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Is charging your client up front for print bad form?


#1
Hi There,
I was recently asked to quote on a basic project which involved a sticker with a logo on it, the quantity for print was 20,000 which came to a hefty cost and the supplier required uprfront payment.

Is it bad form to charge the client upfront for printing if it is a large sum? or should I ask for a percentage of the cost upfront?

Would value any thoughts.

Thanks
Nicola
www.rockpoolgd.com
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#2
To be honest if I was a designer outsourcing print I would charge my customer in full in advance every single time, why take the risk.

Even as a printer we charge in full in advance as your printer does, the profit margin nowadays is so small in order to be competitive that the risk to reward ratio is pretty high...payment up front always in my opinion.
 
#3
To be honest if I was a designer outsourcing print I would charge my customer in full in advance every single time, why take the risk.

Even as a printer we charge in full in advance as your printer does, the profit margin nowadays is so small in order to be competitive that the risk to reward ratio is pretty high...payment up front always in my opinion.
I think you make a good point and in the future I plan on seeking up front payment before print.

When dealing with new customers in the past I've always tended to err on the side of caution a little and initially suggest my product is print ready files to take to a printer of their choosing.

The times I have arranged the printing on their behalf it hasn't been a problem so far. I've had one where they took a while to pay and for a while I was out of pocket but it was swiftly sorted out.

It did hit me as a bit of a warning though that it could have been slightly different and I could have lost out so I would suggest seeking payment before hand, particularly with a significant sum that is mentioned.
 
#4
I always put the client in touch with the printer to arrange payment. I do EVERYTHING in regard to the job, ie. talking to the printer, making sure files are correct and print ready, sorting delivery etc, but I WILL NOT deal with any payment that I am not involved with. If you have a partnership like I do with my printers, they will mark you up anyway.

Personally, for me, I just feel that I don't need to be involved. If there are any problems then I don't want to get involved if it doesn't affect me and I also do not want to lose a good relationship that I have built up with my printer over a bad client. If there are any problems, to put it bluntly, let them fight it out. I would NEVER intentionally put a bad client the way of my printer and they know that.

I also make sure my clients are aware that this is the way I work before it gets to this stage. Believe me, it saves a lot of hassle and prevents fallouts with your printer.
 
#6
We work on a case by case basis. But... new client @ at least 50%, private individual 50 - 100%.

Boss is spot on re: risks involved.

We operate a payment recovery process, where if things become slow we hand over to our solicitor (happens sometimes) - almost all pay, a few go to court, we win, they pay. It's a tiny percentage of people - but it happens that people try not to pay.

Sectors that are a particular problem - taxi, sole trader construction, night club promotion.
 
#9
My freelance work is also to prepare print ready artwork and I let the client 'find the best print deal' and deal with the printers themselves as I cannot afford to be left out of pocket. I also work 9-5 in a studio so don't really have time during the day to liase with clients and printers.

When it comes to payment for design, I have never asked for payment up front, but its definitely something I'd consider if I felt the situation was a bit iffy. For example recently, I turned down a job from a friend, not a close friend may I add, but I could just tell he was wanting something for nothing and I just couldn't be bothered with the hassle...even then I knew I'd struggle to get payment upfront from this person! Some people may be reluctant I guess.
 
#10
We take this on a case by case basis. If Joe Bloggs comes along with a £10k order then we would normally ask for a minimum of 50% upfront and the balance on delivery. But if it was the same order from say M&S then we would just produce the order on our normal terms.

It can be a hard one to judge but do not be afraid of asking for money upfront, if they are not willing to do this then may be you shouldn't be dealing with them anyway.
 

bigdave

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Generally, I charge 50% of the total job upfront. This covers the printing costs and a bit left for me to be getting on with. Until now, I've had no issue with non payment but as my freelance workload increases, I know that it will only be a matter of time before someone stiffs me! With this in mind I am thinking of either taking a back seat with regards to arranging print or reconsidering the level of upfront payment I take.
 

Katedesign

Well-Known Member
#12
If you are placing a lot of print then talk to your printer - he might be giving trade rates to you and may be willing to take on your client as the principle (and charge them more) and give you a commission on the job. After all he hasn't had to go and get the work and if he has sales people he will be paying commission/wages/car/petrol etc.

If you are paying up front for the print then at least get 50% but I would suggest going for 100%. If you pay first and then have to wait 30 days for your money you are funding that money for 40 days approx..... are you making that much on it?
 

bigdave

Moderator
Staff member
#13
My printer has always worked on 30 day invoice on account of me working for him through college but I'm looking at other printers and deals at the moment to compare quality etc... What can I say, I'm an ink whore!! lol




Is there a tattoo in there?
 
#15
Printers Do

Nearly every printing firm wants up front payment for print runs, so the customer shouldn't be surprised to be asked for up front payment.

It's entirely reasonable given that it's an actual physical product and not a service only.

I ask for full up front for any printing. Never had a client question that once.

Amanda