Bring a bad design project to a close

I am having a difficult time with a client. He’s someone I have known since uni and we have worked well together since then. This time he hired me to re-do the design of his website. His main requirement was that he wanted great design, something well thought that would last more than a year. So after defining all the requirements, I sent a quote and he agreed with it.

I started the work and just before I submitted the final layouts he came back to me saying they had found a great theme they wanted to use and that I should then adjust my design to it. I was a bit annoyed but I said it was ok and that it would be charged separately since it was a new requirement. He said I should have suggested this approach and that he wouldn’t pay for designs he is not going to use, that I should remove this from my quote and requote for the new work.

After talking to wall, I agreed to give him a discount on the initial project but asked for his team to write down their new requirements so I could quote from then. Then I asked for a 50% upfront of the new quote before I would start any more work – I hadn’t taken upfront payment for the initial project. He got annoyed and said he couldn’t pay before he would get anything tangible. I explained to him that this is a standard in my industry and that given their change of direction in this project I had lost many hours of work.

Since then, I haven’t heard back from him. I saw they went live with the site using really poor design elements so I emailed him once more to ask him if he needed any design work now that they were live. He didn’t get back to me.

I have made peace with the fact I won’t get that money. Legally I should be paid for my work but I should also have been more careful and asked for an upfront deposit. I am not sure how to finish off this project now. Should I send him the invoice anyway? Needless to say that we won’t work together again in the future but I still would like to give a professional but firm impression in my last correspondence with him. Any idea how to do that?

Sorry for the long message.
Kind regards,


Whether or not he used the work is irrelevant. You provided a quote, he agreed upon that quote, and you did work based upon that quote.

It really depends on how much you have invested in it. Working with “friends” can be tough. I’m assuming you also worked without a contract?

It doesn’t cost much to file in small claims court. Find out what that is. If it’s more than what you’re going to get back, forget it but if not, consider it. If he’s got a legitimate business, it’s not great to have claims against him since that knowledge is usually public. He may have more to lose than you do. Whether he cares is another story.

In some states, a verbal agreement can be construed as a contract. If you have any correspondence (e-mails and such) dictating the initial amount, that might help you as well.

If you didn’t send him an invoice, don’t wait. Knock the amount down a bit and mention “since you didn’t use the work, and since we go way back to uni, I’m invoicing you for the $xxx, which is xx% off but I still expect payment for the design work we already agreed upon on (date he sent you the quote acknowledgment) and which I had completed on XXX. I’m hoping we can get this resolved without resorting to legal action.”

If you don’t hear back within a month or so, threaten to go to small claims.

Source : Link , Question Author : Sharlott , Answer Author : RitterKnight

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