Paddy McGrath, a logo designer with 13 years’ experience, helps companies, brands and individuals tell their story and capture the attention of their audience, through inspiring logo designs.
I agreed to take on a new client with a miniscule budget, and completed a string of ‘urgent’ jobs in quick succession. Once the project was completed and my invoice had been submitted, the work dried up immediately…
Having been approached by the client on Twitter in the early months of self-employment, I was coerced into working below my usual rate, on the basis that it would be good for my portfolio.
I completed the work to a high standard, with many words of encouragement by the client, who promptly sent over briefs for several more ‘urgent’ tasks before I could invoice. On receiving the invoice, the client stopped sending over work, and only settled the payment several months later.
When it eventually came through, I gave the client the benefit of the doubt – surely they were just a little unorganised? - and agreed to take on more work, to find that the same issue arose shortly after.
I soon realised that the client had no intention of paying for my designs, so I refused to complete any further work until my outstanding invoices were paid. This had no impact on the client, who simply stopped using my services.
The client failed to respond to my messages; eventually I realised it wasn’t worth the time and hassle pursuing payment. Months later, I’m considering these invoices as bad debts that will never be paid!
It was a hard pill to swallow so early on in my freelance career, but the incident taught me the importance of protecting yourself financially when dealing with new clients, no matter how eager you are to please when bidding for work.
Nowadays, I always request a deposit upfront from new clients; if they aren’t willing to meet halfway, neither am I. By asking for a deposit, you can be sure that your client takes the job seriously, and that they respect and value your time.