Getting Paid: The Designer’s Challenge and Some Strategies For Overcoming This

Warren Feld
7 min readJul 5, 2022

Getting Paid

Getting paid for your work can range from the straight-forward to the nightmare. People love your work, but often, you will find that people will be slow or resistant to pay for it. You run into this with consignment shops. you run into this with custom work for clients. You run into this with retail shops to whom you’ve offered net 30 terms. You run into this with contract and grant work, particularly with government agencies and non-profits. You run into this with people who pay you by check. (NOTE: I don’t accept checks for payment in my own design work.)

You need to get paid so you can move on to the next project.

No money, no inventory, no once-in-a-blue-moon fancy dinner.

Structuring Payments

If you are doing a lot of custom work, your clients will probably pay you in increments, say 50% up front, and 50% upon completion.

If you are doing a lot of consignment, the shops may pay for anything of yours that sells perhaps quarterly. Beware that often consignment shops are slow to pay their consignees.

If you are selling wholesale to other retailers, you might have extended them terms, say Net 30, where you expect to get paid at the end of the term period. If you extend terms to someone, get them to complete a credit application ahead of time.

For each piece sold, or for several pieces sold at the same time, you will be generating some kind of invoice.

Each month, you might also be following up with your customers with a statement form, showing what has been paid, and what still needs to be paid.

INVOICE or STATEMENT FORMS (2-part forms — one for you and one for your customer). You can get a blank pad at a local stationery store, or have these pre-printed with your business name, address and phone.

More Advice

1. Establish a clear payment policy, put it in writing, post it on your website.

2. Find out in advance when the client or business will pay you.

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Warren Feld

Beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures, from custom work, production work, and teaching. *Design is about the ability to make smart choices.