Web Design Fees: 100% Upfront or Split Payments

by ProServe Web Solutions 11 replies
Hi Warriors,

I've been using the 50/50 payment system for my web design clients (50% upon signing the agreement and 50% prior to launch). However, I am giving some thought to requiring 100% upfront because I often finish projects early and have to wait even longer (past the quoted completion date) as the client gives reasons for why it will take "a few days" to submit the final payment. My thinking is that most commercial service/product providers require full payment upfront before delivering. Why should web design be any different?

This is just something I'm tossing around and would like to know what other designers (or service providers in general) think. Your input is most appreciated!
#main internet marketing discussion forum #100% #design #fees #payments #service #split #upfront #web #web design
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  • Profile picture of the author IzzuDino
    If you're punctual with your service, your web designs are great and your customers are happy, I don't see any reason why you should not charge a 100% up front fee.

    Plaster you sales page/website with testimonials so people will not hesitate to pay 100% up front fees. It's all about trust!
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    I would definitely charge all the money up front. Getting the rest of the payment is always a hassle.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Crosbie
    You could always charge an hourly fee.

    When you give your estimation, break down into hourly sections. You can then bill 25% upfront and for 5 hours of the project (5 x your hourly rate) and do 5 hours of work. Show the client, get feedback and bill another 5 hours.

    This does two things, one it means that your never going to find yourself in a position where you've done work and the client doesn't pay and two, the communication between you and the client improves.

    It also makes changing or adding things to the estimation very easy, for example if the client decides half way through that he would like a third page labour designed, you can simply invoice him for the amount of hours it would take you to do so.

    Hope this helps
    Joe Crosbie
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  • Profile picture of the author Beatinest
    Different clients will respond to the options differently. As long as you can afford to lose the business of the clients not willing to pay up front then go for it. However, If you need the clients you might want to give your clients the option.

    It does suck having to chase people down but also keep in mind real businesses have a process your invoice has to go through to approve it for payment. Individuals...not so much.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patbinc
    Continue with the current model of 50% upfront and the rest after delivery but only for new clients. Once you have worked with a client and earned their trust, subsequent payments should be 100% upfront.

    You will have demonstrated to your new clients that you know what you are doing and if they trust you appreciate your services enough to become repeat clients then they wouldn't have a problem paying upfront (or most of them wouldn't).

    Key lies in demonstrating that you know what you are doing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Harris
      Originally Posted by Patbinc View Post

      Continue with the current model of 50% upfront and the rest after delivery but only for new clients. Once you have worked with a client and earned their trust, subsequent payments should be 100% upfront.

      You will have demonstrated to your new clients that you know what you are doing and if they trust you appreciate your services enough to become repeat clients then they wouldn't have a problem paying upfront (or most of them wouldn't).

      Key lies in demonstrating that you know what you are doing.
      I'm guessing that these clients who take the longest to pay possibly also try and beat you down on price and need you to make more changes to the work you do for them.

      If this is the case, it's about you recognizing the value of your time, and the value of your service.

      Measures like what Pat suggested above will help you sub-communicate that to your clients when you are dealing with them.

      Basically you want to be communicating to them (not saying directly)
      "if you're a pain in the ass client, then you need to go down the road and find yourself a pain in the ass webmaster, because I'm too busy for your crap"

      You do a job on time, you deserve to get paid on time. Simple!

      It takes some getting used to, but when you do business on your terms, you get your clients respect, payments on time and a hellova lot more referrals.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    I have done hundreds of thousands worth of freelance work. Unless using a service (Elance, oDesk, etc) I have always done 50/50, this way the customer and I are sharing equal risk.
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  • Originally Posted by ProServe Web Solutions View Post

    Hi Warriors,

    I've been using the 50/50 payment system for my web design clients (50% upon signing the agreement and 50% prior to launch). However, I am giving some thought to requiring 100% upfront because I often finish projects early and have to wait even longer (past the quoted completion date) as the client gives reasons for why it will take "a few days" to submit the final payment. My thinking is that most commercial service/product providers require full payment upfront before delivering. Why should web design be any different?

    This is just something I'm tossing around and would like to know what other designers (or service providers in general) think. Your input is most appreciated!
    I almost always get 100% upfront.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaytheanalyst
    Upfront is better. I've had an issue before.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuyJoe
    How about setting up different milestones? 50% upfront, 25% half way and then remaining 25% upon completion?
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Hoffmaster
      I would test the 100% up front option. See if your conversions drop. If only asking for 50% up front helps you get more business, it may be worth the hassle. But if you get enough business asking for 100% up front, then stick with it.
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