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  1. #1

    * Client hasn't payed final amount - web design

    I made a website for a client we arranged payment half upfront and half after the site is complete. First payment was fine. But it’s been one week since I finished the website and I still have no payment. The client says he will pay when he has the funds in PayPal from his other business. It's been one week though and it’s kind of taking the piss. Stupid me there was no contract and I should have took the full payment upfront but it’s done now.

    Should I just be patient and wait or just get in an argument and then definitely not get my money. Any ideas?

    Btw I know I’ve been stupid and I've leant the hard way.

  2. #2
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    Definitely don't pick a fight with the person; be non-confrontational and ask when they think the funds will be available. Sure, there's a chance that the person is trying to rip you off, but there's also a chance that they're telling the truth and will pay you as soon as possible.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply that’s exactly what I'm thinking. I have asked him and he keeps saying tomorrow although I think he is actually telling the truth.
    I'll soon know.

  4. #4
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    Yeh its best to keep your cool in this situation after a couple of weeks then maybe you should contact who ever he is hosting the design on and basically say he has not paid full amount therefore he does not own the design?

  5. #5
    Thats a good idea but how do I prove I own the design?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_webb View Post
    Thats a good idea but how do I prove I own the design?
    Create a Portfolio page and post it there.
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  7. #7
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    It is an unfortunate situation that happens all to often with web design and development companies. I understand your position in agreeing to a payment policy. I've been in the same situation with you and I hope my personal experience and help shine light on your situation and maybe give you a peace of mind.

    First, don't panic! Do not threat the customer, be rude, swear or anything else unprofessional.

    Second, e-mail them daily or every other day. The e-mail can be simple and sweet. Simply say, "Hi, how are you? I'm e-mailing you in regards to the web design and development project in which I was hired by you and your company to complete. I have successfully received 50% of the initial payment as agreed upon to start this project. I'm waiting for the other 50% of the payment to be made." Something nice and professional like that. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself because you just never know.

    Also, this stuff happens to all businesses so keep your head held high and keep doing what your doing. Everything happens in this world for a reason and maybe you can sell the design on WHT and make twice as much.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_webb View Post
    I made a website for a client we arranged payment half upfront and half after the site is complete. First payment was fine. But it’s been one week since I finished the website and I still have no payment.
    We, too, use that arrangement with clients. BUT we put the site up on a subdirectory on our own server, with the usual safeguards against them copying the pages (which are far from foolproof but a bit of a deterrant) and upon their approval, we don't hand them over until we get payment. We do host many of the sites we design, so that does give us a lot more control, and there really is no totally foolproof way to prevent them copying any site they can actually see on the web, but keeping the files on your own locked down server until payment is a help.

    For clients you really think are deadbeats, you could even show them full-size screenshots of each page---that won't stop them from copying the screenshots, but they'd have to give them to another designer to code and that should deter many. But most clients are pleased with your work enough to "play fair."

    The gist is to never just hand them the files and then expect payment.
    Last edited by neme; 10-15-2009 at 08:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by neme View Post
    we don't hand them over until we get payment.
    That's probably the best advice to follow in the future! It avoids the need to be a collection agent / creditor at the same time :p
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  10. #10
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    If your guts says that he's telling the truth, than give them a bit more time.

    I usually get the 50% upfront, complete the job on my server, have them see and test everything, and upload it to their server after the rest of the payment.
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  11. #11
    Another suggestion would be to make it one giant php script. Of course they could still just grab the generated html code, however links would have to be re-thought.

    It most likely would be just easier to pay the other 50% than to try to figure out the links.

    I suppose another way, as long as its not paid, have some background image stating the site hasn't been paid for.

  12. #12
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    Sorry to hear your problem, What you can do is what someone mention above, Is contact his provider and ask them if they can remove it because he has ripe you off.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectedHosting View Post
    Sorry to hear your problem, What you can do is what someone mention above, Is contact his provider and ask them if they can remove it because he has ripe you off.
    I don't think most web hosting companies would get involved, because as far as their concerned, its your word against theirs. This would be especially true, if he happens to have a good payment history with them.

  14. #14
    Try to give them one more week and let see. Im a web designer also and i do the same 50% upfront and another 50% upon completion of the project. For the remaining 50% we will send the final design if we received the remaining 50%. We are using our server during the development and we will just transfer it to their server once we received the payment.

  15. #15
    Erm... probably you should wait a few days more? If really can't then only try to nego with him again.

