How do I encourage a client to help finish a web design project?
November 16, 2004 5:42 AM   Subscribe

collecting for web design....

I've got a client that is sitting around after they've approved the design. I can't seem to make them get off their asses so I can finish this and more importantly collect the final payment. Any and all advice is welcome.
posted by damnitkage to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Not much advice for this time. The advice for next time is this will always happen unless you have a contract that encourages movement. Like they have to pay half of the total bill within 3 months and all within 6 months whether things are completed or not. Obviously this assumes you'll meet your deadlines and they won't. Adjust the numbers as necessary.
posted by yerfatma at 6:31 AM on November 16, 2004

1) The most important thing to do at this point, I've found, is to target the person on the client side whose job/bonus/reputation most clearly hinges on completion of the project, and try to work through them and their own self-interest to close things out. Unless the project is a true orphan, someone's got something riding on this on the client side.

2) It's also a good time to try and leverage your professionalism as a consultant. The more you've conducted yourself effectively and briskly, the more you've got a convincing argument to say, "As your consultant, it's not just my job to deliver a great design--it's my responsibility to help you make sure it gets put into practice. Let's talk about what I can do to help out." Maybe it's creating a little presentation to convince a higher-up, maybe it's helping your main client strategize politically, who knows, but ideally, you've got the relationship capital to be a bit aggressive in driving things from behind the scenes.

3) If you've got a really good relationship with someone there, you can even be frank with them about your desire to close out the payment. Anyone smart who deals with consultants will understand that it's just part of the business to try and get your payment, and I've often found clients to be very understanding, and willing to go the extra mile (or OK, at least the extra few feet) to help me close out a payment milestone.

4) Finally, you can try and wrap all those things up in an effort to disentangle your final payment from their ability to make a decision. Basically, if you've got a good footing there, you can say "Look, my fundamental responsiblity is to deliver you a design you _could_ act on. I can't control your ability to act on it or not, and it's unfair to make my compensation depend on your inaction." It's a perfectly reasonable argument, but it really depends on who's listening for it to work.
posted by LairBob at 7:14 AM on November 16, 2004

I'd just go ahead and mail them an invoice with a note along the lines of "I'm looking forward to finishing the web site whenever you are ready to move forward. In the meantime, this invoice represents all of the work done to date." None of my clients have ever questioned that. But then, perhaps I'm a little less fancy than your average bear.
posted by spilon at 7:18 AM on November 16, 2004

spilon's got a good point--whether or not they're willing to consider the project _finished_, if it's clearly hung up on your end, you're perfectly within your rights to invoice them on the work you've done so far...even if, or especially if, it's like 95% of the project.
posted by LairBob at 7:21 AM on November 16, 2004

Whoops..."if it's clearly hung up on their end..."
posted by LairBob at 7:30 AM on November 16, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all. I sincerely appreciate the advice.
posted by damnitkage at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2004

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