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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know how to structure this so I thought I'd get some feedback. I have 3 biggish clients who work for a big Portland area based company...they each have their own side jobs that I'm doing their websites for. One paid their deposit in January....7 months ago. His site is done, has been forever (he approved it), he keeps promising final payment but I cannot get him to send it. Another one (deposit paid in March I think), I did up a few initial pages (they provided the design, I just put them into html and added the content) and they will.not.respond. It's been almost 2 months since I did the work. The biggest client, deposit made in March or April, keeps telling me "almost done with the content"...I'm done with the website, just waiting on this content. It's been months since I finished with the design.

They are busy with certain big events happening in China, but this is ridiculous. When I took on these projects, they all wanted to be done in May at the latest.

No contracts, I wasn't smart enough to start those until these problems started. What do you all think some options are to handle this? And for future prevention, what would be a fair late fee and how should I structure it? $50/week for no response, $50/week I'm waiting for content? Should I charge more?

It's "only" $1400 I'm owed between the 3 of them. One of them was a previous client and I was doing them all a favor
: No more favors (except for MDCers of course)!
 

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Aw, that sucks. No advice here, I guess, my delinquent accounts I've given up on collecting, but not on feeling bitter about
: It's amazing to me how easy it seems to be for some people to take advantage of others' trust and generosity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I just sent them all "respond or lose your deposit completely" emails, hopefully someone gets back to me. It's ridiculous! These aren't small time business people, they're all well known in this area and I'm just flabbergasted they'd do this. If they didn't like my work, wouldn't they tell me?
 

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My DH is a web designer and we have run into things like this.

For the client that you are waiting on content:

At this point I'd say, "here is where you are at at this point. This is what you owe me. Once you get me the content, I'll invoice you for the remainder which should only be ___ hours."

For the client who wont' respond:

Send them a letter requesting payment and add to the letter the fact that they are past due. If payment isn't received you will be sending the account to collections. If they don't pay then put the old website/pages back up....but don't tell them you are going to do it until after you have...then tell them you'll put the new pages back up once you get paid.

Sometimes you have to muscle people.

On both of the invoices that you send to these people, include your new late fee policy. 1.5% or 2% of the balance per month is a typical and late charge in this case, IMO.

In the future, you may want to consider doing 3 payments. The initial deposit, another payment when the project is halfway complete or on a certain date and the final payment due at the end.

HTH.
 

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Are you a member of the Women Designer's Group? If not, you should be. Just google that name.

There are tons of designers on there and I have an email convo from the list in which we discussed this very topic.

Basically:

1. Always have a contract

2. Make sure your contract includes a clause that states what will happen if the client fails to make payment or is slow in getting stuff to you

3. Whatever you do, call an attorney and find out what you can add to your contract, and what you can do in these situations.

In my contracts, I have separated project deadlines from payments. So, payments are due on specific dates and project milestones are on separate dates. All payments must be make before project goes live and before copyright ownership is transferred.

And if a client is late getting their stuff to me, they are put in a holding queue and I charge for them to go back into my project queue. So far, no issues since I put all this stuff into my contracts.
 
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