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Ask HN: Accepting clients payments
2 points by emzo 1755 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
As someone making the transition to self-employment, billing clients is something I have very little experience with, and is starting to worry me! Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but I'd like to hear how other web developers/designers bill their clients. I'll be charging a one-off fee for initial design and development, and a recurring monthly fee for hosting/maintenance. Bearing in mind that I'm located in the UK, clients will mostly be small businesses, but may be located abroad. How do you collect payments from your clients for similar work, and what issues should I be aware of? I feel somewhat embarrassed asking such a fundamental question on HN, but if I take away even a single small piece of useful advice, I figured it's worth asking. Thanks for your help!

The number one rule: Have a contract.

You can find a fairly good example of a contract here: http://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/content/dl/2010/05/11/contract...

This is how I work, it's working well though I am still fairly new at this as well.

After talking with the client I'll put together a proposal which details the full scope of the project and the estimated cost. When the client agrees with the proposal I'll send a contract which details my payment schedule which is generally in 3 stages:

1) 10% of my estimate is due on contract signing 2) 40% of my estimate is due before work can begin on the project 3) The remaining 50% is due on completion.

Once the contract is signed I send over an invoice for the 10% deposit payment.

The 50% up-front payment weeds out any clients that were never going to pay, and I don't hand over any assets until the final fee has been paid.

What happens between step 1 and 2? You already detailed the requirements and the target milestone in your proposal. What happens after the contract is signed but before the work can begin?

It's unusual that I can begin a project right away, the 10% deposit is just to secure the project in to my schedule.

I decide on a starting date with the client and detail it in the proposal, when work is due to begin I'll request the second payment. Though if it's a short amount of time the client will usually just pay the full 50%.

BACS, cash, or Paypal. I prefer BACS or cash as no fee's. Speak to your bank they will guide you through your options. I am with Natwest in the UK and they have a small business helpline/guide that will happily discuss things like this.

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