Freelancing? Here’s Why You Should Always Ask For A Writing Deposit


Do you feel weird every time you ask for a writing deposit?

It’s time to get over it and protect yourself.

Asking for a deposit isn’t “weird,” or “rude,” or “out of the ordinary.” In fact, it’s a standard business practice!

Tune in to learn about this business-building (and money-making) essential (or read the modified transcript below.)

Many new copywriters are afraid to ask for money…

– They’re afraid that the client will be “put off” by the request.

– They’re afraid that they’ll ask for too much up front and lose the gig.

– We’ve been brought up to believe that asking for money is bad.

But here’s what can happen if you don’t ask for a deposit: you can do the work, put in all the time to compose a killer blog post or web page (and you know how much time it takes to produce quality content), only to get stiffed by the client.

The other scenario is that you do get paid by the client, but ever so slowly. Instead of receiving your money in a couple of weeks as you expected, you don’t have the money in hand for a couple of months.

So setting up that deposit really protects you. And by agreeing to pay a deposit, the client is showing that s/he is serious, and wants you to do the work – after all, s/he’s already fronted you some money!

Now let’s talk about how to make that happen…

Reality check: Always get a 30 – 50% deposit before starting work

Always, always, always, always!

– Setting up payment terms is perfectly reasonable and OK.

You’re not asking for anything weird or different or out of line. Requiring a deposit is good business, and it is something that you should do! Otherwise, in essence, you’re extending the client credit: you’re doing all of this work for free, on credit, until they pay you.

Sometimes clients will say things like, “Oh, well, I don’t quite have that money now, but I will have it in a couple of weeks…can you just start now and then we’ll settle it later?”


Tell the client: “I’m perfectly happy to wait a couple of weeks until you get that deposit in, so not a problem!”

– If a new client won’t give you a deposit and set up terms, walk away. Don’t start before the check is cleared.

If a new client refuses to agree to your terms, you’ll probably want to walk away – that can be a very big red flag. I’ve talked to many copywriters who have said that the times that they didn’t get paid are the times that they didn’t get an initial deposit.

– Small (quick) job? Get all the money up front.

If it’s a new client and you know that you can turn the writing project around in less than a week – and it might be a small amount of money – ask for the entire amount up front.

It’s not unreasonable to do that. In fact, I know many copywriters who will ask for the money up front even on larger jobs. And if you’re sufficiently established and you’ve worked with enough clients, that’s definitely something you can go for as well!

But if nothing else, be sure to get a 30- to 50-percent deposit, and try to get all the money on your side of the table before turning in the final page. That way, you know for certain that you’re going to be paid the entire amount owed you!

What do you think? Have you been burned by a client who didn’t pay after you completed the work? Leave your comment below!

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  1. […] (You DO get a deposit before you start work, right? If not, you’ll want to check out this video.) […]

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