Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Author:  Doug McCann
Forthcoming Book:  "So You're A Nice Guy and Want To Be In Business"

Canadian CurrencyFifty Down, One Hundred Up

Who doesn't remember or hasn't heard the phrase, "Show me the money"?!  The critically acclaimed 1996 movie, 'Jerry Maguire' turned it into a very popular utterance.  The self-employed individual knows all too well, the significance of such a statement!  However, for some, asking for the money is not always so easy, especially if up front.  The difficulty may be borne out of a lack of assertiveness, self confidence, or perhaps even embarrassment, particularly if the customer or client is a close acquaintance.  I've been there and I have always been shy about upholding such terms of sale.  I may have even thought I was being a little insulting.  It's crazy really, but I'm not alone on this one.

Then one day a colleague suggested another way of looking at the situation!  Consider that when you request a fair amount up front you are declaring that you are serious about the work, your time is valuable and your skills and experience are also valuable.  Your customer can only respect you for your directness and conclude that you are committed to completing the job.

While your client or customer is confident in your commitment, you as well can conclude that your customer is also very serious as indicated by an initial financial investment.  A reasonable person is also appreciative of costs doing business.  Your customer or client may put 50% down, but can be confident in your 100% commitment to the job.  Mutual trust and benefit is borne out of a such a transaction.  Whether verbal or written, a contract must be mutually beneficial to each party.  Payment up front helps your cash flow and it certainly helps with out of pocket expenses you may incur in getting to work on this job.

Finally, regardless of the terms of payment, ensure everything is on paper.  The contract, purchase order, agreement, etc. should include everything!  There should be no room for unexpected surprises or questioning of what was or should not have been included.  Whether you are a web designer, carpenter, mechanic, landscaper and whether you create a product, sell a product or provide a service, the vendor and purchaser should be equally satisfied upon the completion of the sale.  Also included should be reference to date and time of delivery or in the case of a subscribed service, effective beginning and end dates.  Are there delivery charges and what taxes are applicable?  Signatures and a down payment go a long way in solidifying agreements and making clear, understanding, clarification and expectation.