The Vendor Client relationship - in real world situations - OMG I Had to share this!

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by mperkins37, May 28, 2009.


Ever have at least one of these quotes given to you?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
  1. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    OMG I Had to share this, It has got to be the funniest thing I have seen in a while, yet so true many of you will want to laugh then cry.

    It really hits home for creatives/freelancers among us.:D
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    It was alright, I guess... although some clients get some loss-leaders from me if they're signed up for a substantial schedule of work. For instance, sometimes, I won't put the usual markups on third-party services like small jobs for print knowing I can make that up elsewhere.

    That way they get hooked on a having a close, convenient, reliable and flexible designer-client relationship which they come to depend on and can't easily substitute going elsewhere... especially when the artwork starts stacking up, and they haven't got their fingers on the files. ;)

    There's far more to providing a design service than just providing artwork on deadline. And I'll also add that I've certainly bargained extremely hard in the past with print suppliers before on certain jobs, only to let them catch up on the next job. It all balanced out when you're spending about approx. US$350,000 a year on print as an organisation.

    While I have a considerable deal of sympathy with the principles of No-Spec, on certain jobs or with certain clients you can learn to give to get.
  3. mperkins37 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Cmon, lighten up, Blue, you didn't laugh your ass off at the last quote to the Chef about showing them how to do it so they could do it in house? I have personally heard every one of those quotes, or read a Craigslist ad stating the same. I thought it was hilarious.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Fair enough. It's just that I have heard many similar things from clients before. It stops becoming funny and represents a way of doing business, especially in difficult times. I'm kind of at the stage in my life where I'm more interested in working with and around their concerns rather than meeting them head-on, I guess.

    Jaded, is what I am. But when you spend three hours of the day before just on emails alone before I even touch a single pixel, I guess that's understandable. I'm not the greatest designer in the world, but unlike many, I take extreme care to provide excellent and continuing client care... but it can tend to sap me rather than making me giddy at venting. That's all.
  5. mperkins37 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Fair enough, I am in the camp that has to spend a great bit of my time dealing with people like that, about 5% of my clients were like that when I started 17 years ago, It seems like its more like 40-50% these days.
  6. brisbaneguy29 macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2007
    Well I loved it. I have lost count how many times I have heard those lines from a client. I love the show me how to do it inhouse. Priceless.

    Nice find!
  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    This is the thing. 17 years ago, every monkey didn't have a computer with some apps and clip art on it to pass themselves off as a designer. It took a great deal of time to train yourself in the myriad of techniques in a number of disciplines to be useful to anyone. Now, we have what appears as a race to the bottom on many small and medium-sized jobs... and that's OK in a way, because it asks the pointed question of and puts the onus on professionals to identify what it is about their skills and services that distinguishes them from nephew art, particularly when it comes to the finer points of the trade, like typography for instance. It also allows a larger flow of talent into the field, where in the past, there were considerable hurdles into getting into the business.

    Just recently, as part of a larger branding package that is still ongoing (and currently expanding in scope), a client who is working on behalf of a larger group, passed on a suggestion to me that we use something that one of the kids of parents in that group had done as a sketch, and to be fair, the client had no idea whether it was suitable or not, they were just suggesting ways to break a political deadlock over logo design where different committees couldn't make up their mind.

    I could have huffily suggested that they hand over the entire body of work to the kid and their parent. I could have ridiculed the idea. But instead, I treated their suggestion in good faith, took some time to explain why the sketch's idea wouldn't hold up as a logo when reproduced at 18mm across, let alone go on the barrel of a pen, as they wanted. I even quickly traced the sketch in Illustrator and comped it up, so they at least could see how it would or wouldn't work. So, by taking the time to educate the client in the processes and factors involved, I enabled both sides to save some face without unnecessary conflict, and more importantly, re-establish the authority that a designer has a consultant and ensure further work, good contacts and word of mouth down the line. They also gained a re-appreciation of the importance of their brand in a marketing and reputation sense, as opposed to the narrow view of just concentrating on their logo.

    To my way of thinking, this is key to the entire role as either someone who works in a small team or as a freelancer. It's more than just designing something that looks nice. It's about being able to steer clients away from damaging directions while enabling positions and firmly-held views to be gently nudged. The politics of corporate design are as frustrating as they are fascinating.

    So, while we can have a laugh about clients, the game has changed. As a freelancer, it's not enough to be a Photoshop whizz when you're co-ordinating suppliers on one hand, massaging client's egos on the other, while negotiating schedules and other housekeeping. Production and project management, client-handling, advising, speccing... they're all just as important.
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Fortunately when I work for my self I go for clients that know what services are worth.

    Current company CEO thinks he is a designer though. I tried to improve sales material but can't do much.
  9. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I've seen this sort of reaction a few times. It's what I'd expect from an amateur designer.

    A true professional at work here. Confident enough not to feel threatened by client suggestions, and using it as an opportunity to further and deepen the relationship.
  10. jrichie macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2003
    Recently, I had to do some hard negotiating with a client for a job.

    It could be worth nearly $50k in fees [with future work] to me, which is a very big deal at the moment.

    So I worked out a fixed fee [off how many hours I would work] and gave it to him. He went mental and basically said his last designer was charging half that.

    I had to be super confident, and state that if he felt he could get the same results at half the price, he can go and get it.

    He agreed the fee.........

    The reason he did was the fact that his last designer seriously messed up a job for him, and cost him a lot more than half a fee. When people realise that cheap is not best through experience, then they are willing to pay the right fee and let you do your job!
  11. kmorgan macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2009
    "The Vendor Client Relationship" video was created by Indianapolis-based video and post-production company, Scofield Editorial. The video that puts a comedic spin on business relationships has been viewed by more than half a million viewers -
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Ah, yes. They always say "WHAT?! The last guy charged a lot less!" while conveniently forgetting what a headache the last guy was, which is why they're asking YOU for a quote now instead of just going with the last guy again :rolleyes:

    We go through this game a lot, and not just with hiring. Say, power tools -- ("the Makita is HOW much? Harbor Freight sells..."), or, of course, computers ("the Mac costs HOW much? I could get a Dell for...")

    How do you say "you get what you pay for" in Latin? :D

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