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consulting, contracts, payments and trust

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
DH and I are starting a consulting archival internet based business.

We have different opinions on how to approach payments.

He said that he would never prepay someone for a internet based service job. He would expect that it might be a scam.

I on the other hand am really worried that if we provide a service before payment, we will never get paid.

So how do you set up a trusting relationship with a business on the internet, especially since we are starting from scratch without a reputation. DH does have 10 years experience in the field, a master's degree in the area, has taught many many workshops on this topic and works in a very well respected archive in a well known university. All of these things we will be putting into our website, but will this help develop trust for our clients?

Would requiring a signed contract protect us? will it help the client feel secure with us?

We expect that the consultation will take place through phone calls or email, depending on the client's needs.

thanks so much. We have never considered starting a business before and it is all so new to us.
post #2 of 3
I think it is reasonable to request a certain percentage of the payment in advance- no more than 50%. I would also, however, create a simple contract outlining the details of the work to be performed, the total cost and method of payment, payment terms, and any contingencies that may be required for that type of work. The possibility of not being paid is a very real concern in any self-employment scenario, but I think generally most people are honest and you likely won't have too much concern. Just be sure to cover any possible eventuality in your business plan and procedures so you know how you will proceed if you have difficulties and that you deal with the same issue consistently.

Stephanie
post #3 of 3
I would also think about having a credit card payment option, like Paypal or something that people are familiar with, then they can have the piece of mind that there is the potential to dispute the payment if there is a problem.

You don't necessarily need a contract for collecting payment, in most states, verbal agreements are just as binding when it involves collecting a fee for goods or services rendered.

As far as gaining trust for an internet business, having a professional looking website and contact info that gets you to a real person will help immensely. Having an organized resources page with links to sites for information regarding the type of business you do is important, also.

As you move forward in the business, you will probably figure out how it will operate most successfully and find your comfort zone for the payment aspect.

good luck!
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