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This is the most common, traditional approach. Few skilled writers will start
work for nothing, they will require a deposit, usually half on small to medium
projects or a third on larger ones. In most cases this deposit will be
nonrefundable unless the writer does little or no work, or misrepresented her
qualifications for the work at hand.
The first payment is to start the project. The second payment is on completion if
there are only two. The second payment is on some agreed-upon event – such as
finishing X chapters – with the third payment on completion.
Payment In Advance
Some writers, for certain types of work, will request prepayment. The fact is that
a lot of buyers of freelance services skip out on second and third payments –
regardless of the quality of the work – and many writers are leery of this.
Whether to agree to prepay is a matter of your cash flow and philosophy, and
should take into account what you “read” about the writer. Do they seem likely
to try and run off with your money? If not, go ahead and prepay but use a
regulated payment system such as PayPal to do it. We don’t recommend
prepaying with a check, or certainly, cash.
Payment on Completion
Fully shifting the risk to the writer, in this case, particularly for small ongoing
work – such as a certain number of news articles per week – can make sense. If
there is regular production and everyone knows what to expect, the writer can
write, and on acceptance of each piece, gets paid. Some writers are willing to
accept a single completion payment on short term projects, or those with very
small budgets, such as $100 or $200.
However you agree to pay, please do remember to pay, and to pay in a timely
fashion. Writers are generally self-employed so unlike corporate vendors who
have terms like Net 30 or Net 45 and can carry some accounts receivable,
ghostwriters appreciate when you pay fast – and will ultimately resent it if you
© Copyright 2006 by Michael Rasmussen and Jason Tarasi - All Rights Reserved.