When a Client Doesn't Want to Sign a Contract

over 4 years ago from , Designer, Made by Porter

How do you handle this:

A client wants you to work for them, doing UI Design. There's no set project budget, just an hourly budget of $__/hr. This is your new sugar momma client, so of course you start working with them immediately. You talk to the client about payment schedule and verbally agree on a payment schedule. In the meantime, you want to get some agreement on project terms/payment in writing.

You send the client a contract (via HelloSign because all you have to do is draw a signature), and they said we don't like working with contracts. The client says stuff like "We're a bit unprofessional here when it comes to contracts". You continue to pursue getting the client to sign a contract.

Soon after a payment date passes, with no pay, you get worried that you might not get paid and all of this is a joke. Of course, this is your sugar momma client. If you drop this client, you're either footing it back to a 9-5 or on the ball looking for a new big client.

What would you do in this situation?


  • Jahed MomandJahed Momand, over 4 years ago

    This person is not a sugar momma client - what would make you think so? They refused to sign a contract, and they're late on their first payment. You have received no money. They don't even meet the technical definition of sugar momma.

    Let the client go and find someone else.

    3 points
    • Chris Porter, over 4 years ago

      True. Should I still stick with the client (hey things could turn positive), find someone else and then drop them?

      0 points
      • Jahed MomandJahed Momand, over 4 years ago

        No - do 0 work for them from now on, tell them that their stance on contracts does not align with yours, and that you prefer to have clear and transparent dealings with all clients. If they don't want to sign a contract, you are done working with them, thank them for their time, and start looking for someone else.

        And in the future, never work for someone until a contract is inked.

        2 points
  • Daniel YpsilantiDaniel Ypsilanti, over 4 years ago

    Fire them, they're playing you.

    2 points
  • Oliver StoneOliver Stone, over 4 years ago

    Fire the client.

    2 points
  • Richard BallermannRichard Ballermann, over 4 years ago

    Obviously you've placed far too much trust in a company without any reason to do so. You're concerned that dropping them means you'll be footing it back to a 9-5? Not dropping them means you'll go broke and won't even have a 9-5 lined up to go back to.

    Stop working on anything for them. If they reach out, tell them you're waiting to be paid before any more work is done.

    2 points
  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 4 years ago

    Piggybacking off what everyone else is saying...you need to fire them. Don't get swayed by the "sugar momma"-ness of the client; you've given them an inch, and they're going for the mile.

    0 points
  • Chris PorterChris Porter, over 4 years ago

    Thanks for all the advice. I usually wait to start a project when a contract is signed, but it was a weird situation and a long story. I've learned my lesson now! Thanks everyone for the advice!

    0 points