Business 101: Get Paid First [CENSORED]

If you are looking for the original posting of this it has been removed. The business operator asked me to take the business name off of the post. This is a censored version.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the business aspect about being an independent designer. Writing invoices, bill collection, contracts and the like are not my specialty. Sometimes, hell most of the time, I get so excited about starting on a new job for a client that I neglect to go through the motions and secure a deposit. The fact that 70% of potential clients need a rush doesn’t help either. They are usually in such a frenzy that I try to get them what they need as soon as possible. Living in a small town and getting paid is not usually an issue. Every once in a while you will deal with some asshole that screens his phone calls and drops off the face of the earth, but not usually. If only I had listened to the words of wisdom from my screen printing mentor the following story might have not happened:

“An error on your account doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine.”

Last summer I was contacted about creating a logo and printing it on some shirts for the reopening of [CENSORED]. [CENSORED] said that they were in a big hurry to get things done and needed a rush turnaround on the shirts. I met up with him as soon as possible with a product catalog gave him prices and shirt options and then discussed the logo they needed. I went home that night excited about gaining a client that I knew wouldĀ  be around for a long time and would need a lot of work as they are planing on franchising. I started working on a logo immediately and sent him a low-res version of it to gauge his feelings on the direction I was going in so that I would waste time on something he hated.

He responded that he liked it, but not much else.

I figured that he was busy trying to get things ready for his opening and would of course ask for the shirts to be done in a day. So I called and sent him emails every other day to remind him that he needed to confirm on the number of shirts and the logo before I could continue with the job.

Eventually the restaurant opened and I was never contacted. I didn’t even know they were open until I drove by it one day and saw a crappy version of my logo staring back at me from the front door. I couldn’t believe it.

[CENSORED] had paid someone else to copy my intellectual property, which they did poorly, when he could have just paid me for the original. Why would someone do this? So far it is the first time this has happened to me and I intend to not let it happen again. So far they have lost a chimichanga loving customer, but I hope that they lose so much more.

You guys think I have a case?

4 Replies to “Business 101: Get Paid First [CENSORED]”

  1. I think your logo is fifty times better and hopefully this can be resolved. Either way it is an opportunity for everyone to learn a little something.

    I also like the censorship. It makes it classy.

  2. Thats some outright bullshit right there. Keep track of the dates of the emails and the day that they actually opened the restaurant. Im no lawyer but i can guaranty you have a winning lawsuit on your hands.

  3. Aaaah, yes…This happens to all of us at some point. Sadly, it makes all further clients pay through one client’s obvious rude neglect of respect. Makes us better and more protective of ourselves for all future clients. This happened to me 10 years into business. Yes, it took that long to get burned the first time. But I have learned. I went to a lawyer and he wrote a letter to my client telling him that the sign company could get sued for producing someone else’s artwork without your knowledge or consent, he could get sued for stealing your work, etc., etc. This guy was “good”. He had his lawyer write a letter back making it sound like it was my fault. I ran like a little squealing pig from the whole experience. My lawyer told me to take the guy to small claims court and I would surely win. I didn’t have the balls to do it. Let me tell you something….This guy will do it again. He has not learned respect and someone else will suffer because you haven’t demanded your due. In my case, I believed that his karma would get him, and it did…he was out of business in three months. BUT…I was still out my money…So, don’t let him take you to the cleaners. Whether he did this unwittingly(now tell me how that could possibly happen!) or not, he needs to know the deal and pay the piper…in this case YOU!
    Another case in point…another “client” tried that on me a few years ago and sent a sample of a new logo I sent to her via email to the newspaper for an ad. I called the newspaper and asked if they were in the habit of publishing unpaid for logos and did they know they could be sued for it. They called my “client” and told her they would no longer accept this logo for print. She went bolistic. But I had the last laugh. DAMN! That felt GOOD.

  4. If the client didn’t have a contract, unfortunately you have no case. But if they signed a contract to promise to pay, I’d take them to small claims court. Otherwise it’s your word against theirs as to who came up with the idea.

    We designed a custom vanity glass for a casino in Las Vegas and did a mock-up of a logo since it was a new restaurant. Well the company had their own designer redesign it based on what we provided and started using it. Unfortunately we had no case because even the LOC said our design was too common to be copyright. So the joke is on the client.

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