Advice needed on a very long-standing project that's going nowhere

almost 7 years ago from , Director, Bubble Creative

Hi guys.

I'll try and keep this short but really need some advice.

I picked up a website for an architect about 18 months ago (Maybe longer, I've lost track). At first it was going really well I got a 50% deposit with no issues and it was agreed I would build the site using a premium template with a fair amount of customisation.

I spoke with the MD of the company a few times and him and myself started building the site on a test domain. We almost got it to a point where it was complete. It was looking good and I was looking forward to pay day.

Then silence....for about 6 months.

I got the occasional e-mail saying 'we've not forgotten about you' but still...no progress.

Add another 4 or 5 months (about 12 months in total now) and I get an e-mail saying someone else has taken over the project and has a completely different idea of what they want.

I'm very patient and understanding with them. I completely rebuild the homepage, debug a few issues and even get in touch with the theme developer to fix an issue they wanted in order to make the site how they wanted.

Next thing, another stretch of silence. No e-mails etc for another 2 - 3 months.

I feel like I'm stuck in a loop of making amends and not getting any closer to signing off. Its costing me money continuously doing this stuff right?

Just today, I get another email explaining the 'last 12 months have been eventful' and they want to carry on the project. However I'm feeling like it could go on forever and I'll keep making changes and never see the end of this project. The more I work on it the more money I'm losing on this.

I'm a passionate person, I want to get this finished, I want to get them online and it would be great to put a new name in the portfolio, but this project could potentially last....forever?.

Has this happened to anyone before, and how did you end up finishing the project off?

Any advice would be really appreciated, as I'm at a loss here...


  • Pep Trias, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    You need to limit the amount of feedback rounds you implement from the customer. You set a limit of 3. They want a fourth one? They will have to pay an extra cost for it that will add on top of what you already set to charge for the previous 3. You have your costs and resources and you need to charge for them just as they do with their own work.

    I’d suggest you have this conversation with them and explain the situation. Explain how you work, your costs and your expectations in terms of timing and project resolution. Set one more feedback round if you want, but make it clear it will be the last one. Be honest, kind and polite as you’ve been, and if they are a customer worth working for, they will understand you and help you put a deadline for the project to end and be delivered. If they don’t want to collaborate and want you to keep on working for free for them, then I would directly stop doing any other work for them as the last thing you want is to keep losing money.

    For your next project, make sure you put a limit to the feedback rounds and be as specific and descriptive as possible about how many of them will you implement after the Wireframes/Structure of the site has been approved by the customer. If you don’t define those terms in the contract or at the beginning of the project, they will take advantage of that and will try to make changes ad infinitum because there is nothing specified or no limitations for them to be aware of.

    Hope this helps and don’t let anyone else do this to you again!

    0 points
    • Tom Durkin, almost 7 years ago

      Hey Pep, thanks a lot for the feedback, really appreciate it!

      This is solid advice and I will definitely be taking it on board for future projects.

      They seem like genuine enough people, I don't think they have intentionally done this to get free work out of me, but I guess you always have to have your own back.

      I'll be emailing this evening to explain my feelings on the project. Hopefully they will be understanding...

      0 points