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Payment schedule for writing an article
50% deposit, or what
panther




msg:928318
 3:51 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been asked to write a specialty article for a large, niche website. I've written (for pay) articles for other website owners and have recevied payment when the article was submitted in it's final form. But I've known these site owners. I do not know the person who contacted me.

If you've found yourself in this situation, how do you expect payment? Do you ask for a 50% deposit, with balance on final submission. Or do you have another payment combination: eg. 50-25-25%?

Thank you.

 

rogerd




msg:928319
 10:17 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't think there's a magic formula, panther... just whatever makes both of you comfortable. I like testing new contractors on an escrow basis via a freelance site - this provides good protection to both parties.

I think half down is a reasonable request for a new client. The balance can be paid on delivery or acceptance. Once you have a mutual comfort factor, you can adjust these terms if desired.

hurlimann




msg:928320
 1:29 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Our standard payment terms for similar work is 20% on commission and 80% just before delivery of first draft.

panther




msg:928321
 10:38 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

an escrow basis via a freelance site -

I'm unfamiliar with this. Can you please provide me with more information about this, perhaps a link or two to a place that does this.

thanks both for the info!

rogerd




msg:928322
 10:46 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Rentacoder.com and elance.com are two of the best known freelance marketplaces. They charge the freelancers fees, there's no cost to the buyer. I've had good luck at RAC, both in finding good contractors and getting my escrow money back if the coder failed to deliver.

Syzygy




msg:928323
 11:36 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

In my world, freelance writers are paid upon publication of the work commissioned.

Syzygy

panther




msg:928324
 1:01 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Syzygy

What's "your world?" The manner in which you are paid is the way I was paid when I wrote articles for established magazines and newspapers. However, I'm dealing with someone I don't know; the website can be here today, and gone tomorrow. Not that I'm expecting that but there is always the possibility.

Syzygy




msg:928325
 1:51 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Panther, I do work in publishing, as an editor dealing with paper products and web content. Every writer I commission is paid upon publication; usually about four - six weeks after they have submitted the article - occasionally longer...

The only exception to this is if, for whatever reason, a project is delayed or rescheduled by a few months.

I would hesitate in using a writer who wanted any amount of payment in advance. If they are a seasoned freelancer then they will have come into the market knowing that payment upon publication is (generally) the standard terms within the publishing sector.

However, outside of the publishing sector, I don't see why you should not expect an amount to be paid in advance and 50 per cent is acceptable in my view (especially if the commission requires any research). The outstanding balance should be paid in full upon publication. As has been pointed out in this thread aready, there are no hard and fast rules - just the art of negotiation...

Just as a point of note (although I'm sure you've done your homework already); have you researched the client? Are they sufficiently established for you to feel confident that they will still exist in a couple of months time? Do they have track record of dealing with freelancers and have they used anyone that you know? Are they likely to come back to you for more?

Syzygy

panther




msg:928326
 2:12 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Syzygy. Very helpful information.

Just as a point of note (although I'm sure you've done your homework already); have you researched the client? Are they sufficiently established for you to feel confident that they will still exist in a couple of months time? Do they have track record of dealing with freelancers and have they used anyone that you know? Are they likely to come back to you for more?

They are not likely to come back to me for more. They want me to write about a topic geared to a very targeted group. They will put the content into a pdf or ebook format and it will be given away by them as a promotion for signing up for their service.

It seems some have begun to consider me an expert in the subject area of my site. I deal with a very popular item, which can be quite complex for many to learn how to use. I present what some consdier complex information in a style that is easily understood. I can gear the information to most any niche that would use such an item. I don't sell anything, I simply educate others about how to use these gadgets.

As I indicated, though I've written and received payment for my writing for many years, I've just never done so in the "web world."

Syzygy




msg:928327
 2:42 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

They will put the content into a pdf or ebook format and it will be given away by them as a promotion for signing up for their service.

It seems some have begun to consider me an expert in the subject area of my site.

What a wonderful position to be in - to be considered an expert in your field. That puts a slightly different perspective on matters, particularly as they are putting such weight on the value of your work. Whilst a cautious approach is, of course, still recommended, what terms do you want to work to? I'll be surprised if they don't try to accomodate you as best they can, as, in my view, you probably have the upper hand in any negotiations.

Good luck with the project.

Syzygy

rogerd




msg:928328
 3:09 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think the answer to this question depends on both parties. If the commissioning website is part of a Fortune 500 corporation, the risk of non-payment is fairly low. If the writer is well-known and has been published many times, then the risk of his/her failing to deliver is low (but not zero).

I agree that in the print publishing world it's common for the freelancer to be paid upon publication, but that's typically because the publisher has a far superior negotiating position and is usually financially responsible. For web content development, the payment model is whatever both parties agree to.

panther




msg:928329
 3:26 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

What a wonderful position to be in - to be considered an expert in your field.

It has been suprising. The fact of the matter is that others in my area of interest know as much, if not more, than I do. But the vast majority know little, need to know more and need a little hand-holding along the way. I suppose I have a knack for making the info more easily understood. Plus I've taken time...a LOT of time and energies... to put the information all in one place.

what terms do you want to work to?

