Insights From Our Slack: Advice on Asking for Deposits

Jessica: Hey FF, when you start to work with clients on an ongoing basis (not a project scope), do you ask for a deposit upfront? Alternatively, is it cool to send an email after a few weeks of working saying you’d like to get set up with billing? I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’ve had nightmares in the past where clients can only pay on the 1st (because of accounting) and you get bumped a whole month back on payment…

Cameron: Yes yes! My new clients are always required to either pay 50% of a fixed project price upfront or 50% of the estimate if I’m charging hourly. I don’t start work until I’m paid. My contract stipulates that and indicates that I invoice on the 5th of the month for the previous month’s work (if hourly) and invoices are Net15.

You get to decide what you want, not them. I just recommend laying it out in a contract before starting the work. I have one client that I’ve worked with for years, however, that has a Net30 arrangement with me and I’m fine with it. You can always make exceptions!

Emily: My setup is almost just like Cameron’s. I invoice all clients on the 30th day of each month with Net15 terms. Always remember, you’re a business too – not their employee. So you can set expectations for them to meet. Get that cash!

ETA: I do deposits as well, usually 50%, and I’ve started requiring a minimum recurring project commitment (# of months).

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