As much as we’d love to believe everyone has good intentions, it’s the unfortunate truth that isn’t always the case. There is a whole reddit group dedicated to potential clients haggling artists for abysmal prices. Occasionally, a customer’s insane request can be humorous. But the joke stops being funny when the piece is completed, and you’ve got nothing to say for it. It’s not your fault people are cruel, but it can be prevented. Asking for a deposit protects you, your time and your resources.
- When should you ask for a deposit?
The best practice is to ask for your deposit when providing your prices for the project. Avoid doing any sketching, planning, drawing, or resource collecting before you have received your deposit. Receiving a deposit from a customer shows a mutual respect and understanding that you are providing a service for payment. It also shows you, as the artist, that the client is serious about the project and won’t flake out at the last minute.
- What is the benefit of asking for a deposit?
Asking for a deposit does one major important thing: it protects you. There is nothing more frustrating than spending time and effort on a project only to have the client pull out. It is a complete waste of time spending hours on a mural, or worse, finishing it, without any financial compensation. Your time is valuable and asking a potential client for a deposit will help weed out those who “knOw soMEonE wHo will do iT cHEapeR.”
Ultimately, if someone is trying to hire a artist and haggle a lower price to a ridiculous degree it’s probably best to pass. Working with a client who doesn’t respect you or your abilities will never end well.
- What size deposit should you ask for?
That depends, although a 20% - 50% deposit is standard. While you should always ask for a deposit, the size of the deposit is circumstantial. It’s essential to take into consideration factors such as the trustworthiness of the client, the size of the project and whether or not you need to make new purchases for the project. If the project will take quite some time and have a lengthy planning phase, request a larger deposit.
There is a chance your potential client will question the need for or the size of the deposit. If this is the case, you may suggest an alternate option. But be aware of any red flags – insistence on not paying a deposit usually means the client isn’t serious.
Occasionally there can be a temptation to proceed with a job before a deposit. Thoughts such as “I might lose the client” or “It’s too good of an opportunity to risk losing” may plague your thoughts. Only serious clients invested in the project and who respect your time are worth pursuing, and they will pay a deposit.
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