Newbies often turn white at this suggestion.
They seem to assume that it’s too bold or direct to ask for a deposit from a client. What’s obvious to me is that this is a sign of inexperience.
In 5 years of running my own design and illustration business I have only once been challenged on my 50% deposit terms. Over 300 clients have automatically assumed this is fair.
Of course it’s fair. And any client who assumed it wasn’t is the kind of client you should run from as fast as you can. The deposit secures the work and clients know this. It puts them on the board and in the queue. Until a deposit is paid the project is only an idea. The project requires investment to commence.
An investment that always pays off. No business would survive if it didn’t follow through with its service offering. It is always in the best interest of the business to deliver on what it what’s been promised.
A few points to note:
- Starting out I only charged 25% deposit, simply due to lack of confidence. I bumped this up after the first time a client let me down by deciding not to go through with the project after I had invested a significant amount of time in it.
- For print jobs or situation in which I have to spend money on behalf of a client I expect 100% up front. Again, this has never been question by a client.
- It’s not unreasonable to ask for full payment from the start. I don’t do this because I find the 50% payment structure helps stagger cash flow better and it’s a nice reward at the end of a project to send an invoice