If you are currently facing this situation, you have my sympathies. I know it can be a real pain. Sometimes it's a little disheartening to feel like you either aren't cutting it, or worse, that a good client relationship will be damaged by dishonesty from clients avoiding payment.
The best way to avoid this is prevention. All positive professional exchanges should involve a brief but thorough estimation of services, as well as details on what those services will be and how they will be provided. There are other details you may want to include depending on the type and scale of the project.
Research the cranapple out of it via your favorite search engine. I honestly believe the right person could earn the equivalent a doctorate through Google search, provided they had the work ethic of a beaver on it's 25th cocaine laced espresso. Ramblings aside...
Point, getting to it, is to set up a contract with them that establishes a set number of edits. You also want to include an option to extend the project in the event you get to the near end and there are major changes in the brief. This would involve a discussion of extended payment considerations as well, to be fair, but it would all be laid out before hand. The client gets a chance to understand what he/she is involving themselves in, how designer and client operate together to get the best outcome. It isn't about control, it is about a partnership to achieve the best possible result.
** If it's already an issue, don't panic. Honesty and communication are the best moves here. Don't play games, or hedge your bets. Your client will appreciate polite forthrightness. Let them know the project has extended beyond your usual scope, considering the number of edits and requirement changes. You may need to reevaluate how this project will be priced with consideration to your extended work. The client can think about what the project priorities really are and weigh those against the cost of your extra work. After all, you are not cheating a client by asking to be fairly paid for continued editing. But yes, in the future, go with the contract. It will save the headache. I also agree with the other answers below. Good good advice to follow.
These are tough situations.
It is common to find faults during payments after works being done.
You just adopt to get sign the feed back form by supervisors of your clients at either in their office or at their workplace on spot at each weekly basis.
Keep track recording of your meeting on job performance appraisal as evidence for future level.(Optional)
Don't make any emotional/false commitment for job contract at initial stages just to get job contract.
In my experience when clients start finding faults in your work at time of payment, they are either trying to get you to lower your price or there are genuine issues that need to be addressed.
1. Meet with them in person and ask them to explain what the problems are. Ask questions and really listen. If there are actual problems, then tell them what you can do to resolve those problems and fix them.
2. If they can't point to something specific they have an issue with, then they are trying to haggle over price. Be firm about what your services are worth and tell them you expect payment in full. Make sure you also tell them what you have done and ask them how it has or has not performed up to their expectations.
I evaluate potential customers carefully. If they balk at my price initially, chances are they will try to haggle. I let those go, because they'll never value the service I'm providing.
I cannot tell you what to do after this point, but I can tell you what to do before it:
1) Look at the contract you send to your clients and ask yourself if it covers you sufficiently. Sometimes, we tend to leave things out and they come back to bite us. Never "guarantee" anything, because there is no such thing as a guarantee. Make sure the contract is fair to both parties.
2) Always, ALWAYS create a paper trail from day one. Put everything in writing (email). If the client wants everything over the phone, be sure to follow up with them via email by sending "meeting notes" with all of the bullet points covered in the conversation. This is all a part of covering yourself and leaving a paper trail with dates and times.
3) Stand by the quality of your own work. Your client signed a contract -- they are obligated to pay you for the work you did. If you truly did what you were paid to do, then you have nothing to fear. If they still refuse to pay after the job is done while coming up with 'convenient' complaints that never surfaced before, then they are a deadbeat and you will have to get your money back the hard way. Nobody wants to go to court, but sometimes it is inevitable.
I learned (the hard way) that I now state upfront in contract format that 50% payment is required to begin the job and the rest due upon completion. I also state that my work includes 3 revisions. After 3 revisions we switch from a the flat rate quoted to my hourly rate billed in 15 or 30 minute increments depending on the client. With each revision I remind them how many comped revisions are left on their job.
Ask them for an extension of time to do what they really want. This way you will not fall into their trap. But after that , leave them behind and move on. There are many more fishes in the sea. Florence MacDonald
Resolution is alwys the best way forward rather than conflict!
As has been mentioned, approach the problem positively; the issue may be caused by misunderstanding or simply by the client using the 'complaint' as a bargaining tool to reduce costs.
Stage payments are a great way of keeping everyone on track, but the most useful tool I have found to manage projects effectively is Basecamp, the online project management system. It notifies all participants at all stages of a project and is a great audit - or even post-mortem - tool to assess how a project went.
Persevering with poor clients is a sure fire way to you losing heart in your business; if you don't like working with them, sack them and move on to better clients.
Geting rid of bad clients is very cathartic and works wonders for your confidence.
understand it is about money and they are too embarrased to discuss it, I make a list sort out what must be done and make them pay what they are happy with they must never get away with non payment
also budget a discount I also charge evrything and then offer a discount it makes people happy especially when it comes to variances
Ensure there are interim milestones defined before the final delivery so that the client has a chance to review progress. A good practice is also to get sign-off once key milestones are reached and probably tie payments to it. This way you buy in the client's commitment to closure.
Have a strong contract or agreement to start with. If they complain, refer them to the agreement/contract they signed before. If they don't pay, hire a collection firm to go after them. That should get their attention very fast.