How do you deal with overseas clients?

I was wondering what the common procedure is when doing business with clients overseas? Or those who are physically unable to pay you a visit? What’s the best method of communicating with them? How do you negotiate contracts with them?

And what’s the most effective payment method?

A lot of the articles and content on web design business seem to be based around clients who are close by and able to attend meetings and sign contracts hand-in-hand, but since most of my clients reside in America it gets slightly more difficult.

Skype, GoToMeeting, telephone, instant messaging and email all work.

The only challenge is the time zones. I’ve got some customers in Australia and others in America. I’m in the UK so it can end up as a long day if you’re trying to speak to everyone during their office hours.

In the beginning it might make both parties feel more comfortable if the project is broken down into small milestones with a little payment after each. The extra admin is painful at first but it helps build trust.

Another option for communication that I have found quite useful is a new service from They have a service called ConnectNow. If you go to and set up an account (if you don’t have one already) you can start a meeting in ConnectNow to chat, share notes, share webcam / audio and even screen share. I have used it with a couple of my clients to walk them through settings something up on their computer, even taking control at one point. I believe they are working at incorporating a subscription-based model for it, but currently you can use it on a limited scale for free. Worth it as an option similar to GoToMeeting.

As for payment, I am not sure how you take payment now but I would guess that an online payment method would be your easiest option. It would allow your client to make an instant payment online and make it easier for you to receive your funds.

Pete Bowen is correct with the communication methods, any electronic method of communication is a good method, just remember to keep your options open and use as many different forms as possible to ensure your potential clients can go with what best suits their environment or experience level. Some people like email, some like instant messaging, some like VoIP (Skype), some like social media, just be inventive and allow people to contact you with as many different methods as possible. :slight_smile:

I think the communication is the key of all business. So use any of the chatting softwares like YIM, Skype etc to work with them.

Pete is correct.

As far as payment, it is best to get your funds deposited into a bank account and don’t let the balance exceed more than you are comfortable with.

Wells Fargo charges us about $65-70 for each overseas transaction. This can add up over time, but I don’t know a better way of reducing risk and ensuring the funds end up where they are supposed to.

Skype & email are my votes.

Thanks for all your replies. I’ll be sure to try out and Fargo, they seem really interesting, thanks :slight_smile:

Webex is another option. Cisco bought them over a while back for around $3.9 billion. Haven’t used it in a while but a quick look at there website shows

• Share documents, presentations, and applications.
• Meet from your PC, Mac, or smartphone!
• Take advantage of integrated voice conferencing.
• Record meetings for those who missed the session.
• Share streaming video and up to six webcams.

Seems to meet all your communication requirements.

  • For wire xfers: Bank of America. if you sign up with a PIN code you can phone in transfers very easily for $35

  • For screensharing/presentation - Great price and it seems to get through every firewall/proxy, etc.

  • For communication: email, email, email for all communications that can’t be part of an extranet, bug tracker, or some other systematized scheme. Occasional phone calls are good but IM is definitely OUT. IM is an awful medium for doing business - people don’t pay 100% attention, it’s undocumented/saved, and unguided/erratic conversation.

  • how to negotiate contracts: just like you do domestically. good negotiation tactics are universal

for communication , to use email, msn,skype.
for payment , to use paypal , western union

Isn’t it that Skype is enough? :slight_smile:

Skype is very flexible and that alone can do it i guess but if you want to kind of like collaborate more extensively then try to use a web conf solution like gotomeeting. Or [URL=“”]321meet w/c is free should do it if you don’t really need that much tools and add-ons