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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard Another Designer's Avatar
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    When client slows things down

    I'm trying to get two websites finished for my clients. But my client seems to be slowing things down. I need the copy material for one website, and the approval for comps on the other. Actually, I need the approval on both website comps.

    I called my client today, but got his voice male. As ususal, I left a message.

    I am owed around $1900 so far. I get paid when the job is done. But things are moving so slowly.

    I suppose I can try to get new clients during this down time. That is a whole new set of skills I have to harrness.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you all.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Hey there,

    I think all of us have felt your pain at some point or another, whether is's getting content needed or getting paid once the job is done.

    Of course I have to ask - what was spelled out in your contract with this client? Did you get any money upfront? I require 50% upfront and 50% on completion...but sometimes that completion part can take a while depending on the client.

    Andrews blog this week has some good tips to help you deal with slow payers, but I think the best think you can do to ensure that you always have an income is to always be marketing your business so you have prospects in your pipeline and waiting to do work with you.

    I know it's not always easy and many of us tend to get caught up in a project and we put our marketing on hold until we're done - but you should do some kind of marketing activity each day whether it's sending direct mail, calling prospective clients, working on joint venture deals whatever. This way you've always got someone you can work with if people like this client hold you up.

    HTH,

    Steve
    Web Designer or Small Business Owner?
    Need More Leads and More Clients?
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    Steve made some good points. Getting a deposit is a great way to give the client some incentive to move quickly. If they don't have anything financially invested in the project, other issues (that they are financially invested in) will always take precedence. You have to make them make it a priority.

    In my contracts, I have details of each process - including getting copy from clients. There are deadlines and penalties for missed deadlines. In extreme circumstances, the contract becomes null and void and the client is required to pay anything owed up to that point. It's a little extreme, but you have to really talk to your clients about this up-front. If they understand the importance, it's much less of an issue.

    I too had a few clients that drug out the process forever, which is why I started including those clauses in my contract. I had one little 5-page website that took one YEAR to complete for this reason. Now I explain it to them up front, and tell them if they miss a deadline that they get pushed to the back of the priority list. They're no longer able to call and want me to meet all the other deadlines, because it's not possible.

    It may not be much help to you in your current situation... but will hopefully give you some info for future Now, I would call and try to get a meeting with them. Tell them that you have other projects and that you will have to go ahead and bill them for work completed thus far unless they can provide you completed content or approvals by X date. If they don't comply, send them an invoice and stop working on the project.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    I always say that you should never attach payments to production milestones for this very reason. A better way is to specify 50 percent upfront and 50 percent in, say, 90 days. (I try to roughly coorespond this with the estimated completion date.) Unfortunately, I don't always practice what I preach, and I'm in a similar situation with a client whose site is 99% done, less minor copy changes that he keeps saying he'll send, but doesn't.

    Now, part of the delay with the project was my fault (due to relocating my family and my business across the country, which the client understands), so I haven't enforced the "final payment" clause... until now, that is. Since this clause is in the contract, I can now choose to inforce it, rather than continually pestering him for his final changes.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    Like John, instead of using production milestones, I specify a number of days before final payment .

    I've also found that getting content can be VERY difficult. Because of this, I try to sell content production with all sites. Not everyone buys content, but it's helpful when they do.
    Now Hiring
    Looking for (x)html coder/ php programmer/
    WordPress expert for project work. PM me with
    your rates and work samples if you're interested.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict
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    getting part of your payment upfront is the answer.

    Once the client has invested part of their cash into the process it give them the incentive to keep up to date providing the content / copy that you need to progress.

    It also helps cushion you should that client be stalling while ripping your ideas and dealing with another developer. Dependant upon size of company I will not start work without a contract and 50% - 35% payed and cleared up front.


  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast BP2000's Avatar
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    I have had clients pay me in full, up front, and still take months and months to get their act together. Payment still doesn't mean that the job will be done, although it does mean that you aren't out of pocket so much.

    Goodluck with it Another Designer.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    I, too, have had customers give me significant deposits and then stall the project waiting on content. So, I'm not sure that a large deposit is necessarily the fix-all solution.
    Now Hiring
    Looking for (x)html coder/ php programmer/
    WordPress expert for project work. PM me with
    your rates and work samples if you're interested.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    The client I referred to in my above post has already paid half up front. another client still has parts of their site without any content, and they paid in full over two years ago.

    I think the key factor is how "mission critical" the client considers the project to be. Last year, I developed a site for someone who knew that, without it, his idea would never get off the ground. He is a writer and his wife is a copyeditor, so he threw content at me faster than I could get it up. After he approved the design, we had the site live in less than two weeks. It was great. I wish all clients were like that.

    One of the questions I'm beginning to ask prospects is to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how mission critical this website is to the success of their business.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    I used to ask this question to all new clients:

    'So, when does this site need to be up and running?'

    Of course, 90% of the time the answer was 'ASAP', which of course is meaningless. Well, tell a lie, 'ASAP' means that I'm expected to have the site ready by the end of the week while my client can take 10 months to get the site content prepared.

    Now I get somewhat more detailed on completion dates, I ask for a specific and realistic 'going live' date and don't take 'ASAP' as an acceptable answer. From there, we can then agree on a 'content delivery' date by which time I would expect all the site content sitting in my inbox.

  11. #11
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessebhunt
    Like John, instead of using production milestones, I specify a number of days before final payment .
    I've also found that getting content can be VERY difficult. Because of this, I try to sell content production with all sites. Not everyone buys content, but it's helpful when they do.
    You are a nice man Jesse.
    Steves advice was also very good:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravedesigns
    I think the best think you can do to ensure that you always have an income is to always be marketing your business so you have prospects in your pipeline and waiting to do work with you.
    Don't ever stop at one-client in freelance. If you do, after that project is finished and you have been paid, you have to start back again at square one. Continually market your business. Getting more work than you can handle is always good, believe it or not. You can use it as an indicator that it's time to raise your prices!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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