I'm a designer & I'm a bit new at this. I left my fulltime job a few months ago and have been contracting. I've already been bit once by a non-paying client. How do I handle/avoid clients who won't pay?
Not a designer so this might not be applicable - This is how i approach code for hire:
For anything that's meaningful to you ask 50% upfront and 50% on defined deliverables.
You will still do minor changes if needed after the 100%
(If it's bigger changes -> add-on budget)
Btw minor trick: people tend to treat freelance workers shittier than agencies.
Just fake an agency - this is what i did in the beginning.
Storytime: I was in front of one the largest media publishers in Germany: "I can't confirm this deal here and now. I have to discuss this with my team and make sure we can fit this in our timeline. I will get back to you end of this week with changes or a signed offer" - translated this meant: "holy shit i have no idea if i can even do this… holy crap this is the largest contract i ever had… if i dont get someone to help me with this proj i am f***d… somebody PLEASE LET ME OUT OF THIS ROOM"… i gave a smile, a firm handshake and left.
I've been working with a friend, who sets up an agreement with every client that he'll invoice every 2 weeks. If they don't pay 2 weeks, you might be able to survive it, a month gets hard, a project is generally a killer.
For any work regardless of its scale and cost, try to setup a few milestones. Two, ensure that you communicate the value you bring to their goals and client understands it well. I am sure that once a client knows that you are a best-fit to do the job - why they may not be willing to pay.
It happened with me also, in 2012 but then I realized that may be I failed to win the confidence of the client. It never happened with me again, touchwood.
If you don't have skills (experience, passion) to negotiate such kind of problems, it'll be better for you to find a person, who will "protect" you from loses. This person can represent you and get some fee. But in "freelance world" this is top#1 situation.