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SEO Client Payment Terms

*The above video was made for a bit of humour

SEO Client Payment Terms

Before I go on, there are many clients who pay well, pay consistently and never give you any real trouble on the payment side of things, and it is usually those clients who have great results and quite simply make a lot of money.

We have all at one point had issues with clients and payments and its a right pain in the backside and can literally kill a small business, getting this nailed from the outset is key to a stress-free business but it’s easier said than done. However, you don’t want to get bogged down with clients with low budgets who take too long to pay it can pay to say no to certain types of clients, usually, the lowest-paying clients give you the most garbage.

Starting out in SEO?

You might be new to the industry or new to working for yourself, so you need to suck it up and hope for the best?

Do you need to take the client on to pay the bills?

Do you feel the client will go elsewhere unless you bend over backwards and also take all of the other garbage from them?

Scared where your next bit of income is coming from?

Yes it’s stressful alright, we have all been there and believe it or not setting out rules and regulations with clients on payment and stuff like that isn’t going to scare them away in any way, don’t get lazy about billing either you can use systems like Freeagent or similar to be able to automate a lot of your recurring billing.

Getting paid from any client can be a bit of a problem and with rogue SEO’s doing bad work it does make clients worry more about who they are paying too. But in general, I think getting paid from clients is a problematic situation and something that you need to keep a close eye on as a small business. When I used to run an agency I initially started out not signing people up onto contracts or setting up standing orders and around 30% of my workload was spent chasing up payments which were taking me away from my SEO work and running my own business.

This was 10 years ago and my processes have since changed but it is vital that you do get standing orders set up and make sure the client understands that you need payment on specific dates and make them understand there is a cost to SEO as there is with any other business. Of course, you can allow people alternative payment terms such as 14 days, 30 days or whatever but you need to be careful you are not being paid 90 days in or running up cashflow issues because you allow a client to work in this way.

Most SEO‘s will sign people up to 6 month or 12-month contracts and ensure that the payment is paid upfront and on the same date on a month to month basis or no work gets done, there have been many instances where I’ve given someone some room to pay and then they come back with some excuse that their mate down the pubs now doing the SEO and our services are no longer required.

Clients need to be aware of the issue from your side, where you cant layout for content, tools, audits, VA’s and any other overheads without getting some kind of buy-in from the client first, and unless there is a minimum term contract then upfront payment is a must.

It’s also important to note that there aren’t exactly tons of good SEOs providing good work out there, clients are very often given the run around so make sure you value your time and business, it is also sometimes good to say no to certain types of clients.

SEO Monthly Rolling Contract

I think a 30-day rolling monthly contract works well, but it doesn’t give any stability and you cant work ahead of yourself and do too much in case the client doesn’t stick around, but you can gauge that the longer your relationship lasts with the client and you can use your common sense at that point, but it’s much easier to get a client to agree to these terms even though you might not be able to go in top-heavy and do a lot of work in the initial stages to get ahead of the game.

6 month SEO Contracts

Getting a client to invest and commit is key to getting off to a good start, it certainly makes me feel better when I know this client is on board for 6 months, I’m at that point confident I will have the time to be able to do some good work that will show the client a decent ROI and get the buy-in for longer ongoing SEO work. It’s not a big commitment for a client. I do feel a client will then have to give the SEO sufficient time to get some decent work done rather than dropping out after the first month or two because client expectation is too high.

12 month SEO Contracts

Getting a client to agree to a 12-month contract will be difficult unless you are established and well known in the industry, but with so many rogue SEOs around I do think clients are wise enough not to commit for this long and it’s harder to get the sale if you implement this length of minimum term to your SEO clients. But would be great if you were able to sign the client up on this type of deal.

Whatever you do make sure you try and keep on top of the payment side of the business otherwise life will become a bit of a struggle and you are adding a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety for no reason.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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