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Demandstudiossucks.com • View topic - Question about kill fees

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Question about kill fees

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Question about kill fees

Postby CE_ClueBat » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:23 pm

I had a private client who was always cool with me. He hired me to write for a client of his, which was fine. They sent back edits, and I did the work. I wrote him today to pay me and he said his client wasn't happy and they hired another writer. OK, cool...sucks because it kicks my ego a little, but shit happens and you can't make everyone happy.

My problem is that he wrote me back saying he used another copywriter and to tell him what he owed me while taking into consideration that they hired another writer. The way he wrote me back indicated that he expects me to reduce my price. It's been about 3 weeks since I wrote the material.

How do you traditionally handle this? Should I tell him he owes me full price, or do you normally just take a kill fee? I charged him $285 for 3 articles. There was 1 edit request, which I did.

Can I get some feedback please on what to do? He's sent me several articles, but I don't know if this one time will kill any more jobs with him. He could be bullshitting me, but I doubt it. He's never given me a hard time before. He talked to me about another job, but he has not asked for more work since this incident, so I'm thinking that I blew it for the other job.

What do y'all think?
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby Scribe On Demand » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:51 pm

They have the articles in possession along with edits so I'd charge the full amount. I've heard of freelancers charging 50 to 75 percent if they really like the people and want to cut them a deal because they know they'll bring them more work, but I'd be hesitant to do less than 75 percent myself since they already have what you wrote and edited.

In my contract I always have three specific clauses and I never work without a contract:

1) I get paid 50 percent to start the work and 50 percent upon delivery. This is modified if it's a bigger project or I know the people and they always pay so that the deposit is lower and payments are over the months of the project.

2) The price includes up to 3 rounds of edits, because I want my client to be happy. After those edits, I will bill them further.

3) I keep the deposit - the first payment of 50 percent typically - as a kill fee if they decide for whatever reason they no longer require services before delivery of the product. But once they have the product in hand, I get paid because I put the work in. I have clause 2 to protect them but clauses 1 and 3 to protect me.

Just my 2 cents. I know I'm probably considered a hardass about the contract and clauses but this is business and my income we're talking about so I'm pretty unapologetic about it.
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby CE_ClueBat » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:03 pm

No, Scribe, you're totally correct and normally, I do what you laid out in your post. This guy is a friend of an ex-boss, and he's thrown me thousands of dollars in work for over a year. He's never had a problem paying me. I realize this is probably "famous last words" and I should have been more professional after he mentioned that it wasn't directly for him but for someone else. I have no idea what happened, and I am a little miffed that he didn't tell me on the first round of edits that something was wrong. The edits were simple and not a big deal, so I assumed everything was fine.

If this were anyone else, I'd think he was bullshitting me to get a cheaper price, but since this guy has always worked well with me, I'm sure he's being upfront with me. It's possible HIS client is a douchebag, because his edits were changes to a few sentences and that's it. The client asked for simple edits and gave no feedback.

I'm a little pissed about it right now, so I think I will wait a couple hours to hear more feedback and hold off writing him back.
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby BurnCEs » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:28 pm

Morally, the client should immediately state the problems with the article and give you the opportunity to correct all these issues at your expense.

If he didn't do this, and won't give you this opportunity now, then really he should pay you in full for your work.

That's the right thing to do but, let's face it, it's probably not going to happen so I'd take a pragmatic approach and negotiate for a reduced fee. I agree with Scribe that around 70 percent-ish sounds right.

How hard I'd fight for this depends on how much money is at stake and whether or not I expect worthwhile repeat business from the client.

If I think the client relationship's over, I'll hassle the fuckers to the end of the Earth until they pay. If it's a valued client who's cool to work for, pays well and on time -- and it's never happened before -- then I'll grit my teeth, take it up the ass and put it down to experience.

Sounds like this guy is a good client so maybe go for a reduced fee but don't negotiate too hard if he won't budge.

I hate it when this sort of shit happens, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and it's one of the reasons why brainless work for content mills is SO tempting. Lol.
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby CE_ClueBat » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:36 pm

Yeah, he should have told me, which is why I'm a little pissed and walking away before I write him back. My initial reaction was to ask WTF he didn't TELL me something was wrong before or after the edits.

I think I'm going to ask for 70%. He won't argue with me, I don't think. He's a good payer, but I was expecting full pay like every-freakin-time before and he hits me with this 3 weeks later.

Not a good day in Cluebat land. :mrgreen:
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby Scribe On Demand » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:05 pm

Cluebat, you should also make a point to ask him what happened. I know he didn't volunteer the information, but asking directly may give you the truth, especially since you've worked well together in the past. You can pose it as diplomatically as you are comfortable with. You know, "I take pride in my work and would really like to know what the client wasn't happy with since you seemed to approve after the minor edits. I would appreciate any feedback you can give me."

A little schmoozy but you know how it is when dealing with clients.
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby YouGetMeDown » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:52 am

Hey guys,

Have a quick question for you hard asses. Thought I'd post here -- it's kinda related.

I have had this client for almost a year, she is awesome as a person and as a boss. Gives me an assignment, a due date and fucks off. I send her an invoice, she pays me, and for me, it's a lot of money and huge exposure.

She works as a producer, so it's not actually her job to pay me, it's just that she is the go-between... I think she probably just sends the invoice along to accounting and then it's their responsibility to pay all the writers, etc. Yknow.

Anyway, lately my payment has been taking FOREVER. Not just forever, but like I am still waiting on payment for something I did a rush job on in June. I know as a freelancer, sometimes you have to accept that people pay once a month, and that's fine, but this last time, it was a lot of money, and I invoiced on July 19, and am still waiting.

My contract is to be paid 14 days after the invoice date, and I invoiced her well after everything was actually done, just to make sure the script was alright and production went well on it and she was happy. All in all, I am super flexible contractor and she is great about being a source of high-paying work.

I am thinking of changing our terms to avoid this in the future and I am a spineless retard, so I am unsure of how to do this with someone who is established and good source of income. Any ideas what to say? How to broach the subject.... I don't want to be threatening, but I am pretty pissed off about it. We just moved and it's an amount of money that would be a lot to anyone. Just looking how to navigate this sticky situation... :cry:

Smiles&sunshine
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby Weasel_Toad » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:17 pm

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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby YouGetMeDown » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:34 pm

Thanks WT, I did actually try that tactic. She kept leading me on actually... saying oh they're paying today (no payment), oh they're paying this afternoon (no payment), and finally I wrote an email last night (a week after payment was supposed to be posted to my account, a good month after the job was done), I MUST be paid Friday. I cannot, absolutely cannot, wait until Monday to be paid. Thanks. And lo and behold, it was there at 3pm today.... but 75GBP short.

I was told they "lost" my original invoice, but when she asked for another copy she said, just add the other treatment fee and we'll pay that along with the two other jobs. So I said, oh cool of you, thanks --- here's a new invoice with all three jobs. But I seem to have been paid for the amount on the old invoice. Hmmmmm....so it's fishy and she probably is a BF liar.

But going forward, apparently in Britain, where my 'business' is based, I can charge 8% plus the Bank of England base interest rate, which is 0.5%, of the bill when payment is late. For each day.

I have learned a valuable lesson in all this.... to be a complete fucking bitch and charge huge late fees.

:D
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Re: Question about kill fees

Postby Weasel_Toad » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:44 pm

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