The inspiration for this post comes from the article by Jesse Petersen on How to reel in a client without landing a stinker. If you have not gone through it, I highly recommend that you do. And do come back to read the rest of this if you care to know how much to charge for getting booked.
While watching the presentation, I was thinking of a better way to find the right client. And before I go further, let me say: YMMV (your mileage may vary). Depending on the type of developer you are and the clients you prefer, you may like a client that I won’t recommend and vice versa.
My endeavor is to find a client who is easy to work with. And the one who is also willing to pay the right price for the job.
What’s The Purpose Of Requesting The Booking Amount?
Why do we request the initial amount at all? Why can’t we just go ahead and do the job and get paid later? The answer lies in this devil of a detail. We want to ensure that we get paid. We take the amount in advance so that if the customer has an iota of a doubt or gets imaginative in the middle of the work, he knows he’s invested a certain amount that will go down the drain. In essence he knows the cost of trying some crazy idea in the middle of the project. If I had to describe it in a word, I’d use “commitment“.
How Much Is Too Less?
Would you find someone committed for the project for $10? You may not, unless you are dealing with sub-$50 jobs. How about a $1000? $10 is way too less for a reasonable commitment. Well the answer lies in a ratio or percentage of the quoted amount. And there’s no hard figure.
How Much Is Too Much?
Sometimes asking for a certain amount can get too unrealistic. For a $1000 job, no client would like to lock down $750. It may even feel like a scam if you ask for such an amount. So back to the basic: this is all about the commitment. A figure that is mutually agreeable; where the stakes aren’t too high for the either party and an amount that establishes equal trust and commitment for both the parties.
How Much Is Just Right?
50% is what sounds practical, almost an obvious answer. What if the project is $20,000? Why would a client want to lock $10,000 with a developer without having seen any work, no matter how big a portfolio or the company they are working with? A percentage of 50 just becomes unrealistic at higher amounts because ultimately we estimate value in terms of hard figures not percentages. It then becomes essential to break down the payment plan into phases, none of which is too low or too high to commit.
Getting an advance is all about asking for a client to commit to the project. This is a smart way to help you narrow down to the right client and avoid the cheapskates types while ensuring that you get paid.
If you ask for too much and the client just would walk away from the proposal. If a client is too finicky to commit, just walk away. It saves you a lot of potential trouble with him. Think chargebacks, bad reviews, etc. Any reasonable client would be willing to have equal stake in the project. It thus becomes important to ask for at least 50% of the quoted amount on the project.
In case the quoted amount and time period is too much futuristic, then you must set a figure beyond which you’ll need to break the payment plan into three or four phases. That would indicate to your client that you are not only intelligent but also sensible about establishing trust and realistic expectations.
How much do you charge to put a client on your schedule?