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When can they say "I don't accept it"

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by ricklecoat, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. ricklecoat

    ricklecoat Junior Member

    Dealing with Terms and Conditions makes me really confront all manner of things that I would normally just shudder and stop thinking about, because... well, just because they're the awkward snaggy corners of doing business. The stuff that has to be accounted for but you wish it didn't.

    Today's snaggy corner: Under what conditions can the client reject the work?

    One studio uses the clause:

    Client shall only be entitled to reject the Works because such do not comply with the quotation or are defective in material and workmanship. Rejection without good reason shall be deemed a breach of these terms.

    I like that. But it does raise the question, 'Hang on, what if they just don't like the design?' The solution might fulfil the brief from an objective, functional perspective, but there is a subjective level to our business also. One person's minimalist is another person's boring, and we all know that if you put 5 random people in front of... well, pretty much anything and ask them what they think you'll probably get 7 different opinions.

    So, if the client just doesn't like the work for purely subjective, judgement-call reasons, then what do you do? How do you handle it?

    I'd love to know.
  2. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Apologies, I can't help at all, but I'd just like to say too right :sad:
  3. berry

    berry Active Member

    This all comes down not to, if they don't like the design - but how well you fulfill your role in selling the design in - which is another skill set and thread altogether!

    We make it quite clear from the off that they have appointed us to do a job based on our reputation and quality. Only one idea is presented, and we have to sell that one concept in. If we fail in that route ( which is very very rare) then we will represent another idea that generally achieves the route. It all depends on how well you take the brief, understand the objectives and sell your work. No Tell, No Sell - BB book of Life

    Ideally clients should never have to reject work if you have sold the concept in and understood what was required.
  4. charles

    charles Senior Member

    It's a difficult one, although...

    all I would say is; firstly always be clear on your brief, allow input from the client and maybe even subconsciously hint design ideas and make it sound as though they had the idea in the first place... "but it was your idea"

    The art of trickery always wins lol

  5. berry

    berry Active Member

    This always works, an old Creative Director taught me this trick, many many years ago, when he was teaching me to take over from him - the art of creative judo" he called it.
    A small man can never win going head to head with a big, stronger person rushing toward you. You must use use their momentum and force to create leverage and put them on their back. The answer is always in the brief or the briefing. But you have to ask the right question or find the clue. Give them ownership of the idea and job done.
  6. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    What I normally do is have a cut off point where the design is 'finalised' and that when completed it will require full payments within the usual t&c's. I will also make it clear during the meeting/conversation/email so that the client is fully aware that any alterations after this point will constitute a change of brief and therefore additional charges may be incurred.

    With my 3D work especially it can take a fair few hours to produce a rendered image so what I do is I send several smaller images to the client for them to OK then I normally do the final render(s). I dont start the final renders until I have a clear concise yes thats how we want it etc.

    I'm very much of the view that getting the right design for a client is all about communication and sometimes making them feel part of the design process (ie so they think they did it :))
  7. Russell

    Russell Member

    I don't think this is something you have to worry too much about in your terms and conditions. If you make it clear in your quotes that after the initial ideas round you are costing for X amount of revisions, if they reach that number and still don't like your stuff then you can give them the option to bill for the work you have done or pay for extra development.

    If you are doing a branding brief for example and give them a few initial routes it's quite rare they would say 'I don't like anything about any of them, start again'
  8. ricklecoat

    ricklecoat Junior Member

    Good viewpoints everyone, thank you, and I agree with all of them pretty much. Communication with the client, selling the idea, billing beyond X number of revisions... yep, I'm with you on all of that. Absolutely.

    However, I'm not sure that any of it quite answers the initial question. Which was, as you'll recall (and I paraphrase): if subjective gut reaction is not grounds for a rejection, and if you feel that you've answered the brief well but the client doesn't quite 'like' the result, where do you go?

    Berry: your reply was spot on regarding the best way to present one's ideas to the client, and I agree with you 100%. But it sort of dodged the issue by saying (and forgive me if I've misinterpreted you or if I put words in your mouth) that either you consistently present the idea so well that the client always accepts the design, or, if it comes to it, that you accept the rejection of the idea and work further to provide another solution.

    I have no problem with either option. But does not the latter imply that you would simply overlook the 'no rejection' clause?

    I know I'm playing a pedantic what-if game here... and frankly I've never yet been in a situation where a client has rejected all proposed concepts (I've hitherto provided more than one initial concept, but I'm thinking of changing that -- but that's a whole different discussion). I'm just curious as to how that clause might play out if the client just 'doesn't like it' without there being a specific problem with the design.
  9. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I think you need to sometimes play it by ear. Think about it this way how would you deal with it if it was a big client (returning) and a small client (one off job). It also depends on how big an alteration, if its just a change of colours maybe do it as a jesture of good will but if its a change of design then its a new bill etc.

    If it was me I would explain the situation (last meeting was to finalise design, you ok'd it etc - signed paper) and I'd then say something along the lines of I will do further revisions to the design however it would be under new brief and as such will be invoiced separately. Maybe considering a reduced rate too.

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