Reasons Why A Graphic Designer Should Ask for a Deposit from Clients

Many freelancers (especially a beginner graphic designer) believe that asking for a deposit from their clients will “kill” their business. Those who are just starting out working for themselves even have a hard time mentioning money at all. However, unless you are a millionaire doing wok just to kill time and for the sake of art, you do need to address the money issue. Experience (negative, most of the time) taught us that the sooner you do that when dealing with a new client, the better.

There are many solid reasons why you should ask for a deposit, but here are the most important you should consider. These reasons make sense, once you consider them carefully and should give you the confidence to ask your next client for a deposit.

1. Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Asking for a deposit from a first-time client is the best way to assess how far you will go in your business relationship with that client. It is obvious that you do not know each other and you cannot trust each other overnight. The way the client responds to your demand speaks volume.

An earnest client, who wants to have a good collaboration with a graphic designer, will not mind to pay 20-30% of the total amount of the project in advance. Depending on the size of the project, the amount of work and tools you have to use to complete it, you may ask for 50% to make sure that you cover your losses. However, for starters, 25% of the amount is a fair deposit amount.

If a client doesn’t want to pay an advance, you should be wary about working for him. Even if you do not hand over the finished project until you get paid, you still lose a lot of valuable time working on that project if the client refuses to pay in the end. Sure, you may recycle the project for some other client, but there are no guarantees that you will find a new client with the same requirements for his project.

2. Keep Your Client Involved in the Work in Progress

Once he paid money, your client will be eager to follow up on the milestones of the project, give feedback to the graphic designer, and provide additional information or resources as necessary. A client who has already invested money is a client who wants to see value for his money and receive his completed project at the agreed term.

Comparatively, a client who did not pay a deposit may not make the project a priority. He may drag on for weeks with the approval of milestones and you will discover that one project has become a vortex sucking in your time without bringing you more money than you negotiated at the beginning.

3. Avoid Extra Jobs Added to the Main Scope

Some clients will take advantage from the fact that the have not paid you yet to add a little extra to do here and there. This simply means more unpaid work for you. On the other hand, refusing to continue with the work may result in the client’s refusal to pay you as well. This is one of the most common situations plaguing freelance graphic designers. Most of them will continue doing extra tasks, until they finally get paid.

However, if you secured a deposit of 25% to 50% of the project, you can stop at the moment when you see extra jobs sneaking their way into the main scope of work and demand payment for the main scope before pricing the other tasks. It is unlikely that the client will abandon the project he has already partly paid for. However, if this happens, at least the graphic designer has managed to cut his losses and got some money for the work done.


We would like to hear from you – do you ask for a deposit from your clients? How much and how do your clients usually respond to your demand?

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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