When in business the ultimate aim is to make money right? You expect to be paid for your labour, product or service.

So what can you do to ensure you are always paid and also on time?

Whilst being paid upfront is the most sensible idea it is not always the most practical and it depends entirely on what is the product or service being sold. You would never pay a builder up front to build an extension, a web designer to build your website or a stationary company before delivery when picking from their catologue. It can also put customers off paying for something they have yet to receive and when dealing with bigger businesses depending on your negotiation skills it can be more difficult.

How could you charge for amendments and variations if you was to take payment up front? Cover this in your terms.

Also when considering customers on a retainer, whilst the payment is due at the beginning of the month often businesses allow it to be late whilst still delivering the service. It’s up to you to manage this process.

Of course if you are selling a product like a workshop, take the payment upfront. No payment, no seat. However if your client becomes a bigger business and that business wants 20 seats with you conducting the workshop at their premises, not only do you want to secure that booking you want to ensure it all goes ahead and there is a contract in place so they cannot just cancel the day before and even if you are cancelled you are still paid!

Deposits are a great way to minimise the risk and for example a cake baker selling via facebook the likelihood is a deposit is taken (to cover the cost of the ingredients) and remainder upon collection. If the cake hasn’t been collected then the cake maker has minimised their risk and not out of pocket. The buyer of the cake is also protected more in this instance. At BEB we take a deposit, as mentioned before a web designer usually takes a deposit and even a DJ or a photographer would take a deposit to secure the date of a wedding for example.

Whether it is your best mate that you always do business with or someone you have never done business with ALWAYS have a written contract in place..


  • Payment schedule: Do you take staged payments? Clearly identify this
  • Payment Terms: Do you expect payment immediately on invoice, 7 days, 30 days or even 60 days?
  • Preferred Payment Method: Cash, paypal? Do you take cheque? How do you wish to be paid?
  • Scope: Include everything you are doing for that payment
  • Late Payment Policy: What will you do if they don’t pay, terminate the contract? charge interest? Seize services?

By laying this all out before the contract has been made, minimises the chance of customers not understanding your payment terms, you are well respected and won’t be the last to be paid.

Kerry@bebconsultancy.co.uk 07375 040011 / 01604 217365