The company producing the fishing journal turned out to be a one person operation owed by Nancy Snow. Nancy was a large woman who knew everything and everybody in the marine industry. Earl had mention on numerous occasions that this company" could make or break you in the marine industry. He was always saying, "If we did this job for 'them,' and 'they' were happy, 'they' would make the paper a success." He just knew "they’d" do this for him.
Nancy started the meeting by explaining that she had had numerous problems with the printer she used the year before. He was just awful. The books were late, they weren’t dry, he didn’t coat them properly and to top it off he held them hostage until she paid him in full. The hairs on the back of my neck were now standing at attention. Earl then asked about her designer. Again, there was along list of problems. Nancy said that she had been using her for many years, but only because she was just too busy and always running way behind to look for anyone else. Again, just like the printer she demanded payment before she would release any of the files. No longer was this looking like an opportunity for me, but rather, an opportunity for someone who couldn’t find anyone else in town to work with her.
Even with my limited experience in this industry, I had come to realize, if someone had problems getting copies of their original files, or there were numerous problems with a printer, nine times out of ten that meant they hadn’t paid the designer and/or printer. My excitement had rapidly disappeared. To make matters worse, that nagging tapping on my shoulder had reappeared.
By the end of the meeting, it was agreed that if Earl and I could lower her costs from the prior year, the job was ours. The question now, did I really want the job?
After the meeting, Earl was almost skipping through the parking lot. As he thought, Ethel was wrong this was going to turn everything around. The first thing Earl wanted to know was, what the design fee would be. I had already decided on $3,000.
Since I was uncomfortable with Nancy’s stories, and further, had a difficult time believing them to be true I told Earl that whatever price we decided on, it had to be put it in writing and we had to have at least a 50% deposit.
No! Earl said. He was sick of everything always having to be in writing. Why couldn’t we just do this on a handshake? He just knew she could be trusted because we weren’t going to have the problems everyone else did. He also felt we’d lose the job if we asked for anything. The battle went on for days, but in the end I gave in on the contract, but we finally did agree on a deposit. Surprisingly, Edith also said it was a condition of doing the job.
Oh, and that annoying tapping on my shoulder reared it's ugly head again. Again, I push it away as this would be a fast project and the extra $1,500 was desperately needed. Besides, I had nothing to worry about, Earl is going to be responsible for the billing and I was billing Earl for the project. He agreed to pay me whether they got paid or not.