Recently, I was bidding on a project, in competition with a few other developers I know, and one of them won. According to the client the reason they didn’t go with me was my payment terms.

For a 10-day project I wanted to get paid 50% up front and the rest after 10 business days. For some reason that made the client nervous and they went with someone else.

When talking with the other contractors on the project they expressed that they loved my payment terms way more than their own, which was 50% up front and 50% on approval.

It doesn’t matter

Yes, waiting for approval sucks. I’ve had projects around I haven’t touched for weeks. My work is done and the client has said it’s great, but they haven’t formally approved the work, so I wasn’t paid.

The other negative in this scenario is that by the time the client got around to approving the work, something had updated and they wanted this ‘fix’ done as well before they completed the approval.

Enter a long approval cycle again.

This is why I don’t base payment on client approval, and if I do, the price of the work goes up because we’re transferring risk in the approval process back onto me.

But if the client doesn’t like that and goes with someone else it doesn’t matter that my way is ‘better’. They didn’t use me and really they are the market so they decide how to spend their dollars.


When you get new business ideas from anywhere make sure that you test it against what the market actually wants. Don’t stick to some ‘great idea’ you hear from me unless it actually suits your clients.

Yes it’s entirely possible that the client I spoke of above simply wasn’t a great client for me and I shouldn’t worry about it.

I should also use this piece of evidence to help me monitor the overall health of my business and make sure I stay on top of how my policies affect my income.

photo credit: venndiagram cc

One response to “It Doesn’t Matter What You Like”

  1. Henry Avatar

    I think you shouldn’t sweat it. Clients who balk at very reasonable payment terms probably will reveal themselves to be unreasonable in other ways down the road. And I don’t know the software business, but your policy sounds like a smart way to maintain your cash flow, and it seems most of your clients are fine with it.