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Web Project Mgt + Billing

what is the best way to bill clients and get paid ASAP?

     
3:51 am on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi!

I've been developing small websites for quite a few years, and I'm having problems with cash flow...

I usually make the client pay 50% up front, and 50% at the end of the project. This is NOT working out for several reasons... 1st of all, I am usually depending on the client to provide content, so it seems like I get 75% of my work done, then I sit around and wait on them. Then after they FINALLY provide me with what I need (this has taken several months in some situations) they are slow paying their bills...

Then, it seems like once I start on a project some clients start adding requirement on top of requirement, and then act shocked & amazed when I tell them it will cost more...

How do most people handle these 2 situations? Any thoughts on how to improve my situation would be greatly appreciated.

Thx!

5:33 am on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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hi newnewbie1!

first of all you need a clear communication with your customers. not a website has it's price - your work has.

then talk about the project before making the bills - not afterwards. and add 1/3 to your calculation not to make persuade your client all the time with limitations.

then make a contract, strictly define, what you will deliver. and when. if the customer does not send your the texts in time as written down, you can bill your extra costs because of delay or whatever. that will motivate them.

for me that solved all problems.

11:17 am on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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50% on the front is good, 50% on the backend is a deterrent to finish. Negotiate with the client how long both of you feel the project will take. Let's for example sake say 6 weeks. Bill 50% up front, bill 25% at the six week mark (regardless if done or not), in the contract specify that if the project is not completed at the end of six weeks, you will charge a project management fee of $100.00 (pick a number) per week and it will be billed immediately until the project is finished. The project is defined as finished when the final 25% is paid (prevent deadbeats). Now the client has all the motivation in the world to get done, it keeps getting more expensive if they don't.

g

12:21 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi newnewbie1,

We're not in websitebuilding but in SEO but sometimes we're also depending on clients delivering content.

We have a choice of solutions: one is full payment in advance with a discount. This pays off as you don't have to worry about the money, no extra invoices, no extra bank transaction costs etc.

Another option is to set the payment dates in advance, like: "<yourcompany> will finish the project by <date>. Payment is due by <date> or so much later as the project has been finished later due to delay caused by <yourcompany>."

Of cource you also have to set dates for delivery of content by your client then.

12:22 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I found sending clients a photo of my collection of rottweilers worked wonders.

Then, it seems like once I start on a project some clients start adding requirement on top of requirement, and then act shocked & amazed when I tell them it will cost more...

I get this all the time and it really gets on my wick - I now charge by the hour for any updates that clients require outside of the orginal agreements.

All invoices that I send out I expect paid within 28 days - if not I normally start whining that I cannot eat without their money - if that fails then I send a really brief email threatening litigation.

I have only had one bad payer in nearly two years of being an independant trader.

3:21 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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as i said above, setting time limits is great. if they pay you 50% in front and 50% at the end, the end should be that date you're planned to be finished. if you're not finished because of your fault - then don't bill. if you're not finished because of the customers fault - bill immediatly. any extra stuff means extra costs for your and that means for your customer. you can't take it on your own.

and: you can't take responsibility for your customer. you've to take it for yourself.

btw if someone wants to get good work, shurly they pay good. it's well known that if you pay a creative not well, he is not willing to work with favour for a project. and the result will be less good and less creative.

12:20 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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hello newnewbie1,
just to put in my 2 cents, what i usually do (unless the client pays in full upfront) is
30% in advance
40% when 80%-90% of the *work is done
30% 2-4 weeks after completion

* - work is done, meaning that just about everything except the content from the client is up and running. Example, in a "Our Services" page I would put "These are our services..." and tell the client to get me the texts to put there. This way I do not have to wait from them.

Obviously you need to clarify everything with the client in advance, use some kind of order form or agreement that they sign to avoind misunderstandings.

Good Luck

 

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