Wouldn’t that be nice?
To have a constant stream of money flowing into your business…
If you’ve run a web business or been freelancing for a while, you know that cash-flow is as important as your revenue when it comes to running a healthy business.
Billing monthly helps immensely with creating a healthy cash-flow.
It also lets you create an actual forecast of what future earnings would actually be. You will know in March, what August and September will look like.
But how do you make the move to monthly billing?
In this article, I´ll give you one advice on just that.
But, first let’s go through a not so know benefit of moving to monthly billing:
1. Charging monthly will give you more flexibility in your projects
When you choose to change to monthly billing you will notice that you will be able to approach projects in a different way.
It allows for more flexibility.
When your billing is based on deliverables and milestones those deliverables are put on a fee schedule based on those milestones.
If you want to get paid for a milestone that is due “upon delivery of clickable HTML prototype”, you have to give them exactly that.
Because if you don´t, you will not get paid… Simple as that.
The problem is that clickable HTML prototypes may or may not be a good deliverable for this project. Maybe designs in Sketch is good enough?
But if you set the entire approach for the project from the start you have to stick to it and you will only base deliverables on the info you got when you sold them the project.
The reality always looks different, though.
I’d say that in 100% of all projects, you will have so much more information about your client and their needs after you´ve gone through a discovery phase.
At that point, you know if you should know if you should produce paper sketches or hi-res HTML wireframes.
Billing your client on a monthly basis gives both you and your client the possibility to operate more freely and more naturally.
In short, monthly billing helps you take informed decisions.
The best thing?
By billing monthly, you will be able to leverage all your experience, not only a predefined set of skills that you´ve sold in the first meeting or on your web page.
2. Getting approvals on design will be less dramatic.
A great side-effect of moving away from payment based on milestones or deliverables (and approvals…), is that your design reviews will be less stressful.
It’s logical really.
When invoices are based on the client giving you approvals, every decision feels like it´s set in stone.
From the client’s point-of-view, it’s as if when invoices are being paid, there was no turning back for them.
The natural result is that the client will hesitate to give approvals.
They get more nervous about moving ahead because they feel that everything has to be right.
If you manage to separate invoicing from deliverables and milestones, you will (hopefully) see that the client will be less hesitant in granting their approval.
It loosens everything up and lets you approve on specific deliverables instead of large phases of work.
3. Be aware of these potential pitfalls
It’s not like working with monthly payments is without its risks, though.
You really need to make sure you estimate your project well and that you stick to the duration you defined. Otherwise, you will quickly be working for free.
You can also be overestimating, in that case, you will charge your client for work that has already been done. That is not a good situation either.
It’s about getting things right.
But if you have some years experience and your projects look similar from client to client you should be able to estimate these projects well enough.
How to get started with monthly billing
You know what.
It’s not that complicated. You just start. In your next project ask for ⅓ upfront and for the rest of the project to be paid in monthly instalments.
You have to start someday. Why not with the next project?