commission so there wouldn't be 20+ e-mails back and forth.

How do I say I do not want him to bounce his ideas off me in a polite manner? there have come up details that is very important to the image via skype, and my response have always been "then add it to the form" - what I fear is that he will not write up some of the things in the e-mail, and then get mad if I do not include it in the piece since he have mentioned it over IM.

It's getting a bit tedious hearing all the ideas, and getting sent refs, for something that is not even paid for yet - it almost feels like he wants something done for free this time too. (he asked me to design a logo for free earlier - I simply ignored this note)

I want to be his friend, I have no issues with him as a person. I don't however, do great with long texts when it comes to commissions, and I have a hard time making him understand the difference between friendship and business.

Thanks in advance for any advice ^^

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:21 am (UTC)
I am interested in this, too. I have about three clients who do this and it can be very taxing. I've explained that if I'm on IM then it means that I am "off", but they still want to "flesh out the ideas".

I've thought about simply saying "I would prefer not to and instead leave you to contact me when you have a finalized idea" but I'm not sure if that's too rude or not.

One of them very rarely follows through with the commission, which makes me wonder if they just enjoy talking about the subject at hand.

How to curb this behavior is something I'd really like to know.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
My advice, for what little it is worth, is if he/they just can't deal with the concept of "I don't talk commissions on IM" to ignore all comments related to image ideas like they weren't there.

They're all after interaction on the ideas, so by withholding it, they might eventually stop.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:33 am (UTC)
I say stick to your ToS, because they could decide to use the compliance to try and ask for more than what they pay.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
This is what I'd say/do, though I am rather blunt when people start trying to step all over me. I have zero tolerance for people purposely ignoring my requests (which is basically what this guy is doing to you) and wasting my time and energy.

Just repeat that all commission-related conversations MUST go through the proper email channels just like all other commissions, and that you WILL NOT be discussing it via Skype. Tell him you value his friendship but you have a reason to do things the way you do and he is not an exception to this. Period.

And then you have two options, one would be to ignore absolutely anything commission-related he continues to IM you. DO NOT respond to a single thing he says or asks about the commission via Skype.

Or, if you dread having him bombard you with commission stuff on Skype, you can tell him that you've repeatedly asked for him to do this by email and you'll be blocking him until he can do so.

If he were a friend he would respect your boundaries. That he hasn't taken the hint yet is a red flag to me that he's latched on to the 'free art' aspect of being your 'friend'.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
I would just be firm and explain you actually have a much easier time writing things in email, and like to keep a trail of easy to find information. Email is not much slower then IM if you have your email open and reply when you get a new message, it's pretty much the same as IM. I've had things happen exactly as you fear, ideas being bounced, yet not included in the information they send me.

I feel the same way, I don't like any information via IM.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 06:48 am (UTC)
If he also considers you as his friend, he must respect you and be polite when discussing commissions. Being artist's friend doesn't mean getting free art. You can ask politely to send commission information only in emails, if not - he is acting against your ToS and you can ignore these messages.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 09:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, I would just say that keeping up to things is easier when all of them are in one email chain, rather than you or the commissioner possibly needing to weed through random IM posts. Stick to your TOS and let them know it's for the sake of convenience for the commission.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah I've struggled with that, I'm not sure if people know how obnoxious this can be. It's like if they have a friend who constantly wants to talk to them about their job, getting their professional opinion, never actually going anywhere with it. It puts you on guard and makes you feel like you're on the clock when you're in a conversation with someone who is supposed to be your friend.

Also when they say they'll commission you and postpone it indefinitely because they never have money, like they tell you to send them a bill and they can't pay for the commission because they're going to a con instead.

Or maybe they're even just "bouncing ideas" off you in the hopes one of them will inspire you to do it for free.

Feels bad :/

So now I just cut people off with "Great, send me an e-mail and I'll give you as estimate. Here's my price list and TOS." and then just ignore everything else they say about it. It sounds harsh, but especially if you've asked them to mail you several times and they keep rambling? That's really rude too.

It's not a fun conversation for artists to have, it's work.

So feel free to ignore them or change the subject if they absolutely refuse to play by your rules (which are entirely reasonable and professional), hopefully they'll catch on and realize what they've been doing and start being a friend again.

If not, they don't sound like very good friends anyway, so it's no big loss.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
I would pull the "friend card" out, tell him that if he really is your friend to respect that you don't do business/consults on IMs. If he can't do that, then like said above he is just 'latching on to free art" from you.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 03:51 pm (UTC)
Be firm. Tell him every time 'email me'. I also do not do commissions through Skype and often people push and push. You just have to keep telling them no, and to email. Make it very clear anything on skype will NOT be in the commission, and only what is emailed.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
This is one of the reasons I never go on the IM that was publicly listed. I would have people talk to me about commissions and I would take the time to work with them (sometimes a fair bit of time and it would distract me from working) and then they would never actually commission me.

Many times people wouldn't listen when I said "No discussing commissions over IM," so I just ended up not logging in anymore.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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