Why You’re Not Getting Paid On Time (And How To Make Sure You Do)


Web designers who run profitable web agencies do one thing better than others:

They make sure they get paid on time. In each and every project.

So what’s the secret?

They are capable of putting themselves inside the heads of their clients and they have understood that their clients are business owners. Just like them.

They’ve also learned from their mistakes and have systems in place that makes sure they communicate as clear as possible. All to make sure they get paid on time.

If you’re constantly getting paid late, there are some things you can do today to better the situations.

Let’s jump right in:

3 reasons why you’re not getting paid (and 3 solutions)

1. They don’t have the money…at least not right now

Most  problems with getting paid simply boils down to the client not having money in the bank. Right now. But they know they will :-)

This happens, more often than not, when you are subcontracted.

The solution?

You need to internalize that if you have finished your part of a project, you should get paid when you’re done.

In short, you must protect yourself. Protect yourself from having to wait for another person to finish their job.

The most efficient way of protection is working with a contract. Here’s an article about that.


2. The project ended up costing more

Estimating web projects correctly can be extremely tricky.

I guess you already knew that :-)

But you know what’s even trickier?

Getting clients to pay more than was agreed upon. Now that’s tricky.

Here’s what you need to do in order to get paid for extra work:

You NEED to tell your clients that the price will change if:

  • They ask for more features than agreed upon
  • They ask for more design revisions than agreed upon

If this happens, just tell your client that, of course, you could do it, but it will require more hours. Hours that you will bill.

Hours that you will bill.

If they agree, have them agree in written form (an email is enough). Never rely on verbal agreements.

It’s also your responsibility to raise a flag as soon as you notice that something will take longer than originally estimated.

This is hard but, in the long run, completely necessary.


Because if you don’t you will, in the long run, have an unprofitable business. And you will have to close shop.

In short, be proactive and alert your client on changes and talk with them about possible solutions to charging more.


3 They don’t think you did the job well enough

This situation is probably the most complicated one.

But it’s also a situation we all have experienced.

Paying for a meal we think was bad. Not being happy with a haircut.

Here’s the problem:

Web designs are a little bit more complicated than getting a new haircut.

Web design is subjective.

And unlike fixing a flat tire (which is either fixed or not), web design is notoriously hard to measure.

But here’s the kicker:

If your clients are not happy with the design you are most probably the one to blame.

Not necessarily because you’re a bad designer (of course not!)

But because you failed to prepare you client on the complexities of a web design project.

Most probably you failed to:

  • Explain that you have a methodology (if you don’t, here’s an article on how to create one)
  • Explain that web design is more about connecting the design with business goals rather than making things look good.

In the end, the reason why you’re getting paid is probably mostly because you haven’t communicated well enough how you work, what effective web design is and maybe most importantly, you don’t work with a contract.


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