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"How long to wait before a commision is abandoned." Topic

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1,438 hits since 27 Nov 2019
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clibinarium27 Nov 2019 9:07 a.m. PST

I was contacted for a commission of a couple of figures, the first of a potentially larger range. Initial communication was good, but once the first two sculpts were done it began to trail off, and then went dead. After a year there was a brief "I've been busy" contact, but then it went dead again. Its now two years since the figures were sculpted and now they sit on my desk doing nothing.

This is not a naming and shaming exercise, but I want to ask for general opinions on how long is appropriate to wait before considering a project is abandoned by the original commissioner, and when is it appropriate to sell it to someone else or dispose of it as you see fit in order to recover something from the time spent on it. I imagine this happens to painters more often than sculptors, but the issue is pretty much the same.

NB. I am not asking about when the painter or sculptor doesn't finish a project/runs off with the money, the issues around that are a bit clearer i.e. we all agree they shouldn't

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 9:17 a.m. PST

Two years sounds like more than enough time.

Years ago I attended a business time management course. The piece of info I retained was that if to are given a task, put it in your bottom drawer and if nobody asks about it with in two weeks then don't worry about it.

The lesson is that if something is important, people will ask about it.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 9:55 a.m. PST

It is long abandoned. You need to start charging half up front. Also, consider a small terms of commission blurb that defines payment/s, what constitutes and abandoned or failed project, and specify that all work product reverts to your ownership and control to dispose of how you see fit.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 11:04 a.m. PST

79thPA has it right. In this circumstance send an e-mail stating your intentions to re-sell your work, with a fixed deadline for a reply (1-2 Weeks should suffice). If you don't get a reply, go ahead and sell!

Thresher0127 Nov 2019 11:53 a.m. PST

More than six months seems too long to me, unless it is a very large army, and you are/were okay with that.

Firm timelines/deadlines should be agreed to up front.

I agree, sell the items if you can. No sense dragging things out further.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 12:28 p.m. PST


Your reputation is way good enough to be charging a good proportion of the cost up front. Nobody who is serious about a commission should behave like that when they have paid nothing. A serious commission would find an up-front payment quite reasonable.

Mike Broadbent27 Nov 2019 11:42 p.m. PST

If the product hasn't been paid for it is still yours (unless the product is subject to any IP or Copyright), do with it as you will and avoid that client in future. That's the way I roll! Fortunately it is a rare situation.


YogiBearMinis28 Nov 2019 6:09 a.m. PST

You need to send in writing a communication saying you will deem the project abandoned and that you will dispose of it within a set time if no reply. I would give minimum of ten days to reply, ideally 30. Then print and save the email.

I think others are correct that you are essentially free after two years, but obviously you would sleep better at night if you did this.

clibinarium29 Nov 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Thanks for the replies, they are pretty much in line with what I was thinking. I tend not to issue strict rules beforehand or ask for upfront payment as this can make potential customers uncomfortable. Obviously this comes with the risk of what happened here, but its the only time it's happened really. With new clients I ask for half the money when I can show the work is at the halfway point, which is where this project was. Once a realtionship of trust is established I ask for payment in full once final pictures are agreed on.

I sent the "You got two weeks" email a while back so I consider myself absolved now. Its saddening that this ocassionally happens, 90 percent of the time the wargames community is easy enough to work with, most people are honest. I actually don't think there's any malice here, most likely something has happened in the client's life- illness, loss of employment or similar. Even so, the burden of that doesn't fall on me, even though I might be sympathetic.

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