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Difficult client - any advice?


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Hi all 🙂 I am working as photographer and videographer and I know from experience that there are some easy going clients out there but also some more "difficult" ones.

However, I am currently dealing with a client that left me speechless on the one hand and clueless what to do on the other.

A little summary:

I got contacted by this client to shoot lifestyle content of this products. I agreed with the client on a certain amount of photos and videos and also granted him the wish of shooting with 2 models instead of one and to shoot in more than one location. The client was the one choosing both models.

So I arranged a first shoot with model number 1 letting my client know long beforehand when the shoot was going to take place. However, the client sent me clearer instructions literally 5 minutes before I left my home to shoot. I already got a weird feeling back then... Although I only had a short glimpse at the instructions, the photos and videos turned out nicely, the client liked the first unedited preview I sent him and just mentioned some details for the next shoot.

So I did the second shoot with model 2 and the reactions I got from my client back then still leave me speechless. Instead of giving me a normal feedback, he started to insult the model as "homeless looking", "unprofessional", "looks like he just got out of bed", etc. I know from experience that not all clients are 100% satisfied immediately and sometimes it needs some re-shooting or adjustments (editing) but up to know I have always been able to have a conversation with them. But this client did not even listen. He got so upset about the looks of the model - apparently he did not like the model to wear a jeans shirt and a tie - that he lost any manners. However, the model was wearing 2 other outfits as well which he frankly did not seem to care about.

I tried to calm the client down, offered solutions such as re-shooting some of the content, etc. First, the client did not listen at all. He just continued to insult the model, referring to his "homeless looking" appearance again and again and again. He then eventually agreed on a re-shoot but he wasn't so happy with me telling him he would need to pay for an extra model. The client then told me he maxed out his budget and it is my problem to solve this not his.

As I just wanted to get this job done, I called in for some favors from model friends and told my client I arranged another shoot. Instead of sending him unedited previews as before I went ahead and edited 123 (!) photos for him instead of 20-30 and way more videos than we initially agreed on. AND turns out: my client loves the results.

When he saw the final output, his tone of communication became more friendly again. He also asked for some of the photos without watermark and the first final videos immediately so that he could already run some ads with them. I thought: well he has been waiting for a while with the third shoot and I would like to get an okayish review. So I sent him the first content before receiving any payment. Oh and I forgot, even before he was already using some of my unedited photos I sent him as a preview on his website.

However, he requested some more changes which I did. But then, he asked for content from the second shoot he initially hated soooo much and which was the reason for me needing to do a re-shoot. He now, out of nowhere, did not like the results from the third shoot so much. And I was like what? He just told me he loved the photos and videos, they are exactly as he imagined them and now this?

To finish the project, however, I was still missing a product name. Without it, I cannot mention the product in one of the videos just the brand's name. BUT the client has not told me the name in like a week now. He even stopped responding for the last 4 days.

I am now thinking of simply delivering. My problem: he would then get all the content without watermark and I am afraid he would then either request endless revisions OR go to the resolution center and request a cancellation of his order.. I'm already fine with him giving me a bad review but I would just like to get my money and end this.

What would you guys do? Any advice?

 

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3 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

The client then told me he maxed out his budget and it is my problem to solve this not his.

Unfortunately, appeasing him after this statement was the 2nd biggest mistake. It is only your problem to solve if you accept it as such. 

 

3 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

So I sent him the first content before receiving any payment.

This was the biggest. 

 

3 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

I am afraid he would then either request endless revisions

If you promised unlimited revisions, then you are indeed stuck with a lifelong friend.

 

3 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

What would you guys do? Any advice?

I would figure out how to make sure that what you can deliver matches the exact specs of your offer, deliver that and take the bad review along with his money.  Be prepared if it goes to cancellation, refuse, and quote him the section of TOS that says orders cannot be cancelled because they don't like the result, as long as you provided what you promised. You may have to remind CS of that as well.  Good luck. 

Edited by newsmike
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5 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

I am now thinking of simply delivering.

5 hours ago, lynnleamay said:

To finish the project, however, I was still missing a product name. Without it, I cannot mention the product in one of the videos just the brand's name. BUT the client has not told me the name in like a week now. He even stopped responding for the last 4 days.

You were mentioning above that he didn't give you the name.. that you were suppose to use in one of the videos... I suggest that you don't deliver without the name of the business or whatever you initially agreed with him because he might say after that ... that you delivered incomplete work. Some of these buyers know the system very well and can use this against you. Perhaps asking to extend the delivery time until he has the name might work.  I would also contact support in advance and let them know about the situation just in case .. to stay out of trouble.  Yes,they might give you a very standard / canned response however you can attach screenshots with the buyer's behavior ( you were mentioned he as being rude / unprofessional and so on  ) after that. 

 

Assuming that you are talking about this gig [ I will shoot editorials for your brand in Vienna or Copenhagen ] , I see that you are only offering 4 revisions so in case he is asking for more you can politely explain that they are available for an extra cost .  In case you deliver everything as you agreed in  theory the order cannot be cancelled without your consent... however the buyer can request a revision without an actual revision by simply saying ' I don't like your work ' or anything like that.. It doesn't really matter if he is actually not liking your work or not , he might simply want to get away with something for free , it's not the first time this happens , I got that a lot in the past and I assume it will happen in the future as well... In case you receive such revision requests ( without him asking for an actual revision ) don't redeliver the same thing again  because you might receive a warning from support ( It happened to me in the past , it's complicated sometimes when you have to deal with aggressive / rude / bad intentioned buyers etc )  ... and in case you don't redeliver the order can remain in that ' revision ' status like... forever . You won't get paid and the buyer won't get his money back...  which is not ok for you or for him either.    Sometimes support can choose to compensate you for the work even if they cancel the order , that might be a happy situation but it depends on many factors , chances are that they won't do this without any solid evidence that the buyer is trying to get away with free work.  

 

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