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Projects dragging on without payment? Try this…

Posted by Ilise Benun on


A web designer asked me this question:

I do fixed-priced web design contracts. I get half the fee up-front, and the remainder when completed. Here’s the rub … One of the projects has been dragging on for almost a year because they’ve dragged their feet. I just asked for the final payment, and they agreed, but to avoid this in the future—should I have some sort of a time limit on my agreements?

Here’s my answer:

The problem occurs when you tie payments to the milestones of the project and your cash flow suffers when things get held up. Instead, tie payments to the calendar. Take a percentage as a deposit to start, then a monthly fee over the course of the anticipated timeframe of the project. So if it’s a 4 month project, they pay a percentage on the 1st of each month for 3 more months. That way, they’re paying despite the delays. And if nothing else, it forces a conversation when there’s a delay and it can be negotiated.

I cover this topic (and much more about pricing!) in session 3 of my CreativeLive course, Command the Fees You Deserve. If you don’t have it yet, find it here—and be sure to check out my 43 reviews!

*Empty piggy bank, courtesy, Shutterstock.

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