Forecasting your budget and your receivables is crucial for any business, let alone a small one. And by small, I mean you. You and a ragtag team of merry men that may include a couple of developers and designers. After you ask your client, their budget, you then should ask what their time frame is. This helps in 2 ways. It let’s you figure out who you have available and how to schedule them, and of course, yourself. The other reason you are asking is to give you an idea of when money will come in. Put those reasons in whatever order you like. In a perfect world, you want to finish the job within 2-3 weeks. That happens about 10% of the time. It happens when your client has a very specific launch date that may include press releases, screenings, or launch parties. The rest of the time, 2-3 weeks turns into 4-6 and in some cases, 8+ weeks.
The reasons why, vary. But it’s typically the client that holds things up. If they are in no big rush, if their livelihood isn’t directly impacted by a web presence, if they’re just doing it as a hobby, you can expect delays.
Unfortunately what happens is, you’re 90% done on your end, and the client owes you 50% of the final payment. There’s really not much you can do. You can hound the client, but that’s just poor relations. You can drop them an email every few days, then every other week…if it happens to go on that long.
So depending on the project itself, not the cost, but the actual project requirements, you can break your payment structure in 3, rather than your usual 2 (50% up, 50% completion). So this way, you’ll at least only be stuck waiting for say, 25% of final payment. The downside, you’ll get a smaller payment up front. If you’ve been doing this a while, you can pretty much gage those who needs to adhere to a specific deadline, and those who don’t. So what’s it going to be boy…