    I like BurakUeda idea..Tk 50% then put d website in test server. get the money only upload for them. This is a way to protect your income
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  16. #16
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    Sorry to hear your in this position, it really is not pleasant! I agree with what others say, keep pressing, but be professional.

    Are you dealing with an individual or a registered company? If you don't get anywhere after a couple of weeks you could try contacting them and letting them know the debt has been passed on to a collections agency, it's not a nice tactic and is very last resort, but sometimes just mentioning this is enough to get them to release the funds.

    It can of course backfire and they will never speak with you again and change all their details, but i think if it gets to that stage chances are you would never of got your money anyway.

    We operate a similar policy to everybody above, 30% payment after agreement of requirements, and then 70% after the client has confirmed they are happy. Then we upload the site from the dev server to a live server (we normally host all of our clients).

    My advice is never release the files until you have full payment, if the client is the type of chap to rip your development code and run, then i really doubt they would have had any intention of paying in the first place, so just cut your losses.

    Hope it all gets sorted for you

    C.

  17. #17
    Thank you very much for all your comments it’s been a great help. I like the idea that neme,BurakUeda and others thought of which is to only hand over the files once I get full payment, unfortunately for this project it wasn't possible as I needed to integrate it with something on their server but Ill definitely do this in the future. Also thank you The-Pixel that is what I've been doing but I guess I'll try and write it more professionally. Thanks again to everyone giving me advice.

  18. #18
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    Back luck mate,

    This happens in all business thought, but if you are dealing with some one online who you have never met, there is not a lot you can do, unlike a local client who you could go after in other ways to get your money.

    Good luck

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewKeath View Post
    Back luck mate,

    This happens in all business thought, but if you are dealing with some one online who you have never met, there is not a lot you can do, unlike a local client who you could go after in other ways to get your money.

    Good luck
    Well I think I do have the clients address.

  20. #20
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    I know that where I am from there is a small claims tribunal that you can use to go after people who owe you money. But this is really only worth it if it is a decent amount of money.

    If not, it may be easier to cut your losses.

    When I was doing design for people on forums, it happened to me a few times. I now do local design and am looking to start a web host, that is why I have joined this forum.

  21. #21
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    What I do is watermark the images and backgrounds used on the website with the word 'trial' until the client has paid the full amount, then I replace those images with 'unmarked' ones. This also makes it a lot harder to steal the images used.

  22. #22
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    Live and learn....

    next time make sure you get paid before transferring over the code. host it on your servers so the client can see the final product. After they pay then transfer it over to their servers. Write in contract.

    In your position there's not much you can do... just wait, be polite and professional.

    If it's large money then maybe consider taking legal action after a suitable period of time (30-60 days)... all depends what you have written in your contract. Legal should be avoided at all costs and only used as a last resort.

  23. #23
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    1) Increase all your quotes by £29.88.

    2) When negotiating contracts, offer free hosting if they sign with you today (or offer a £29.88 discount for those that have their own hosting).

    3) When the design is completed, host the design on your own server and once they've had a look at the site you can then take it offline until you're paid. Yes, there's every chance they could download all the files but they'll still need to do that for every page.

    If payment isn't forthcoming try the Small Claims Court for amounts less than £5,000 in England and Wales, under £2,000 in Northern Ireland and under £3,000 in Scotland.

    I'm told it's trivial to file a small claims but I've never done it. The last few points are only any use if your client is in the UK though.

    Good luck!

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  24. #24
    Thanks for all the advice again. I've got a feeling the client might pay. But I am definitely going to do the things been said on here in the future.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_webb View Post
    I made a website for a client we arranged payment half upfront and half after the site is complete. First payment was fine. But it’s been one week since I finished the website and I still have no payment. The client says he will pay when he has the funds in PayPal from his other business. It's been one week though and it’s kind of taking the piss. Stupid me there was no contract and I should have took the full payment upfront but it’s done now.

    Should I just be patient and wait or just get in an argument and then definitely not get my money. Any ideas?

