I built a website and haven’t been paid

Websites. Every single business worth their salt should have one. They are a virtual shopfront and a portal for your customers to learn about you and your business, and most importantly, why they should give you their hard-earned. Have a great looking one which functions smoothly and efficiently, and it is a fantastic endorsement for your business- a silent salesperson if you like. A poor one however can have the opposite effect and it may reflect badly on your image and brand. For these reasons, we believe web developers are a very under-appreciated breed, who can and often do find themselves at the mercy of the client who isn’t happy with the final product. Most web designers take great pride in their work, and for the client to withhold payment at the end purely because they don’t like the final product can be a real kick in the teeth. The good news however is there are things all web developers can do to get themselves paid, so here are our top 5 ways:


  1. Set and agree on expectations up front. Before a key is even pressed, it is vital you explain to the customer how vital their role in the build is- without them giving you content in a timely manner, you simply cannot do your job. Say something like this “Now before we begin, please understand that me creating this website for you to your satisfaction is dependent on you providing the content within timeframes that we can agree on now”. Of all the hundreds of debts we have collected for web designers, this is by far the most common issue we see, and it can be so easily overcome. Likewise, explain what they can expect from you and ensure you hold yourself accountable to meeting deadlines and promises you make. If you don’t think you can finish the site by a certain deadline, it is probably best not to commit to the project. Finally, ask the client to please let you do your job- if you are confident you will deliver them an awesome product, then tell them so and ensure they understand they can trust you. Micro-managing clients are the worst, so explain that you work best when left to it.


  1. Get a 50% deposit up front. Whilst it is pleasing to see this is now almost industry-standard, new developers may be so excited about new work they will forget to ask and the need to be diligent and pro-active goes out the window.


  1. Have any changes approved by the client in writing. If it is going to cost more than you originally quoted, make sure you get them to approve it first. This is so vital and will prevent any nasty surprises at the end.


  1. Once the website is finished and final payment is due, tell them how excited you are for them and be glowing in your own appraisal of your work. There is a major difference between arrogance and confidence, and if you love the site you have built for them, then tell them so! This positive reinforcement is so powerful when it comes to getting that final payment, so be proud of your handiwork.


  1. Do not give them the code until you have been paid in full. This is the best leverage you have, and whilst you have their website, they have no revenue from it. Try to avoid a stalemate however, where they say they don’t want the site anymore, and you hold it to ransom. Bring them back to the reason they asked you to build the site in the first place, and sell the benefits to their business of having it online.
I built a website and haven’t been paid

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