So I have been working with a US based funded startup (atleast that is what I was told initially they had USD 1 million in funding). I started off the project on T&M approach because the app constantly evolved. I bill them weekly (USD 1000). It’s the fourth week now and the client tells me to cap off the project because they don’t have a budget. When I closed the project, they told me to go for a T&M approach and they told me they had funding and would not negotiate because they wanted the best of the work.
Now when the third week payment is due, they tell me the budget was USD 3500 and I am like WTH. They tell me to cap if off at this amount and haven’t paid the third week’s dues.
They liked my work, they have told it to me,I have it written and also a contract in place.
The client asks me what are the ways we can go forward with this budget.
What are my options?
I was supposed to work on both UX and UI design initially but then given the nature of the app, I quickly told them if they want to meet their Thanksgiving deadline, another designer would be required (the app has almost 150+ screens). They agreed to it initially and before closing the project were also of the same opinion that they would be happy to help bring another person to help me out. I suggested, I work on the UX part and make the process agile. They never understood the wireframes and told me we can't understand how the UI would look. So I told them I would make one screen's UI to help them understand what it would look like. I create a clickable prototype in XD, make a video and send it to them. They really like it and tell me they don't understand wireframes and want me to only work on the prototype.
But the thing is with UX a lot of processes need to go in the background to deliver that level of prototype and now they are bringing up the budget issue. And, accusing me that they are paying me for the UI and only getting UX done. I had already made it clear with them in the beginning that without clear user flows, prototypes, and wireframes you can't move to UI. They wanted me to brainstorm about UI too in the beginning which I gave a lot of creative concepts and they loved it. I made the flows, wireframes with sticky notes so that the job becomes easier for the UI designer.
Initially, they told me they understood the difference between UX and UI and agreed we are on the same page and now this shit happens. They still owe me about USD 1200.
Edit: Based on how the things were evolving and changing with flows being altered every other day, they agreed UX alone would take about 6-7 weeks. Also, this app has a huge gamification part for which they required consultation. We told them this is going to take time as we do a lot of testing also at our end.