Ask DN: How do you charge your clients?

over 7 years ago from , Designer & Developer of stuff for people

Simple really.

I was wondering if any of you charge anything up front?

I've got a couple of projects coming up at around 3-4 months each, and to be honest, I don't want to go that long without some cash money. Honey.


  • Blaine KBlaine K, over 7 years ago

    50% up front, always. Not only does this commit the client to the project, it proves that they are in charge of making the purchasing decision, has run through any budget committees, etc prior to your project ever starting. I can't stress how important it is to get a large amount up front. Most other industries need the same thing, so it shouldn't be a shock to your customer.

    For a website project where there's some client work prior to launch (content entry, etc), I bill another 30% when my work is done, leaving 20% for when the project launches. This makes sure they feel comfortable that I'm going to do any necessary work when it comes time to launch.

    For app projects, I usually bill 30-40% upon a beta delivery and the rest when the project is launched.

    7 points
  • Andy LeverenzAndy Leverenz, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    It typically depends on the project for me. If the budget is smaller from the start then a down payment of 50% is fair.

    For larger projects I do a 30/30/40 split. The downpayment equals the first 30% and then 30% follows the first major milestone. 40% would be paid in full before launch. These usually come based on project milestones. (Kickoff/ Design Phase/ Development Phase & Launch)

    I find that this helps both the client and myself keep things rolling. I'm letting the client "finance" in a sense and I'm on the other end working towards each installment which keeps my drive up to work fast and effectively.

    For really long term projects or consulting gigs you could always go hourly OR set a flat monthly rate. Just don't sell yourself short is my best advice.

    I wrote a bit about freelance contracts and freelance invoicing if you or anyone else has any interest.


    2 points
  • Paul JarvisPaul Jarvis, over 7 years ago

    ALWAYS get a downpayment (from 10-20%). This is not negotiable.

    I also invoice clients at net0, so if they want me to keep working, they have to pay right away.

    My friend Julie wrote more about getting paid here: https://creativeclass.io/getting-paid/

    2 points
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    You have to see this from the client's perspective also, they don't want to risk everything with someone they haven't worked with before.

    We use split all payments into 3 installments of 30% in advance, 40% halfway through the project and 30% upon completion. This way the client will feel more in control and you will get 70% of the total sum halfway throuh the project (provided you prove your worth and aren't an ass).

    I hope this helps.

    1 point
    • Thomas Rawcliffe, over 7 years ago

      This is the way I've been thinking. The 30/40/30 option feels like a smoother way to go.

      Either this or 40/30/30. As with this the client will have two similar payments in succession.

      0 points
  • Dragan BabicDragan Babic, over 7 years ago

    For smaller projects we charge 50% up front, and rest prior to handoff.

    For larger ones we do 30% up front and track time against that advance, and as we spend it we start issuing an invoice fortnightly or monthly, depending on the dynamics of the project.

    1 point
    • Thomas Rawcliffe, over 7 years ago

      Simple and effective. I'm sure most people would use this method too.

      Interesting on the 30%. So anything spent over that 30% you start invoicing regularly for?

      0 points
      • Dragan BabicDragan Babic, over 7 years ago

        Exactly. The advance acts like a retainer. They commit to working with us without spending a lot initially, and if it doesn't work out for some reason, there's minimal damage done.

        1 point
  • Marcel Wichmann Marcel Wichmann , over 7 years ago

    I just write an invoice at the end of every month. Worked well, so far.

    1 point