clients that ghost?


I work in single-family residential, and recently had an experience where a client stopped all communication without any obvious reason. Design was coming along and had several meetings with them in person and we had planned to move forward with next steps. Hard not to take it personally, but not sure what to do when my time (and fee) is involved. It sucks getting burned like this. Wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience and how they dealt with it? Thank you.

Aug 17, 19 12:36 am

Offer to buy them an ice cream. See what they say. 

Aug 17, 19 11:39 am

Shit happens. Sometimes people have life events that forestall other affairs. Send them a nice note and an invoice for services completed to date. Don't assume the worst.

If you get no response send them a termination letter and another invoice with late fees. Start laying the ground work for collection.

In the meantime, patience.

Aug 17, 19 11:50 am

Miles is giving you good advice.

Aug 17, 19 12:02 pm

“The more one knows, the more things have gone wrong.“. — Umberto Eco


Did you have a contract? To avoid getting burned, especially when dealing with small clients, it’s important to have a well written contract so that all parties involved are held liable for shit. 

Aug 17, 19 3:04 pm

Yes, I do have a fixed fee contract with them with invoices based on project milestones. Hard to argue for payment when milestones are not met client-driven or otherwise. That said, I will probably have to revise the contract to request a higher retainer amount up front so clients have more skin in the game at the start. Thank you.


Consider billing monthly for work completed rather than by milestone. Clients will often muddle up milestones with changes, delays, etc.


Whenever residential clients would ghost us, its was usually:

A) Sticker Shock: the client realizes they don't have anything near the amount of money it would take to do their project, and now they don't really think they should have to pay for the architectural work done to date.

2) Architecture Without Architects: the client decides the drafter or the interior decorator is "just as qualified" and works cheaper and thus gives the job over to them.  Once again, they don't think they should have to pay for the architectural work done to date.

Aug 19, 19 5:46 pm

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