For those who run small SEO businesses, one of the biggest concerns is taking on a client who benefits from your services and then fails to pay the remainder of their contract. It can be a real issue with SEO companies that work hard to pull in web traffic for clients who abandon them at the first signs of real success.
When it happens once in a great while it might be dismissed as an anomaly. However, when it starts to occur frequently it can really harm the financial outlook of the SEO business.
The Standard SEO Contract Structure
Generally speaking, most SEO companies will sign a contract with their clients on an SEO project which will last from 7 to 12 months. The length of time makes sense because that’s how long it generally takes to get real results. Over the time that the company is still struggling in their SEO rankings, they are generally glad to make the monthly payments to keep the contract going.
However, at the point when the company starts to make considerable returns from the efforts of the SEO business there is a tendency to break the contract. This is because there are no set laws that apply to this type of contract on the internet especially when the clients are in another country.
Hiring lawyers can be expensive and often fruitless when it comes to trying to get clients to honor their contracts. However, there are ways you can help avoid this if you structure the contract correctly.
How to Get Clients Honor Their Contracts
The first step is realizing that a contract with monthly payments is really more of a loan that you make for your services. So, you will need to change the way you look at making contracts with clients where getting the money owed is easier.
Pay Up Front: Offering a pay upfront option means that you get your money all in advance, just like when auto insurance companies provide the option to pay monthly or the entire amount all at once. You can offer a discount for those who pay it all upfront as an incentive. Using this method secures the money you are owed immediately so you don’t have to worry about enforcing contracts on your own.
Half and Half: Another popular method is securing half the money upfront and the rest paid in monthly sums. This means that you will get most, if not all of your money before the business starts turning a real profit from your SEO work.
Third Party: A compromise is having a third party trusted by both sides holding the fees from the client and providing them to you on a monthly basis. In this manner, the client must pay the third party all at once, but you only get paid monthly for your work. However, as long as you fulfill your end of the contract, you will receive all of the money that is due.
Remember that it is your reputation that secures the business, so look at your payment system in a way that guarantees you get your money upfront or at least in the first part of the contract so that losses are minimized.