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Charging SEO Clients - Which way do you prefer?
When charging clients it's a tough thing to determine whether you should be charging based on the work done, charging for the entire month up front, signing a contract for monthly work or charging based on results. I'm a big fan of having people pay up front for a few reasons that I will go over in this discussion, but other people may like other methods. Everyone has their own reasons for how they want to charge their clients, and I'm going to go over a few in here
So let's get started.
Charging For Work Done:
This payment method is good and bad because you can have clients paying your for work completed but that work could take 6 months. Obviously you would be charging more for something that would take 6 months to complete compared to something that would take 6 days. The downside about this method is that you might not get paid for a long time, and we all need to put food on the table. Another bad thing about this payments style is that if you're working with a new client, they could have the money when they contact you but not have it when they need to pay up. If you're running an online marketing company or selling SEO services that take a while to complete, you're usually going to avoid this type of payment. The only time I would say that this type of payment method would be good is if you have an extremely dedicated client that wants to switch their payment setup to pay after the work is completed instead of up front.
Charging Up Front:
This type of payment method is much more common than charging when the work is done because the service provider gets paid up front which is good if they have to pay their employees. It's also a good method because it shows that your client has the money to pay for the service and isn't trying to scam you out of your hard spent time doing something for them. Now this won't keep you completely safe from scammers, but it's one way to avoid some of them. I prefer this method because I sometimes have to bring in specialists, like programmers, to do specific work on an order and having that up front payment means I don't have to pay for anything out of my own pocket to get the project finished.
Signing A Contract:
I love love love having clients sign contracts because I can estimate my yearly profits without having to wait a month before it's time for taxes lol. Most of my contract clients are the bigger fish who can afford to wait 6 to 9 months to see results, which is good for me because I can usually bring in results quicker than that lol. Signing a contract can also backfire on you if you're kind hearted and I say this because I've broken contracts without sending anyone to collections. I've had some clients sign a 12 month (1 year) contract and after 2 months they tell me that they can't afford it anymore and want to break the contract. Now in all of my contracts it says that if it it broken, they client must pay for 6 months of the contract on top of what they already paid, or they need to pay the remaining amount for the time of the contract. This means that if they cancel after 2 months they will need to pay for another 6, but if they cancel at month 9 they will just need to pay for the final 3 months. Contracts are great if the client knows what they're getting into when it comes to SEO and bad if they client was just told by a friend that they need it but aren't informed as to exactly what it is and how long it takes.
Charging For Results:
Some websites recently have been charging based on results. If you're the client you're going into this knowing that you're only going to pay for what you rank for. This means that if you're trying to rank for "SEO Service" and you get on page 10 you don't have to pay, but if they can get you to page 1 you will be paying $1,000+ (just an example). The closer your client gets to page 1 rank 1, the more they will pay you for your work. Now I think this is a good and bad idea at the same time. I think it's a good thing because you'll get more clients who are on the fence, but it's bad because you'll get more people signing up but don't want to pay for page 2 or page 1 rankings, but then they get ranked on page 1 and don't pay you. You can go into a contract with all of these clients, but if they're not in the same country as you it will be difficult to go after them if they don't pay up.
In conclusion, choosing a specific payment method really depends on which you prefer to do. I can't tell you what you like, that's up to you lol. I prefer to do contract work because I can target bigger fish and get paid more over time compared to one time payments with smaller clients who will just complain after 20 days.
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