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Billing and Delivery: Avoid Getting Screwed

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This post focuses a few quick tips for billing your clients and managing the delivery of the product of your service.

I’ve done some work for really professional clients and some work for very unprofessional clients. One things I’ve learned is that solid billing and delivery standards make a world of difference.

Here are some tips…

  • Have a standard invoice that you give to your clients at the end of the session (or at least at the end of the work period). You can make it up in Word, Open Office, or in a specialized invoice program such as GnuCash or a whole slew of freeware / shareware apps for OSX and Windows. Keep track of these for your reference and theirs. Make a solid impression by having some stationary with your logo or by having your logo printed alongside the invoice.
  • Don’t give your clients the full product until you’ve been 100% paid and all legal necessities are signed. Keep the masters, the multitracks, and the like under lock-and-key until that time. If they need reference mixes, do provide them, but don’t give the client anything master-quality until everything is squared away.
  • For larger projects, a simple plain-English contract describing the timeframe, service to be delivered, and cost of the service can be a really good idea.
  • Ask for a portion up front for larger projects. 30-50% is pretty common.
  • If someone can’t afford your services but seems worth working with (and you can afford the time) – try bartering! Write up an invoice for the appropriate amount of barter-dollars (the amount you would normally charge for the service), then accept something from them that’s worth those barter-dollars (like a painting or a piece of pottery or whatever). It’s a great way to start an art collection.

Well, that’s not much but it all helps! Carry on.

2 Responses to :
Billing and Delivery: Avoid Getting Screwed

  1. Des says:

    Great list Dan!

    With problem clients, I’ve also found it helpful to explicitly limit the number of mixes I’ll do. Either with a number (“I’ll give you 3 opportunities to request changes, so make sure you listen carefully”) or a deadline (“you’re out of my studio on Sunday at 6, and that’s that”.)

    There’s a fine line between keeping a client happy, and jumping like a trained dog at every request they make.

  2. Dan Connor says:

    Des – That’s a good idea too. I especially like the 3 mix changes guideline. You present it so tactfully… ‘so please listen carefully’. *laughs* Awesome.

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