Updated: Dec 16, 2019
I came across this.
A print of a phone picture from a new client.
I had just moved back from Bahrain, it was June/July 2018. I was already working remotly with a couple of clients. I received a text on whattsapp from a nice lady asking if I could help her with her new home. Maybe we chatted on the phone too. She was given my name by someone I've worked with ( she didn't disclosed who but I know they can be really private and I respect that ). She knew I had left Bahrain but she needed a way to work around that column in the middle of her staircase and reassurance it could still look great. She had envisioned a beautiful elegant staircase and the column was not supposed to be there. Along with this picture she sent me some inspirational ones and some more of the rooms adjacent to the staircase. No measurements.
I agreed, I said I would give her a quick rendering. To me this was easy. And it was.
This is what a came up with a couple of days later.
I built on top of her phone picture.
I added a PDF with some verbiage about creating the look. Man those arrows are huge!
I knew she needed it quick quick so I didn't spend too much time on this. I am mentioning it because now that I look at it, I could have tighten it up better!
Well, she loved it. Actually she said 'amazing' and that she was so so surprised how quickly I worked this off and how spot on I was on her style. She said she felt so much better going forward that it could still look like a nice staircase.
I responded I was happy I gave her piece of mind and wrote I would send her an invoice.
No, no, I didn't send have her sign a contract. No, I didn't charge her up front.
I can tell you that for little things like that a contract is just not the way it goes over there. It's just another way to do things. You don't sign papers when you order frames at the frame shop or even when you bring home to try a 6000$ iranian rug or when you hire a designer for quick advice. You can go to the small supermarkets called "Cold Stores" and if you don't have enough money they ask you where you live and you can take what you need. They even deliver for free. It's like Italy 40 years ago. It is embarassing to 'steal' and have your good name tarnished with such a crime. I wish we would still honor that today.
She acted very surprised when she received the invoice. I think we chatted on the phone then. She said she didn't know I was going to charge her and I haven't told her I would in the beginning.
Well, hard to believe she tought my ideas were free but I didn't mentioned I work for a fee so...
To me it was business as usual : they call you, you deliver, they pay you.
I could have disclosed her name at the time or posted this earlier but I acted like a business lady with no legal leverage. I capitalized on my value as a designer and said that since she loved my work so much I hoped she would hire me ( in exchange of money ) to advice on other things and that I would invoice the staircase design fee then. Thought she would need me again and see my worth.
And this was the time I didn't get paid.