Suzanne Butler

How do you ask for payment from a client before the work's done?

How do you go about asking for the payment from a client before the work is completed?

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5 Answers

Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons , Consultant at SMS Fusion

Never had an issue with asking clients for payment in advanced. They way I see it is simple, if they have an issue making a payment in advanced they will probably have an issue in making payment once the work has been completed.

Don't be afraid to say no and let them walk away. A lot of companies request payment prior to services being provided. If a customer knows what they are paying for, needs the service or product, I fail to see how what valid reason they would have to not make a payment in advance other than they don't have enough money to pay now. And in that case I would simply ask them to come back once they have the money.

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Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray , Managing Owner at MyCL (My Computer Lab)

I always make it clear in a contract or email how much and by when a client has to pay. It is also agreed and often signed by my client.

If a client does not pay, that's a different situation. Paul Metcalf from CollectMORE has an awesome free app that you can use to help with your debt collection issues.

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Kirsty Fox

Kirsty Fox , Principal at Spitfire Solutions

in your contract with them which outlines the scope of work, have a paragraph the says fees - x% ($ amount) up front, x% ($ amount) whenever (if applicable ), and balance on completion of the job.

If they don't pay, (and this is the hardest bit), you have to stick to your guns and not start the job until you've been paid.

If it's the type of job that requires payment in full in advance, then say that it's your policy to not start until you've been paid (I'm thinking this is something along the lines of cakes, etc).

Good luck!

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Great answer... read more
Great answer
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Hitesh Mohanlal

Hitesh Mohanlal , Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

Excellent question. As business owners we are afraid that asking for money means we lose the project/ job. What we sometimes forgot is that if we walk away our business will be OK but if we run out of money our business dies. If clients have an issue with paying fees they are usually not a good customer.

Customers don't like paying in advance because they want assurances that the work will be done and that there are safeguards in place that should there be a problem it will be fixed. Solve this problem and the resistance falls down.

We always ask for a % of money up front if it is one off engagement. In my accounting and bookkeeping business we help the client by spreading payment over 12 months. If they do not pay we stop working and ask for payment. We always give a full money back guarantee. That way the customer feels that if anything goes wrong they is recourse back. If a potential customer refuses we politely tell them that is our policy not to start work without payment and it is included in all our engagement letters. The key i think is to be clear and explain why you are asking for payment in advance and also try to work out why they are not prepared to pay in advance.

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Steven Freeman

If the spend will be higher - $500->$1000+ for example it is fair an reasonable to request a 30% or 50% deposit upfront upon order confirmation.

With that said each client is different and some will never buy that and only pay after delivery against an official Purchase Order. It's balancing act of setting out clear payment terms from the beginning, but within that you may need to have sub (or special) terms for certain types of clients that you can manage the risk for if you still want them to do business with you, but may not fit into your default terms.

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