Getting PAID: How to bill clients for your web design services

Getting paid for web design services

You: Well Mr. Client just gimme a couple grand right now and I “promise” I’ll make you a website!

Client: [silence]

You: Promise!

Client: [hangs up]

~ END OF CLIENT ~

Billing all upfront rarely works, the problem is that the client has no assurances you are not going to take the money and run.

See it all comes down to trust.

Do your clients trust you?

Do you trust your clients?

On some level they must trust you to do business with you, but asking for all the money upfront leaves them with no power to make sure you finish the website.

There are many ways to bill clients for web design services, but let’s talk about the two most popular ways to bill clients for web design services and find out which one works best for you.

Here’s the most common and most acceptable method is billing is…


Bill In Two Halfs

Half To Start / Half Upon Website Launch

That is the standard method of billing that we use and most other professionals use (in most service based-business category).

BIlling for web design services in halfs

The psychology of why this works: A business transaction is a gamble and nobody wants to get ripped off.

  • It works for your client: because the client wants to make sure you finish the project (trust)
  • It works for you: because you don’t want to work on something without being paid first (trust)

Having the client pay only half now and half when the website launches is a great way to make sure both parties feel safe.

While this is the method we use 95% of the time, sometimes larger projects could result in a different method.


Bill In Three Thirds

One Third To Start / One Third Half Way / One Third Upon Launch

We all have our ‘standard’ website that we build.  Approx number of pages, graphics,, forms, etc… but sometimes bigger projects come along.

Projects that might be double, triple or even 10X the size of your ‘normal’ website.

How do you bill for those?

BIlling for web design services in three thirds

Billing in thirds (and the last payment being 34% to make up the remaining 1%) helps ensure that larger projects move along without the client or you getting burned:

  • It works for your client: because it ensures that they see progress before giving you more money (trust)
  • It works for you: because there are more pay days for moving the project along (keeps you engaged)

ONE PROBLEM: The only problem with this method is that A LOT of clients are busy and making them stop their day to pay you one more time, might not be fun.  But if the client is responsive and pays quickly, this shouldn’t be a big deal.


The best way for you

Of course there are more than just the two ways we presented above (you could charge everything upfront, you could spread the payments out over 6 months, etc…) but what is the best way for YOU to charge?

That answer depends on a lot of things

  • The market you are in (you can charge a lot more for a website in New York City than you can in Montana)
  • Are you going for a few high end clients OR lots of smaller low end clients?
  • How much experience do you have? Is that your first website or your 2,387th?
  • How fast can you get it done?
  • and a lot more

But the best advice we can give is this: bill your clients whatever way will get you paid the quickest – not the MOST, but the QUICKEST.