    Btw I know I’ve been stupid and I've leant the hard way.
    Do they already have the design? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. You have half of the design costs and you still have the design, so they're out money and you can easily resell the design if they don't pay up. That's how I see it. If you did give him the design already, then that's you're fault. People make mistakes and you should just be patient and if he never pays up, move on.
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  26. #26
    These are what I usually do:
    1. Don't give the files until the final payment made, even when the client is a loyal client, you should always follow your own rule. They will understand, it won't be a big problem.
    2. If you already give all the files, or upload to the client's hosting, you can make put security tool within the pages. There are many things can be done if you know PHP such removing the css file if the payment has not been made until due date, etc. Put this little script somewhere within the pages, when final payment made, you can tell him/her how to remove the script.
    3. Try to sell hosting too, so you sell design + hosting, you don't have to worry about not being paid, because the files still can be accessed by you.

    Hope this helps
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiveon View Post
    If you did give him the design already, then that's you're fault. People make mistakes and you should just be patient and if he never pays up, move on.
    It's very hard not to hand over the design when the buyer reviews it over the Internet. It's easy to save the page and there goes your control.

    If it's a php based site, you've a lot more control but that usually only applies if the site has some reasonable amount of functionality otherwise your design is still gone for the same reasons as above.

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by l0ck_up View Post
    These are what I usually do:
    1. Don't give the files until the final payment made, even when the client is a loyal client, you should always follow your own rule. They will understand, it won't be a big problem.
    2. If you already give all the files, or upload to the client's hosting, you can make put security tool within the pages. There are many things can be done if you know PHP such removing the css file if the payment has not been made until due date, etc. Put this little script somewhere within the pages, when final payment made, you can tell him/her how to remove the script.
    3. Try to sell hosting too, so you sell design + hosting, you don't have to worry about not being paid, because the files still can be accessed by you.

    Hope this helps
    Good tips but I'm not sure how you can really protect your design even if you do use php and control the css somehow.

    Once the website appears on your browser, you have full access to everything the designer will eventually give you.

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  29. #29
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    I agreed with David - Once its in a browser, a competant designer/coder would be able to pull it apart piece by piece.

    This was a reason we moved away from simply doing static web designs, by including advanced functionality, perhaps a CMS system for example, makes it very difficult for anybody to rip you off completely - as it's impossible for them to get access to your code/system.

  30. #30
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    You can always demo the site on your own website as well before transferring the files. It's kind of like a test drive when selling a car.
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  31. #31
    @gilbert: Agree, that's what I always do, I have my own preview site too.

    As about integrating PHP, you can do advance programming so when you remove part or all of the script, the client will break the pages. However if the client knows about PHP, there's always a chance that he/she can by pass the trick, but at least it's not as easy as pure html pages.
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  32. #32
    I like this idea of php, Im going to look up how to do it.

    Just an update: The client says they will pay today so lets see shall we or will there be another excuse.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilbert View Post
    You can always demo the site on your own website as well before transferring the files. It's kind of like a test drive when selling a car.
    This still doesn't protect the files.

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by l0ck_up View Post
    @gilbert: Agree, that's what I always do, I have my own preview site too.

    As about integrating PHP, you can do advance programming so when you remove part or all of the script, the client will break the pages. However if the client knows about PHP, there's always a chance that he/she can by pass the trick, but at least it's not as easy as pure html pages.
    How does this protect the HTML files or anything on the browser in any way?

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_webb View Post
    I like this idea of php, Im going to look up how to do it.

    Just an update: The client says they will pay today so lets see shall we or will there be another excuse.
    Great result on the payment. Hope he comes through for you.

    Before you waste hours of time - I can't see how php will protect your design or your files.

    Perhaps one of the other posters who advocate the method could explain a bit so you don't go off on a wild-goose chase.

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  36. #36
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    I guess if you are modifying existing designs you could include some php that would check the existance of a file or something remotely, and if it did not exist (you delete it because they don't pay up etc) then the functionality will cease to work.

    Kinda like a primitive version of licensing really!

    It's really a lot of of effort and again, if the client has any knowledge of coding they can easily remove your check to make it work. (Unless you encode it, but that is really taking it quite far!)

    This won't stop anybody from downloading images, html code and CSS files!

  37. #37
    Maybe Ill forget the php idea then. But Ill definelty keep the files on my server from now on until final payment.

  38. #38
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    Let us know how you get on

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  39. #39

    The client payed!!!

    Guess what? The client paid!!! He was telling the truth all along. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice I will definitely do what you suggested in the future because there’s no way I want to go through this again.

  40. #40
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    Great news

    Nothing worse than fighting to be paid. So what's the protocol? Do we all get beers or are you bringing pizza?
    Last edited by davidman; 10-22-2009 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Typo

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