When a Non Paying Logo Design Client Refuses to Pay the Final Balance

When a Non Paying Logo Design Client Refuses to Pay the Final Balance it’s always a real upset, and can cause untold hardships, both practically and emotionally.

I’ve experienced more than my fair share of clients who have, for whatever reason, decided to not pay the final due balance, on completion of a supposedly successful logo design project.

Few Words on my Budget Breakdowns

I tend to ask for a 50% – 75% deposit, then the remaining balance due when the client has signed-off on the logo design.

If it’s a big value branding project, say something upwards of £3000, then I usually factor in a Progress Payment.

This is to help ‘reduce’ the initial Deposit for the client, as well as bringing in a bit of peace of mind for them. This will be paid only when the client is happy with the overall direction of the logo or branding direction, but not necessarily  the actual final design.

How this is broken down ultimately depends on the actual budget, and also negotiations with the client, but for example: Deposit = 60%, Progress Payment = 25% and Final Balance = 15%

Only when the client has settled the final balance will I then send over the digital files, and initiate the ‘official’ Transfer of Copyright (that there’s a template that I created for you).

Some Reasons a Client Might Not Pay Final Balance

On occasion, a client might just disappear and cease all communications even though the work has been completed.

Sometimes they fob you off with a few emails, and promises of payment, but ultimately you never hear from them again.

There are many reasons why a client might just ‘vanish’ after the logo design has been finalised, a few I can think of:

  • they’ve simply done a runner and plan to use the logo without paying; their company, product, start-up (this has happened far too often for me, and I’m VERY wary of taking on big budget start-up’s for this very reason, without a hefty deposit or even full payment up front), venture etc has fallen through and don’t feel they need the logo anymore;
  • some major personal trauma has occurred putting the logo right down on the list of priorities;
  • they’ve found another designer to finish of the work you started;
  • they’ve left it to the last possible minute to tell you they now don’t like what you’d designed for them;
  • and a few more I can’t think of right now.

My Main Tactic to Get Closure for Your Non Paying Logo Design Client

This doesn’t always work, as it obviously depends on why the client has ‘stopped communication.

Firstly: I’ll be patient, and send a few emails a week, simply asking for an update and a nudge to get in contact.

Obviously ask them if everything is OK, are there any problems I can help with etc.

If this patient approach doesn’t yield any results, then I’ll jump straight to my ‘3rd Strike and you’re out’ approach.

The gist is this: I’ll write an email that basically says that since I’ve not received the final balance, and that the contract states that only once the full balance is paid will the logo design & copyright be owned by the client, I’ll now be putting the logo up for sale, and/or will use the logo for another client.

I also stress this salient fact: from time-to-time I’ll be dropping in on their website/business to ensure they’re not using the logo without my permission. I like this threatened course of action quite a lot…

That if I do see the logo in use, the one they’ve not fully paid for, that I’ll initiate strategies to make their life somewhat challenging; naming and shaming on social media is one way that can scare a client into paying what is due, but this is literally the last course of action, and hopefully could be prevented.

It’s really quite simple, but a few times it has actually spurred the client into action; realising this logo they thought they could use, and that they thought was unique to them, is actually now not so unique, and could well be used by sometime else.

Pretty Hit & Miss

Obviously the above doesn’t always work, especially if the Non Paying Logo Design Client doesn’t care if someone else is using it, but the hight the budget and initial deposit type projects usually means they begin to realise that not paying the final balance isn’t worth it.

It’s far from being guaranteed solution, as there are so many variables that would affect the outcome, but it makes me feel better putting this tactic to use.