ARTICLE: How 20 designers charge their clients #1

George Best bank note

To view this article and interviews, please visit –

I asked a few designers these questions:

  1. How do you charge clients?
  2. How do you accept payment?
  3. Why do you recommend working this way?

Here’s the first of three posts, offering an insight into how graphic designers manage their finances.

How do you normally charge clients?
On smaller-mid sized projects I require a 50% deposit and the balance prior to release of production-ready files. On larger (longer-term) projects with several stages of deliverables, I require the same 50% deposit prior to starting any work, but break up the fee schedule based on deliverables. A retainer is usually applied to the end of the project, too.

What methods of payment do you accept?
I accept wire (bank) transfer for overseas clients, paypal when a client prefers this or is in a rush, and most often for US based clients — a cheque by mail. I usually charge a small fee to cover the wire transfer and paypal payment methods.

Why would you recommend working this way?
This works for me. It spreads the risk yet gives the client (who may be a first time client in many cases) the option of not paying everything at once to an unknown designer/studio. It’s a pretty fair process. The only added advice is that even if a client has ‘proven’ themselves to be trustworthy by having paid your deposit and even subsequent payments, you must not continue to provide work into future phases of a project before getting payments as per the signed agreement / fee schedule. I have learned this the hard way. Trust me — it’s worth swallowing your pride and overcoming any fear of confrontation and not moving forward on a project until you get payment as per your mutual agreed-upon contract. Many unexpected things can come up – even personal emergencies or as we now know — catastrophic economic upheavals — that can upend even a trustworthy and fair client’s willingness or ability to pay you.

Visit Yael’s website here: The Dieline.


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