I’ve been following a thread on my Women Designers Group mailing list where one of the designers shared some language from their contract, and a number of others commented that it sounded apologetic. Like ‘if I do this for you I will have to bill you for it.’

One of the respondees was dead on – saying that hey – this isn’t a hobby! This is a full-time (or more than full-time) professional job. There’s no need to apologize to someone you’ve worked for when it’s time to be paid.

I’ve struggled lately with billing for hourly work. Do I charge up front? Do I invoice on the back end? I’ve found that I have a few clients that I always invoice that pay extremely promptly – no worries there. I have a few others that I’ve invoiced once that took weeks and weeks to pay; that won’t happen again. I hate having to ask for money that’s owed me and sound like I’m apologizing for troubling them again, and again…

I wrote a letter that I’m going to send to all current clients detailing the new payment method for hourly work – either:

  1. purchase a block of time, 2-8 hours, up front at a discount,
  2. purchase time in 30 minute chunks with a credit card on my website, or
  3. give me credit card information to keep on file and I will charge upon their approval of the work I’ve done for them (or within 5 business days if they don’t respond to my request for review).

This might not go over well with everyone and that’s okay. I don’ t like rushing to complete a short project for a client then waiting 3-4 weeks for a check, that’s just not cool. But I will continue to invoice my very good clients who have always respected my time and expediency.