So what do you do, when your client does not want to pay

If you have been in business long enough, then the day will come when a Client will not pay for a contracted services.  Make sure you are putting everything in a contract or proposal agreement.  Having face some bad situations dealing with payment or lack of payment, most of the time it boils down to a couple of factors.  Lack of understanding about your services, which should be explained on the front, middle and conclusion of your work.  Or lack of funds from your client, have something in place to protect your interest.

Something that you should do to protect your interest and stay in business.

Host demo / no staging

Hosting the demo site on your server or hosting plan.  Putting the demo on your client’s staging platform is not a good ideal. If something should go array, then the client can just change the passwords or delete you from the staging platform and push your work live.

Most hosting platforms offer to migrate demo site to another domain for free or minimal cost.  This is a good investment.  It keeps the investment honest for both parties.  Remind your client, put it in the contract, that the re-design is your (not theirs) until full payment is executed.

Watermark images

Watermarking images.  If you are doing any graphic design work, then make sure the client realizes all partial work is your property.  While some client might not like the watermark images, most will understand the early work is not theirs.  They are paying for a final product.

Kill Site

This should be the last step.  Killing a site is, another way of saying, taking it off line.  Putting up a landing page.  Remember you will get a reaction from your client.  Most of the time, it is not going to be a friendly one.  The client is going to be very critical of your design process and deliverable.  Take notes, maybe something is not explained fully.

Unless you can have a mature conversation, you are eliminating any future relationships.  This should be one of the last options.

Do not launch

Never, never, never launch a site without financial section being satisfied.  Sometimes that can be like a dog chasing his tail, the payment might not ever come.  And if the client has full control of his domain and hosting, then you are just another email or phone message.

Make sure it is point out in the contract, discussions and correspondences…that the site will launch when certain items are collected and certain functions are completed.  It is okay to delay a project for funds.  Most experience free lance designers have delayed launching for payment reason.  Send out reason for delays via email, and phone call…while leaning on your contract.

Contact client via phone

When faced with a late or no payment, then I just all the client.  If I have to leave more than two messages, then something will occur with their site.  User levels are modified, or something feature is turned off.  Maybe the ability to take schedule appointment, receive form inquires, etc.  All of these actions are placed in my contract.

It is strongly recommended that you have a legal expertise review your contract and advise you of what is allowed or not allowed in your area.  I am not a legal authority or lawyer.

Image courtesy of Parker Byrd.


JDS WebDesign is a Web Design and Brand Marketing Agency located in Marietta, Georgia.  We create AWESOME on line presence for Start-ups and Influential People/Organizations.  To learn more about us or how we can help you and your organization, you can contact us.