I have had to encounter some fairly bad feedback for other freelance web designers from my clients who had issues with the “freelancer who is sensitve.”
What I mean by this is when a client decides to take up a new freelancer to design parts or all of a site to make it far more effective, both in usability and to look better aesthetically. The previous designer/ developer feels hurt and starts somewhat of a cyber temper tantrum by withholding information.
The information could be hosting information, need to know info about the site to pass on to the next developer, and even login information. It can be really frustrating, especially if the client is running a business that the lead form is not working or even some part of their e-commerce is broken.
I have 2 pieces of advice on professionalism in this matter – for the client, and for the freelancer:
To the Freelancer
- 1. It is not your website. You were paid to do the job and yes, you spent all that time on the site, but it is not to be considered like family. Be a professional, suck it up, and release the information needed to the client.
- If you want to succeed, you need to give a good and everlasting impression. Regardless if the project you had once worked on was contracted out to another designer, if you left with a good reputation, you might just receive a surprising recommendation down the line.
- With holding things like login or anything that was agreed upon as the client’s property in the design contract can be put in court. Be smart.
- Do not talk smack about former clients on social networks. It is unprofessional and overall, immature. Future potential clients, if they have access to viewing your social network talk streams would definitely be turned off by such behavior.
To the Client –
- If is not your fault if your designer is not cooperating with you. It is your website and you are entitled to all information, files, and anything agreed upon in your design contract with the developer.
- It is okay to be nice and give a few days, but tough love is necessary, especially if it is losing you money. Be prepared to warn a developer that is not cooperating with releasing your website’s intellectual property, that you are within your rights to seek arbitration.
- Be aware that if your case involves that the designer is not releasing web hosting login information that you paid for, that you will need to find out how to get your web hosting account back into your hands. Go directly to the web host, put in your case, and make sure to ask them how you can establish that the account is yours and not the designers.
- In worse case scenarios, there are people who have hosted their clients and have deleted everything. If you can afford it and if you have enough documentation to prove your case, you can seek out legal retribution.
As said, it is important to keep a positive reputation with clients, both current, and former ones. You never know if a client might come back later or refer someone else. Due to some of the online tools to measure your reputation, both your own words and former client’s words can come up. One example that comes to mind is StepRep.
If you are a developer, have you heard of incidences where a client has had a nightmare experience in wrestling their account away from a previous designer? Any other stories that relate? What tips do you have for both freelancers and clients in this matter?