02 Jan 2013

A Guide To Dealing With Graphic Design Payment Issues

When clients are late in making payments or simply choose not to pay at all, those who work in graphic design (and put all of their creativity into every project) often become jaded with the industry. If you are experiencing payment issues, use the following tips to help you ensure that you get paid without damaging your reputation:

  • Speak with the client about the issue; having a face-to-face meeting is preferable, but over the phone may have to do. Explain your point of view, then let the client explain theirs. More often than not, the issue is a result of miss communication.
  • Send a number of ‘payment due’ notices, often a week or so apart, so that there is a paper trail of your requests for payment. Finally, send a late notice and inform the client that if they do not pay within a certain time frame you will be sending the issue to credit bureau.
  • Keep hold of the graphic design work until the issue is resolved. Even if the client has samples or drafts of the finished product, if you still hold the original files you are still technically the owner of the work. Make sure that samples and drafts are watermarked.

The moment that a dispute arises over a graphic design payment, you should pull out the original contract that the client signed and look at the original price that was agreed upon (as well as additional costs due to changes), the payment structure and clauses that state what to do in the event of late or nonpayment. If you bring these to the attention of the client, they should be willing to pay.