For those that are willing to share, how do you normally handle payment terms for websites and other projects? 1/2 down with remainder at the end? 1/3 billing? Also, how long do you give customers to pay the invoice once you launch their site…or do you require the remainder be paid before the site is launched? Do you ever start a project before getting the down and if so, how long do you give it?
We are looking at the way we do billing and want to change it, but really would like to know how others do it.
The reason we don’t ask for payment before site launch if we felt people would feel odd about paying a large sum of money before seeing it fully working, so we haven’t tried it that way first.
If you do bill after launch, do you give them a time period in which they need to pay? We’ve been putting a week (it’s in our contract), but we notice that a lot of people expect to pay within 30 days. This surprised us, since they received the product already.
30 days is a sort of a generally accepted standard time limit on payment upon receipt of an invoice – it should also be said in the same breath that it is generally considered bad form to leave someone waiting that long. Legally, I’d imagine this changes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but you can always stipulate the terms at the beginning.
I wouldn’t argue against anyone else’s practices, particularly in the area of ‘selling’ websites (I can’t think of a more suitable term atm) where I have limited knowledge. I do know, however, that in terms of graphic and other computer work I’ve done I generally agree a figure before-hand, and then work out a more detailed breakdown of what they will get for their money. Anything beyond this that they might decide on during the process is extra billing. (Remember that when settling on this figure, you can always come down – hardly ever up!)
I don’t take a cent until they’ve seen the finished product and are happy that I’ve satisfied their original stipulations. So far, in terms of websites, I’ve also had the site up for a week or so to make sure all kinks are ironed out. I get paid, and they get full control of their product. Unless necessary to the website from the offset, only then do I start on any sub-projects or add-ons and the process repeats (I inherited this practice from graphic design – they start off wanting a business card, but by the end you’ve designed everything from roadsigns to t-shirts!). That way I get paid no matter how long the relationship, they can track their expenditure, and we can both agree on quality control as we move forward. It’s worked for me so far…
The only concrete advice I would give to anyone is that which you are already following – write everything down!
As for payment timing we charge before the website goes fully live. We usually make a 75% complete site available for them before the launch, but we ask for payment in full before the site launch. however if we are setting up the hosting for them then we allow 2 weeks for payment.