I'm never quite sure because the contacts I've been getting the last couple of months have caught me by surprise. I don't have preset terms...I just sort of wing it; and ask a lot of questions in places like here. I've been just doing my own online thing, never anticipating others would interview me for an article, ask me to write an article or ask me to consider going into some sort of partnership. I'm learning as I go.

I honestly don't want to make this seem bigger than it is. I only know that some of the contacts and ensuing outcomes have been nice.

rogerd




msg:928330
 4:31 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The "pay upon publication" approach devalues the writer's time, in my opinion. Try and get a plumber to fix your pipes based on the promise that you'll pay at some future date a few months hence. The assumption seems to be, "The writer has no out-of-pocket costs, so he/she's only out some time." Of course, time, knowledge, and skill are the only thing the writer has to sell. The "pay upon publication" is just one step beyond asking a writer to submit an article on spec, with no guarantees of acceptance or payment.

panther




msg:928331
 5:00 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The "pay upon publication" approach devalues the writer's time, in my opinion. Try and get a plumber to fix your pipes based on the promise that you'll pay at some future date a few months hence.

The "pay upon publication" is just one step beyond asking a writer to submit an article on spec, with no guarantees of acceptance or payment.

I tend to agree, though to some extent I think it depends on who you're writing for. But in the virtual world, when you don't know who you're dealing with (other than Fortune 500 -type companies that someone mentioned), I think a deposit is in order. With rare exception, that's the only way I'll work...otherwise, I have better things to do with my time.

HRoth




msg:928332
 9:39 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I spent six years doing freelance ghostwriting, and I never did less than 50% up front and 50% in order to receive the manuscript. At client request, I would give them half of the manuscript at the halfway point, but most just wanted to be handed the completed product at the end, no muss, no fuss. IMO, it is a waste of time to do writing without being paid for it first. I have had the experience of setting aside a block of time for a long project and the client putting it off. After that, I always got a deposit just to schedule the time. If you don't get payment in advance, you have no assurance that they will pay in the end, even with a Fortune 500 company. Someone can get fired. The project can be put off. They can end up in Enron's position. Etc. As other posters have said, you can dictate terms in this situation. It isn't the same as writing for a magazine at all.

EileenC




msg:928333
 2:21 pm on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm a freelance copywriter, and always always always get a hefty deposit. For most projects that are $2000 and under, it's 50% deposit to begin work, and 50% upon completion. For projects that are larger, they tend to take longer, so I will sometimes do a 35% deposit, 35% halfway through, and 30% upon completion. If payment is late, work stops until it's paid. Period. I also suggest you have a written agreement outlining exactly what is expected of you, how you'll deliver the work (e.g, MS Word file attached to an email), and how many revisions are included in the fee. For instance, my fee always includes two rounds of revisions; after that, it's at my hourly rate.

panther




msg:928334
 2:48 pm on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thank you HRoth and EileenC,

I'm curious about a few things as they pertain to the virtual world. How do you assess a client? The one I'm dealing with is in Europe, I'm in the U.S. Do you have them snail mail you a check, or do you use something like paypal? Do you fax the written agreement for a signature, or do you make an online form?

thanks again.

HRoth




msg:928335
 4:32 pm on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

If it was big enough, I asked for a wire transfer and figured the wire transfer fee my bank charged me to receive an international wire into the cost. You can get the info about wire transfers from your bank. My bank questioned wire transfers I got from a client in Kuwait, so keep that in mind. At one time I took foreign checks, but I wouldn't now, because the fees my bank charges to cash them are much more than the international wire transfer fees. You should ask your bank how much they charge to cash checks on foreign banks in US dollars and in foreign currency. My bank takes Western Union money orders in US dollars with no extra charge because WU is a US company, so that is a possibility, but it's inconvenient for the client. When I accepted foreign checks in US dollars, I waited for them to clear before starting the project. Paypal could work, but I seem to remember they have some kind of limit per transaction. $500? A couple of customers outside the US used Western Union, but they charge a huge fee to the sender.

panther




msg:928336
 5:37 pm on May 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

If I may ask one more question.

Where can I get a summary of writers rights; in other words, the types of copyright status we want for ourselves, or a well-established publisher says we can have? I've done a search and can't seem to come up with anything other than copyright information as a whole.

The way this deal is panning out, I want to keep all rights to the article. But I'm willing to let it be freely used and distributed by the client. He agrees to this.

I want to use a statement similar to this one, but from my perspective as writer (My rights to my article):

"Our Rights to Your Content:

"We do not require you to grant us copyright to your work. However, you grant us and any licensee of ours a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty free license to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, post, and create derivative works of your content and otherwise use your content for any purpose in any form and in any media (Web, print, or otherwise)."

Source: [allbusiness.com...]

I'm going to get a reasonable amount for the article, but only about half of what I'd usually charge. In return for the discount, I want to keep full rights. The client said I can promote my site within the article. And I will...though not enough to distract from the content.

THANKS!

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