View Full Version : A Little Advice, Please!

Three Pines Farm
04-01-2017, 07:40 PM
I am resurfacing on Blab because I could use some advice! I have been very fortunate so far in my tack making venture that most of the transactions have gone smoothly, so I am not really sure how to proceed when things don't seem to be going right. I have been going back and forth with this person from December 2016 to present, and when the customer is reminded about payments, it seems like an excuse is given.

Would it be reasonable to ask for a payment to be made by the end of the month or she would forfeit her commission?

I have kept up communication with the customer, updating on saddle set progress, etc. These are the interactions regarding payment:

December 30, 2016: I agreed to make a saddle set for the customer, with mutual understanding that payments would be made. I try to be as lenient as possible, I know life happens and people are tight on money, so I also agreed to go against my policies and accept a lower down payment. The customer made a down payment.
January 22, 2017: Agreed to add an additional item to the commission, adding to the total cost of the set.
January 26, 2017: I sent a reminder that 80% of the payment was still owed. Customer stated a payment would be made on February 1st.
February 1, 2017: Sent a reminder for payment, customer stated a payment would be made on February 9th.
February 9, 2017: Sent a reminder for payment, customer stated a payment would be made on February 11th.
February 17, 2017: Inquired about payment, customer stated her husband could not cash his paycheck until February 13th, and she also mentioned a family member passing away.
March 8, 2017: I inquired about payment, and gave three options on how the remaining balance would be paid: two payments, three payments, or paid in full. The customer chose three payments. Customer stated a payment would be made on March 16th or 17th.
March 18, 2017: Customer stated her husband was laid off, and would be making a payment on April 1st.
April 1, 2017: Reminder sent, customer stated the payment would be made once she sold a model horse, and stated again that her husband is laid off.

I would appreciate any kind of advice, as I am not sure how to proceed.

04-01-2017, 07:54 PM
Give her a deadline and stick to it. Life happens, but she appears to be taking advantage of you allowing her to continue to put the payment off. That's a LOT of excuses for a payment SHE agreed to. I would tell her politely but sternly that you have given her enough deadline extensions but considering the amount of months she has gone without a single payment, you will not allow it any longer. Tell her the exact date the items must be paid in full by (I personally would not allow her the option to make a partial payment, ONLY paid in full at this point) and if not she forfeits her deposit and her items.

It's not your fault her husband was laid off or whatever else happens. Your time has been wasted and now you have a set you'll probably have to put up for sale. That's entirely on them. IMO you've been patient enough and it doesn't sound like they are going to make amends any time soon. Maybe by giving them a strict deadline, they'll finally cough up the money. Four months is a long time to run around paying what she owes.

I, personally, would also light them with yellows for being a tire kicker on a transaction board (here or otherwise). That's just what I would do. I hope you get everything resolved!

04-01-2017, 08:01 PM
She's said that she would pay you multiple times and has yet to follow though... I think you've been incredibly patient! I would definitely state that if payment isn't made by the end of the month, the commission will be cancelled. I also agree with having her make the payment in full. Follow through with that, and be firm with your policies. Good luck!

Sandy A.
04-01-2017, 08:23 PM
I agree... you have been very patient and have tried to work with her, but it isn't your fault her husband was laid off or a family member passed away...

Send her an email stating you have received a payment since (date) and with the amount owed. Give a deadline for payment in full, and state all payment received up to that date is forfeit if payment is not received. Do not give her an option to make payments, as she has already missed multiple payment dates, some of which she gave.

Also, make sure you save all your email contact with her, just in case there is a problem later. The initial emails will show you reached an agreement on price and what the item is, and subsequent emails to show she was making excuses to pay...

You stated you agreed to accept payments from her, but did not mention if there was any agreement as to when those payments were to be made...

04-01-2017, 09:00 PM
She's said that she would pay you multiple times and has yet to follow though... I think you've been incredibly patient! I would definitely state that if payment isn't made by the end of the month, the commission will be cancelled. I also agree with having her make the payment in full. Follow through with that, and be firm with your policies. Good luck!

:yeahthat Seeing the timeline you put out of requests shows in black and white a lack of follow-through on the customers side. I'd treat any potential commission at this point with high caution and asking for payment in full up front is very justified. If questioned on it c & p to them the posted timeling. It's pretty black and white. Looks like they said they'd pay you 7 times. Um, yeah. 7 times and no payment.

04-01-2017, 10:35 PM
You have been more than lenient with this customer and were forthcoming stating deadlines. That is far too long to be waiting for payment. Sure, life happens (I know that all too well) but when you make a commitment you need to stick to it. If you can't commit, either admit it or don't commission. We can be understanding though to a point. As has been stated, set 1 more deadline and DO NOT BUDGE. State again that if the customer doesn't come up with her end of the deal that you reserve the right to keep the down payment (for your time and materials used) and she will not receive the commission. Best of luck to you. :)

04-02-2017, 09:40 AM
I agree with the others who've said set one more deadline for payment in full or she forfeits everything. And given the number of months that have already gone by, I wouldn't give her until the end of the month. Give her two weeks.

Just my 2cents. Good luck.

Three Pines Farm
04-02-2017, 09:53 AM
Thank you so much everyone for your advice, I really appreciate the input!

I am going to send her a message stating a deadline for full payment, or she forfeits her down payment and commission entirely. I do have a policies page on my website outlining various aspects of the commission process, including payments, and I have customers read through them before sending any payments. On my website it is stated that any payments made are non-refundable, and she had read through my policies before sending the down payment.

I also plan on posting yellow lights once this transaction is settled.

04-02-2017, 01:49 PM
I chime in with what has been said above. Generally speaking and not just this transaction, and giving the benefit of the doubt that all of a customer's excuses are true, then at some point the artist can simply say "I can see this is not a good time for your to complete this purchase as you've agreed".

:tiphat to Three Pines Farm for a great example of effective and considerate follow-up, that other people can follow as well. Your communications consistency, and your kindness as well, has laid the groundwork for you to do what you need to do without feeling you have to delay further and give more chances and messages, etc. When a transaction is not working out, it is better to get it over with.

I also suggest that all commission workers include a cancellation policy in their initial agreement, so that everyone knows what happens if payment isn't forthcoming. "Cancellation" defined so that it includes non-payment by a certain timeframe. If a customer notifies the artist of cancellation within the first 10 days after the initial deposit, the cancellation fee is x% of the deposit, (up to 100%). After that, cancellation is 100% forfeit of the deposit. If a payment is not received within X days after it is due, the order is considered cancelled. A cancellation clause is not only a fair and business-like order stipulation, hopefully it also helps ensure the customer is fully committed to the order. Custom-made items can be more difficult to sell elsewhere, so it is only fair that if a customer just isn't going to come through, the artist receives something for their customization work and trouble before they look for another sale or use for the item. Just imo. :)

Three Pines Farm
04-02-2017, 06:32 PM
Update: I gave her a date, and she decided to cancel the order.

Thank you so much everyone for your input, I feel relieved to have this situation behind me now!

I am going to update my policies now too, thanks for all the good advice :tiphat