I don’t consider myself to be a particularly vindictive man. I recognise that I have a short fuse and fly off the handle fairly quickly, but it nearly always passes just as fast, and I genuinely tend not to hold grudges.
But if someone jerks my chain for almost a year, at some point my patience is thoroughly exhausted, and posts like these are born.
A man named Darryl Collins, running a web design agency in Belfast called Banjax, approached me in September 2012 to help with the SEO of one of their internally run websites, Gingerparts.com – a motorcycle parts ecommerce site.
After a meeting and some emails Darryl and I agreed that I – in a personal capacity as a side project – would do a SEO audit for the site at a severely reduced rate of £500. Usually my SEO audits cost in the region of £1500-£2000, which is cheap by general UK standards but tends to be on the pricier side here in Northern Ireland.
I thought I would be able to do some more work for Darryl and Banjax down the road, so I reduced my fee dramatically and only charged him £500 for the audit.
I delivered the audit for Gingerparts in October, and sent Darryl my invoice for £500 in early November. You can guess where this is headed.
It is now September 2013, almost a year since Darryl Collins first approached me, and I have yet to be paid. I have repeatedly emailed Darryl and spoke with him over the phone a few times when I was able to get a hold of him, asking about the status of my payment. I have been met with naught but excuses, or more often with no replies at all.
Recently I finally managed to get hold of Darryl Collins again, this time via LinkedIn. At last replying to my messages, Darryl claims he has been shafted by a former employee of Banjax and Gingerparts that handles their accounts, and that this ex-employee was responsible for me not being paid.
Call me a cynic, but I find this to be a pretty weak excuse. ‘Blame the admin’ is an easy way out, but if you as a business owner let your paperwork guy screw things up for you to the extent that Darryl claims, you are as much to blame for negligence as the office admin is for screwing things up. Especially in light of my many emails over the months enquiring after my payment, Darryl should have realised something was up and he should have acted much sooner.
After a few exchanges over LinkedIn, in the last message I got from Darryl Collins on August 12 he promised that I would be paid at the end of August. Suffice to say that has not happened.
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that if you agree to pay someone for performing a certain service, and the service is provided, you are obliged to pay that person.
I’m in the business of selling my time and my expertise. I put in time and effort and apply my considerable experience and skills, and in return my clients pay for my output.
For me to put in that effort and not be paid, I find it hard not to take it personally. It’s an implicit signal that the client does not value my time nor my expertise. And that, frankly, is downright insulting.
At this stage I have no illusions of ever being paid for my SEO audit. I do however want to write about my experience with Darryl, if only to warn potential customers and suppliers of the type of individual they are dealing with.
I genuinely don’t know if how I’ve been treated is representative of how Darryl Collins deals with his suppliers and clients in Banjax and Gingerparts, or if this was just a one-off anomaly, but in the interests of an informed marketplace I felt the truth about my experience should be out there.
Take it as you will.