I agreed to a client project in March 2016. Did it for a low price to build my portfolio. We worked together for a few months and the last I heard from him was June 2016. I did receive a 50% deposit and delivered first drafts of the project that was awaiting his feedback. Never heard back from him and wrote the project of my books at the end of the year 2016. We did not have a contract. Last week, dec 2018, 2.5 years later, he contacts me that he was working on other projects and is now ready to get back to this. I’m not sure I even have the files, or the program to continue. Should I continue working on it like we were still in 2016? If he came to me today, I would price the job probably 3 times higher than what he paid. Really confused, lol, seems so weird to me for him to even come back after such a long time.
If a client approached me more than 2 years later to finish something they "ghosted" me on....
If this is web related (design/development).....
- I'd explain that given the time span, things have changed in terms of web building. What worked 2 years ago is not necessarily in practice today.
- For this reason the project would need to be started from scratch to ensure modern compatibility.
for anything else, in addition to web related...
- I'd explain that files may or may not be in good standing given the time period. Archives are kept for a period of time then due to ongoing projects, archives may have been overwritten or even possibly lost if files have not been accessed in years.
- First an archival search would need to be performed to examine any existing files and refresh my memory as to what state files are in, what may be left to complete, and what hurdles the long absence may have presented.
- In any respect, my rates have changed. I can not honor any pricing from 2016. Any work moving forward will be priced at current rates. Estimates will be provided.
- A non-refundable deposit will be required before any work begins.
With that I would price what they are requesting at my current rates. I would ignore any and all pricing discussion from 2 years ago. All previous pricing is now irrelevant and I merely need to price what it is they are requesting now. If you happen to have old files that saves a few hours of work, great! That means your pricing will be less. But if you don't have any files, or the files are unusable (as in web design) then you merely price whatever they want as a new project. If they balk at that, you can easily reply with "Sorry, I can't work today for prices from 2 years ago. If you would have completed this project in 2016, I would have honored that pricing. But after more than 2 years, you certainly must have anticipated things may not be the same."
Since this client has shown a tendency to leave you holding the bag, so to speak, I'd absolutely get 50% up front, 25% upon approval of designs, then 25% upon delivery of designs. If it's web-building I'd collect 100% of the fees before providing files.
If they complain, you can merely state that given they failed to respond to you and finish paying for a previous project, and it's been more than 2 years, you need to ensure you are paid for your work. If they continue to complain. be polite, apologize, but stay firm on payment. They might just disappear again. So cover your bases. If they get annoyed and don't want to move forward, you really haven't lost anything. Remember it's business, you don't have to accommodate every joker that walks in the door. Some clients just aren't worth the risk or trouble they present.
You can hardly call this a long term client, so not sure you should be doing favours. But it does sound like he did pay for half the work back then, even though the job was not completed, so lets say the job was only 50% done and 50% paid more or less. Then approach this new contact with hard facts:
- i last heard from you on ...
- i am still owed ... for a job that was left open on your end
- i have a new situation now where my pricing scheme has been updated and the same type of job would cost 3X
Basicly, give him the option to either find somebody else or pay the 3X with a contract to complete that job or any other new job.
Whatever you do, don't take it personal that he didn't respond 2 years ago. I would let that go and look for the files if you need this new job.
Otherwise you can just say you're not available at this point and the files are gone because he didn't pay for backup.
If you still have the files, you can also try to negociate a hand over before you exit.
From what you are saying it looks like you are working on a freelance site. I personally think that it really depends on if he’s a private client or one you have acquired on a freelance site.
If he’s a private client I’d just carry on working with my other clients and close now.
If he’s one you have started to collaborate with on a freelance site and the feedback is important - I would start working again with the client for a higher rate. Explaining the reason for the increased rate, i.e. the time lapse between starting the job and being given the opportunity (by the client) to complete the job.
The fact that you don’t have a contract is a worrying factor, in fact, he could walk away anytime from the job without paying you a dime. I would make sure I get a contract for the work left or at least organize the rest of the work requested in multiple parts, asking for milestone payments for each part of the project you complete and deliver. That way, you avoid being ripped off.
I agree this is an annoying situation. I hope that this helps you to make a decision on how to proceed.