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Terms and Guidelines for commissions?

A lot of artists and fursuiters seems to have Policies and Guidelines in regards to dealing with commissions posted on their websites. I think this is a great idea personally, simply because it keeps customers from assuming certain things and helps keep things simple. As long as you have a condition that people should reads the terms before commissioning you it could save so much trouble.
I'm planning on writing some for my own site and I was wondering whether there are specific things I should be sure to address. What are the most common problems you have run into in regards to commissions? How do you deal with them? What would you reccommend I add?

Help is personally appreciated and probably appreciated by others further along the line if others take on this idea.
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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
make sure they pay at least half before you start on the commission.
Jun. 6th, 2006 07:04 am (UTC)
Yes, always with some payment up front.
Jun. 6th, 2006 06:17 am (UTC)
if you are mailing original sketches and art overseas make a note that you arent responsible if it goes missing.
Jun. 6th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
"I reserve the right to decline any commission for any reason"

That's a good one. Subjectmatter squick you? Customer is creepy? Have a bad feeling about the commission? Just say "no". Just tell them "I'm sorry, but I cannot take this commission at this time.", no explanation or discussion needed.
Jun. 6th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
I agree with this one. I know someone who said that while they might not have a problem with three different fetishes, putting all three in one pic can be an overload. :P
Jun. 7th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
It's also handy for declining reportedly bad customers or plainly people you don't like.
Jun. 7th, 2006 01:49 pm (UTC)
Or when you're already full up. Or you've heard bad things about someone.
Jun. 7th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
Any ideas on what to actually say in the situation that you choose to refuse a commission? How do you do it without offending anyone?
Jun. 7th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Well, you could just be honest and tell them your reason. Such as "I'm sorry, but this subject matter makes me rather uncomfortable." You could also add that you don't think that your best could be put into any artwork you do not feel comfortable doing.

If you know someone who say doesn't mind doing micro/macro or something else you get that you don't like, you could always offer that artist's name to them. Perhaps even discuss it with said artist to have their overflow or stuff they're uncomfortable with sent in your direction.
Jun. 6th, 2006 07:03 am (UTC)
My biggest issue: Folks who don't really look over what subjects I draw, and asume I'll draw their 'perfect image' of a scene. These folks tend to be very unhappy once I show a sketch and it's in MY style and theme-age, and now what they were looking for.

Asnwer: Limit the amount of changes on a sketch before you start charging extra. I give my commissions three major edits to the prelim sketch, after that, if they can't figure out what they want and clearly let me know how to fix it. I charge extra. This keeps picky or otherwise annoying folks away.
Jun. 6th, 2006 07:04 am (UTC)
Probably a no brainer here but a list of subject matter you won't touch under any circumstances is usually wise.

Jun. 6th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC)
We've seen lots of people requesting help here with folks who paid for a commission in full yet seem to have disappeared off the face of the planet. It's even worse when the artwork is already partially completed and they're waiting for approval for the next step.

I think you should probably consider some kind of policy that will allow you to take some kind of action when you stop hearing from someone for a long time. Like, what would you like to do? Here are some examples I came up with. I don't know which of these I would choose, yet, but I need to have some policies for myself, too.:

Will the art remain in your to-do commissions folder for years and years if it has to?
Will you at some point decide to send the incomplete art along with a partial refund?
Will you send the money back and complete and sell the artwork any way you like?
Will you have a "no-refunds of payments made" policy that will help ensure that they remain in communication?
Jun. 6th, 2006 07:56 am (UTC)
I plan on giving my commissioners 10 days to respond to an email awaiting picture approval, then a reminder with another 5 days waiting time. If no response is given within the total 15 days, I will refund the commission minus the cost of the sketch and finish the picture however I see fit.
Exceptions are given to commissioners who notify me in advance of any absences (ie. holidays, moving, internet access troubles).

Does this sound a little strict? I'm worried that if they were going to ask for changes then charging them for a sketch they don't like doesn't seem fair..
Jun. 6th, 2006 08:08 am (UTC)
You could give them more time, but I agree a limit would be good. Commissions that drag on and on and on because the customer is half-assed about responding in a timely manner are annoying.

And if they don't like the sketch you made I'm sure they can formulate their displeasure within two weeks. If they don't do so you have no reason to believe you had to change anything and are entitled to the full amount they gave you.
Jun. 6th, 2006 08:11 am (UTC)
Maybe 15 days initially, then another 10 days after a reminder is sent? That's almost a whole month all-up.
Jun. 6th, 2006 08:21 am (UTC)
Maybe just round it out to three weeks? I think that's fair, I hate waiting on commission customers that can't be bothered to reply to e-mail. Plus, if the reason for them not answering you is because their e-mail is down or something along those lines, three weeks is more than enough time for them to access their mail at the library, an internet cafe or somewhere else. As long as they know about the time limit beforehand I think that's a great idea.

Another thing to consider is whether you'll work on a tight deadline. Some artists won't do it at all, while others will charge extra for rush jobs. Personally I'm going to be implementing the latter policy in the future after a rather unpleasant rush commission. :P

Also, do you work in more than one style? You might want to put in a note (or just ask each commissioner) which style they'd like their art in. You'd think it'd be a no-brainer that commissioners would want it in YOUR style. Oh, if that were only true. -_- I just had a commission of a guy who wanted the art in a specific style that was very different from my usual, so I charged him a bit extra. Of course, you have every right to refuse to work in any style too far from your own, but it's something to consider, especially if you're good at mimicing(sp?) others' styles (anime, comic book, etc) and want a bit of extra cash.

And this sounds obvious, but you'll want to put some payment info; if you don't already have a Paypal account, I highly recommend you obtain one, preferably the kind that can accept credit cards. You'll also want to put in some info about accepting currencies other than your country's and shipping costs.

That's about all I can think of for now, best of luck. :)
Jun. 6th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
I have two separate sections on my website which have served me well so far:
One is the general commissions info (which includes how a ‘mission works with me, and what the buyer can expect).

And a second part which is my Terms of Service, which a buyer must agree to before entering into a commission. They’re very clearly directed to this information twice before I even start discussing payment – once on the site, and once via email attachment: http://www.neongryphon.com/terms_of_service.htm

Anything like fees for rush jobs I would discuss with the buyer on an individual basis, but I generally steer clear of those and stick to my own two week turnover which I find comfortable. I prefer to dictate the time scale before entering into a commission, because a good artist will work to their best ability, and a rush job compromises that.

You can never cover every possible scenario, so don't get too complex. Just cover the most important/common issues. I hope some of those links help. 83
Jun. 6th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
What will happen if the commissioner disappears off the face of the earth, how many revisions are allowed, when payments are due and how much, how the customer is allowed to use the commissioned artwork, repairs (on fursuits and other wearable items), etc.
Jun. 8th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
Make sure you include a clause about revisions.

I just finished dealing with a customer right now that doesn't understand that I will not do major redraws on a conbadge he expects to only pay $12 for, without charging a bit extra.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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