How do you deal with a client who doesn't like what you present to them?

Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
I'm just wondering what policies people/studios have in place in the event that a client isn't happy with the work presented to them? I'm rebranding in future with an agency-type approach, and want to get a contract and policy drawn up to protect myself and others I may work with.

I did have a client in the past refuse options and expect me to redesign something without further payment since we agreed on an estimate, in which case I just took the payment hit and refused to work with them further. However, if this were to happen with a bigger client where the job was more than a few hours work, I'd like to know that I'm well within my right to demand and chase payment, especially as it could be days worth.

So, what do/would you do in this scenario?
I usually start off by offering concept designs, with placeholders rather than actual content with an avenue to redesign options based on the content.

Once it's decided what look and feel they want I usually do up a page or in some cases 2 or 3 pages.

If it's a book, I'll put in for 3 chapters initial design.

For the concept phase and the intial design I'd agree a fee to that point.

And then I usually finish off the design based on the initial design agreement.
You would cover yourself for things like this in your contract that they sign. As a designer you work in stages, so a non-refundable deposit should pretty much cover you up to a certain stage in your process of completing a brief. If your client doesn't like what you have done and you feel things are going round in circles with no way of moving on, you can amicably stop the process and leave with your deposit, which should of pretty much covered you for your time up until that point. Even if you have to set your deposit at 50%.

I'd like to know that I'm well within my right to demand and chase payment, especially as it could be days worth.

As long as everything is clearly stated in your contract, and your client has signed it, then you are within your rights to demand anything your signed contract states. It is an agreement, agreed via proof of signature.
Cheers for the feedback guys, I figured a contract would cover me. I think I'll switch to a stages-based approach for everything, rather than just bigger projects like I do normally. This will give me the opportunity to bill clients in instalments, and forces them to pay before I move onto the next stage, so I guess it makes sense.
Well, contract of your service needs to have everything mentioned clearly so that if you have such problem you can ask your Client to go through the contract again.
You should always start with an approved concept following by mock and revisions until they're happy before any coding begins.

It's so important to ensure that this process is nailed down, or things can get messy.