Getting your business ‘ducks in a row’
John Watters October 2013
Wow, a potential client has contacted you and! would like you to do work for themâ€Ś
You go see them and they give you a! brief and ask for the work on a specific day.
You read the brief and spend a week coming! up with a whole raft of ideas and you go back! to the client.
The client makes changes and sends you off! to work on the changes.
You respond with the changes! they made and as the new marketing manager! has to have an input, you are asked to! make a few more changes…needed on! Monday morning. It is 5.30pm Friday.
You work the weekend and deliver! by 8.30am Monday. You hear nothing until the! following Friday. Just a couple more â€˜tweeksâ€™
You get the go ahead to complete the job! to print ready files, and you agree and! it takes more time and you supply them! as requested.
You work out the costs and put your invoice ! together and send it to the client
Then, you sit back for a month or twoâ€Ś
You hear nothing so you ring the client.! They tell you the price you charged ! is way out of proportion! and they will not pay.
You accept a payment offered! of one tenth of the invoice total.! You wait another 90 days and they send a! cheque, made out to the wrong amount.
You send it back, call and tell them.! They apologise and you wait another 90! days to the next â€˜cheque runâ€™
In 90 days you get a cheque, Bank it! and it takes a week to clear.! !
WHOOPEE you got paid!
Get the ducks in placeâ€Ś
You get an enquiry from a potential client:! Try to go see them and discuss the brief and the requirements! and deadlines.! THEN! Carefully ESTIMATE the time you think that it will take! and write that down.! Add an extra day to cover a finite number of client changes.! eg.3 sets.Note that any additional changes over and above these will! be charged at ÂŁX per hour.
NOTE: A Quotation is legally binding, so ALWAYS give an ESTIMATE as this is NOT!
Write (type) an ESTIMATE that includes! all of the requirements of the brief and itemise each! section. Make sure you remember an amount for! materials etc.! !
Send the client the estimate together with the terms that you trade! underâ€Ś! ie.When you will deliver.! What you will deliver.! The ESTIMATE of costs as you see them.! Your payment terms.! !
Ask that they email you with agreement and an ORDER! for the work with a reference number.!
DO NOT START ANY WORK UNTIL YOU! RECEIVE THAT ORDER!
Once you have the order, they have agreed to proceed and! understand the cost implication and YOUR! terms of payment.
Now enjoy the project.! BUT, if the client makes more than the agreed changes in! your ESTIMATE, contact them in email and let! them know that any further changes will incur! additional costs? They usually become very happy! with the work to date.!
Now you have an ORDER number! you can compose your Invoice! and make sure it is itemised as they will come back and ask you! to ‘Break it down’! !
Send it to: ‘The accounts department’! and send an email copy to your client marked FYI.! They can see you have sent the original to the Accounts.! !
THEY ARE WHO PAY! (unless a one man band or very small business)
This is the correct and safest way! to conduct your practiceâ€Śthe easiest if you wish to get paid.! !
The reality is, if they do not pay you:! 1.You can withhold and reserve your ownership of use of the ! work you supplied.! 2.You have an official ORDER from them and an agreement communication! requesting the work at an agreed price.! 3. You can then if necessary take them to a small claims court! and they will enforce payment (unless you have not supplied! the agreed work).! 4. It illustrates to clients that you are a business and! handle business as a professional.
Please remember that! you not only enjoy what you do, but! you also need to be a professional! and make money doing so.! Start the correct way NOW and! make your dealings easier. Yes, I did notice that the Invoice total was wring? John Watters October 2013