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When to charge the client?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Xenonsoft, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    I'm looking for a bit of guidance here.

    We have a client who required a simple 1 page site for her to direct people to for information about who she is and what she does.

    We created the site a good 6 months ago, but have been awaiting the content to actually fill it out since. She says she is very busy and for some reason hasn't managed to sort out the content that I estimate would take 1-2 hours maximum.

    We've got everything we need done, but can't put the site live until the content is given.

    Should we be looking to charge for payment now, or continue waiting on said content? All our communication has gone through emails and a couple of phone calls, no contract as such was drawn up but I think the emails we have would put law on our side if she refused to pay.

    I'm not really sure what to do next, the guy that recommended her to us has said a few times to keep an eye on her as she 'plays dumb', knowing more than she lets on. I've done a google search and she hasn't got another company to build her a website, which is a minor relief I guess.

    Anyway, a little sidetracked there, the question stands, when should I charge the client?
  2. Adam

    Adam Senior Member

    Do you not ask for a percentage of the price at the start? Then rest on completion?

    You could say to her how you would like to get it finished within the next few weeks, ask her to provide the content and if she doesn't then still charge her after the three weeks.
  3. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    We didn't see the point in taking a % at the start as we knew we could get it out within the week, but we'll have to be more prudent in the future.

    Cheers Adam, I'll certainly consider that approach.
  4. Sunburn

    Sunburn Active Member


    I would Bill her for the work, with a clause in the payment stating that you will add the final content and only said final content to the site as and when she provides it, state that if payment is not met within xyz of days you will deem that a termination of agreement between yourself, and any work completed up until this point will be help for xyz amount of days before being destroyed.

    my two cents.
  5. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Cheers Geoff. Not a bad plan, other than the fact we could really do with the money. I fear if we say "we'll cancel the contract" she'll agree and after all the work that's gone into it (emails, design & build) we don't really want to run that risk.
  6. Sunburn

    Sunburn Active Member

    Hate to say it but, if you had a contract drawn up and signed between both parties you would have the leverage to ask for payment on this. However, as you dont, there really nothing to stop the client walking away if she does'nt want want to continue the project after you request payment.

    Perhaps, the better method in this situation would be to drop the client an telephone call and explain that your company can no longer expend any more resources into this project, and ask for the final payment / completion on this project.

    If she don't move with you on this, you may have to write it off as a lesson learned.

    Typically, I find that slow or non paying clients are a lot more receptive once you have spoken to them on the phone discussed the issues at hand and then sent out an email to them summarising what was discussed and whats expected and by when.

    dont be shy, after all its far easier to be the one asking the questions then the one trying to find the answers :)
  7. tim

    tim Senior Member

    my opinion:

    immediately. i ask for either 33% or 50% of the final price within a fortnight of the signed contract (new policy as of 3 weeks ago). :) good luck!
  8. blueocto

    blueocto Senior Member

    As mentioned, why not tell her that you wish to 'wrap up' this job now and require payment minus time for the content to be added. Then if she wishes to drag that out, then at least you've been paid for what you have created so far.

    Have you already passed all the files/work to her? Just in case she doesn't pay, would you be losing out on everything, or just the time/effort?
  9. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    We haven't passed any files over, and I agree that we should charge her now and then add the content whenever she is ready. I just wanted to see what others thought as that may not the way it's done!

    Cheers Tim & Blueocto.
  10. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Fred,

    Just to echo the replies you've already had, I would personally send them an invoice for the amount payable along with your request for the site content, just mention that it's been x days since you started on the project and you're very keen to get the site completed for your client so they can start benefiting from it, rather than sounding like you're just keen to get the job completed and off of your to-do lists :)

    As for future projects, I would recommend taking a 50% deposit at the start of the project with 50% on completion, I've always done this, and on the rare occasion when I didn't it lead me into a few problems. A deposit up-front shows their commitment to the project.

  11. berry

    berry Active Member

    50% prior to start and 50% upon completion ( of your part - not when the site goes live)
    Never let clients drag things out, once you finish the last bit, we would insist that the client has 7 days to approve and sign off or ammend, if they haven't done after that, that's their worry, the job is deemed complete and payable immediately.

    Send an invoice in NOW!. That sharp creates some kind of action.
  12. bluecube

    bluecube Member

    Hi Fred,

    Might be a good idea to give the client a call and just explain that you were expecting content and sign off of the job by now so you intend to send an invoice as the delay has been on their part but explain that obviously you would honour your agreement to finish the site and perhaps even give a timescale that you would expect to have content in the site within 48 hours of receiving it from her and then follow up with an email. Sometimes email can be a bit cold in a situation like this and can break down relationships with clients, so if you do decide to just email your client be carefull how you word it.

    With regards to charging do you have an hourly rate and how many hours have you spent on the project.

    Hope this helps.


  13. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Thanks for all the tips lads, that's what I was thinking. I'll have a meeting with my business partner and go from there.

    @Nathan, I agree that emails must be carefully worded and talking over the phone or face to face always helps. We don't charge an hourly rate currently, although we're looking at encorporating that into the final costs. I prefer to charge for a project than for my time, everyone has their preference :)
  14. bluecube

    bluecube Member

    Welcome Fred,

    We charge all our work on a project basis so we give one price for the job and stick to it unless the client asks for additional development. We still charge on an hourly basis though so we estimate a job will take four hours and say we charged £10 / hour then we would quote the client £40 for doing the job rather than 4 hours at £10/hour, naturally sometimes it takes longer than expected and sometimes it takes less time, eitehr way the client pays the same price and is happy. I hope this isn't confusing.

    A word of advice also, ALWAYS agree a price with the client first, its an absolute must!! If the work you've done is worth £1500 and the client says "erm I thought it would cost a tenna..." your in a very awkward position.

    Fred it sounds like you're starting out, one useful piece of advice that was give to me is that if I want to make this into a full time career think about that when you're pricing up jobs and thinking about how much you need to earn. This job will need to support you and later on in life should you wish to have a mortgage or/and family, just something to think about if you're not already.

    Hope you find my ramblings useful.


  15. I did exactly the same when I was running my own business too... worked well for me :)
  16. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Cheers Nathan, agree with all of that :)

    Obviously we agree a fee before we start work, we're not quite that bad! Everything else is useful though, cheers.
  17. bluecube

    bluecube Member

    Ohhhh sorry i misread the original question I thought it said - WHAT should I charge the client?

    Note to self ... should have gone to Specsavers
  18. yeah good deals there :p
  19. Xenonsoft

    Xenonsoft Active Member

    Haha, no worries mate :)
  20. breathingjuice

    breathingjuice Junior Member

    hi fred,

    I invoice 40% once the project estimate has been agreed, 40% half way though & 20% on delivery. A bit more 'paper' work but it seems to work and also get's the client working just that little bit quicker on their content.

    (i've not had time to read the entire thread so hope i haven't repeated)

    good luck.

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