wyweb - 6:37 am on Nov 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
In all fairness you can write a contract that will eliminate, or at least protect you in any of these situations. It'll be 30 pages long and any prospective clients that aren't completely scared away by it will be left thinking you're a total paranoiac.
I've won over many clients with a "down home - I'm right next door" approach. I do a lot of Mom and Pops who make scented candles in their garage or goats milk soap in their bathroom. I've had to walk some of them through step by step instructions on how to attach images to their emails. One memorable client wasn't even quite sure how to use the brand new digital camera she'd just bought, this in spite of having the user manual right in front of her face. Terminology overwhelms some of these people. A work contract that covered every conceivable base I could be concerned with would send them running for the hills.
Conversely, I've dealt with companies in the past that knew exactly what they wanted, had a front man who was web savvy and quick to respond to any questions I had. They're rare though and the ones with deep pockets and a willingness to spend are even rarer. I've learned over the years to tailor my initial consult to the feedback I'm getting from my client. 30 page contracts are appropriate for some. For others they're a deal breaker. If I had 10 designers on my staff this might not matter as much to me. I'm a one-man show and if I need to be gentle to get the job I will be very, very gentle.
There are other approaches of course. This one keeps me busy though. I sub out more work than I do myself these days.