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Why you should always do a deposit - Freelance Edition

I started my small business in February this year. Already I have learned so much. I have dealt with my share of frustration as well and that's how I learned the importance of doing deposits when dealing with commissions. This is important specially when working with new costumers.

up front payment

Back in July I was eager to start my summer vacation. I had been working my ass of as I wanted to get all commisssions done before I could go on a road trip.

A few days before my vacation started I got a DM on Instagram from this nice lady in need of some illustrations. She was running a small business and wanted to order two illustrations to use as covers for notepads.

We agreed on a price and me being a total idiot had trust in her paying me. Nedless to say, but to to this day she still haven't paid me.

How to prevent getting ripped off?

I don't want this to happen ever again, not to me and not to other freelancers.

It should be very simple to avoid, but sometimes you have to learn the lesson the hard way.

how to not get ripped off

What I should have done was:

1️ - Required a deposit up front

2️ - Required the full balance at completion

3️ - I should have had a Contract

The difference in having the client pay a deposit up front is huge. I suggest a deposit of 50% of the agreed price. When the client is paying a deposit they are showing that they are fully committed to the project. Without it you can easily be taken advantage of, like I was.

Don't start working on the project until you have the deposit in your bank account. If your client uses bank transfer to make the deposit, it might take a few days for it to show up on your account. If so you wait. You wait untill you see the money in your account and don't take for granted that they are telling the truth when they say that they did the transfer. You need to see the money before starting on the project. Periodtttt!

Unfortunately some people don't respect the work we artist do because we are just "drawing and illustrating".

What if the client don't want to do a deposit?

Well... Then you kindly say you can't do the project and walk away.

Trust me, it's not worth it.

When working on bigger projects or with big brands, you should also consider having a contract. The contract should include things like pricing, deposits, final payment, reviews, licence and copyright.

-I will make a post about contracts later along with a contract template.

I would love to see some good examples of good but easy to understand contracts. If you want, please share a link below in the comments or write me an email at

Lisen xxx

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