I need help dealing with this situation.
I have a (person who claims to be my) "friend" who did not pay upon completion and delivery of project, despite a signed contract last May.
The project was delivered in completion to spec, above and beyond. [Despite the client not providing all the required assets (with last minute deadlines), with me working overtime. It also won a few industry awards.]
It seems this "friend" hasn't figured his business out, unfortunately - nearly a year later. He's coming back to me, asking to waste my time with coffee, "to get to know me better".
My freelancer's thought goes like: friend or not, this is a client who didn't pay.
You know - it would be really nice if you'd pay up from last time. Let's talk after... whenever that happens.
Oh yeah, I threw in for free the graphics conversion and stuff you were supposed to get done - and got pissed you didn't do your work. Scrappy startup issues, but not paying people for doing work is not cool.
Ugh, [name]! Why are you so snappy?! I consider you a friend (even if you don't). You believed in me from the very beginning and I will never forget that. We got in a fight, that happens. We've helped each other many times over the years. I just want to work on us getting to know each other as people better, because bottom line - we both have the same passions and are not giving up on them. I think you know this. ...and your next move might be defensive/smart response, but [Your Name] - I'm not trying to fight with you. I'm trying to be your friend. A better friend. Get some coffee. Talk our shit out like normal adults. I think it's worth a shot, a REAL try.
Let's start with understanding our different perspectives. Can you try to understand where I'm coming from?
We had a client-contractor relationship with a written contract that was broken. I did the work; it was a total hit, but I wasn't paid. Friend or not, to me, you're a client who didn't pay.
But hey! Were you even a friend? I'm a contractor, and you know that contracts pay my bills. Friends don't leave friends out in the cold.
I've done all I can to help you for free. But, take it as honest advice, you really need to figure your business out. People need to be paid. Like I said - figure that out - and then, maybe, let's talk.
Ya, I see what your saying, and there is more to that that I want to talk about. So yes, I'm sorry. But you're talking to me like I'm just some random dude/company. You always have. There have been glimmers of "friendship" from you I've seen, but for some reason you are so defensive ALL THE TIME and switch back to me just being some dude/company... Look, I think there is a reason why we ran into each other. I don't know what it is yet. But I think we owe it to at least work on being friends better, getting to know each other. Why do you think I keep coming back to you?! It's not because your the only AR genius in the Bay. It's because I get you, and I think you get me (like 40%). Dude, put you ego aside, I'll do the same. I don't think this really has anything to do about $.
My spidey-sense from having spent the last 20 years of my life doing contract work summarizes this "friend" as:
- Undermining my skills and achievements as "dime a dozen" in order to get "free work". Obviously, he could just find another developer in the bay to scam.
My final response:
Hmm, this reads like a defensive email. I think I'm the only person nice enough to help you out for free - but there's a limit to that. Please figure out your business. My venmo is [ ] I'm blocking you until then!
"Friendship" Should I have dealt with this differently? As a contractor-friend, I think I'm already doing him a favor by not taking him to small claims or demanding a late fee.
(In regards to small claims court, I don't have the time, though it's a "friend startup service I'll build your entire app for ridiculous discount" $5k contract. :()
I recently found out that this person has won a contest to pitch the product on TV. As I understand, financially, the client was previous unable to pay (and probably has horrible credit, so that if I sued in court, he wouldn't mind having his permanent record messed up by legal unable to pay).
- Should I inform the contest that he has an unpaid contract?
- Or, should I wait until after he actually seems like he can pay? I assume that this TV show will at least get this product some customers so he can pay his bills.
Just sent him this email:
Congrats on winning the Home Shopping Network.
Now that you're a rich gazillionaire, I hope that you can pay for the app I built for you way back then. I am attaching the invoice again for your convenience.
In regards to small claims court, I don't have the time..."Time"? What "time" are you referring to? It should take maybe 4-8 hours total. If you have an actual contract and you have e-mails acknowledging the debt, you should be almost home free, effectively making $600-$1200US/hr for little effort for the currently lost $5000US.