Client doesn't want to put any deposit for the project, what should I do?

Hi everyone, in in a situation where client agrees the 10k budget for the project, but refuse to pay any deposit until I complete the site development.

He said he paid some one before and that developer took the money bit was unable to finish the project.

I told him I have 100% confidence I can finish it, and I also already provided mmany page of draft designs. I already spent so much time in this project, I do not want to lose it.

Client also said he will put money in escrow account and release until he satisfy.

I don’t know what to do now. Any suggestions? My worry is what if he changes his mind and cancel the escrow while I worked half way on the project.


tell him that you wont start till you have a deposit.
you could try an escrow service…

You shouldn’t have done so much work on the project before getting a deposit.

Also what does your CONTRACT say? If the contract specifies a deposit to be paid before you start work then you shouldn’t have started work before getting that deposit. If it specifies progress payments as certain stages in the work are reached then then you should stop work at those points until the progress payments are made.

you do have a contract, right?

How much % of the project is the deposit? And how much % of the project have you completed so far?

And yes, the usual tut-tut about contracts etc. But ultimately you set the payment plan for a project. If he’s been burnt before that’s a shame, but he needs to get over it and realise both sides need to take a bit of a risk in these situations. The escrow thing won’t work well for you and you know it. Hard cash upfront, as this guy sounds like trouble. Reduce the risk for him by reducing the size of upfront payments - split the project into several $1.5k stages - don’t begin the next stage until the cheque clears for the previous stage. If he’s not willing to do that, walk away, it’s too much risk for you, just not worth it. Currently it’s effectively an unsecured $10k loan.

i like the idea of splitting it into deliverables.
split it into chinks and get paid for each chunk as you do it :slight_smile:

Get rid of the client.

Thanks for the replies, I was trying to show client some mock up designs to show him what I could do for him. Then he liked it ask for revision, I did one revision. Im just about tto send the contract but he said he won’t pay until I finished. I feel he don’t respect my work.

And today, I just offered him another way for him to pay in several parts. He refused again.

I just get rid of him from my list.


Good decision dropping him. I also suggest you stop creating free mock ups for clients. Let them use your portfolio, case studies and testimonials as a guide to your skills. If they want mock ups, they can pay for them - the mock up process is an important part of the project, it shouldn’t be free - also it requires a lot of consulting to create a decent mockup, so you’re either just banging out a quick mock up which will invariably fail to impress, or you’re spending a lot of time on it, in which case the potential client is thinking ‘wow, this guy does all this work for free, is he really worth the $xx per hour he’s eventually going to charge me? Or maybe he’s desperate?’. Is it any wonder the guy didn’t feel like paying you upfront? He simply doesn’t value your time at all.

I must admit, this is the first time I’ve ever heard a prospect request a revision on a free mock up. That’s pretty cheeky :slight_smile:

Anyway, best of luck - most clients are not like this, just develop the sixth sense to sniff these time wasters out at the earliest possible opportunity.

to cut it short create a contract, before project start 10% downpayment next payment after delivery 60% (of course there will be issues and revision) and the remaining after full completion. etc etc.

Dropping him is the right decision. Good faith is a two way street. He wants you to do all the work and hope that he pays. Why should you be the only one showing any trust?

Drop him. When I used to freelance I had a simple policy of not moving even a single pixel without upfront deposits and thanks to it I have never been ripped :slight_smile: