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I am currently working on a project for a construction company. The payment due for the final milestone is coming up and completes the entire transaction. The contract states that the entire project will be delivered after payment.

Note: The client is essentially a middle man connecting me with the construction company and signed a contract with them, as well as with me.

He wants me to deliver the entire completed project to their server (which is supposed to happen after the final payment is made) and he is willing to write me a check for 50% the amount of milestone 2 (which is the final milestone) prior to the delivery to the server. He is claiming that he will pay me the rest after the construction company pays him. However, this worries me. Because Once I deliver the work for the second and final milestone, I have no control over anything, and all my work is on their server and I cannot do anything about that.

I should note that after paying the 50% of the final milestone cost, about 80% of the total project cost would have been paid in full. Should I trust him and allow this? Should I refuse as this is too risky?

I am kind of uneasy because my rates are extremely reasonable and way below average (below $20/hr). He owns a company, the construction company he is working is pretty big and I am just graduated college a year ago. I shouldn't be the one compromising in my opinion. However, I would like to maintain a good relationship with the client and not sure how I should proceed in this case, as this is one of my first freelance projects. He is asking me to do this for him "as a friend".

I appreciate any suggestions.

Many thanks in advance!

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Is his problem only monetary or he is demanding to see the project done to approve the final result? Nevertheless, a contract is a contract. –  guisasso Mar 20 '13 at 19:16
    
He 'claims' his problem is monetary. I don't buy it. He already saw the final project in action during a meeting with me and he showed the construction company the final project as well, on my machine via a testing server and remote access. So he is aware it is 100% and so are the final clients. He claims that the clients are not willing to pay him until they see it on their server. –  MHZ Mar 20 '13 at 19:17
    
Then that's his problem. Its a difficult situation, but what guarantees you he'll pay after you deliver the website? Sounds pretty sketchy. Still I understand how hard it is because he could actually be honest, but I wouldn't trust it. –  guisasso Mar 20 '13 at 19:40
    
Just to clarify... You signed a contract with the client (middle man) stating that full payment should be made before final delivery. The client signed another contract with the construction company, the contents of which is presumably unknown, but is reasonable to assume that it might have stated that delivery would be made before the final payment? –  w3d Mar 20 '13 at 20:02
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YES! SO was acting crazy on day so I had to create a new account to post a question... :D Thanks for all the feedback! I appreciate it! We settled on him paying the full amount as the contract states. –  jeffBronze Mar 20 '13 at 22:02
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closed as not constructive by Kris, Stephen Ostermiller, bybe, danlefree Mar 22 '13 at 5:04

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1 Answer

Your payment schedule was set up with the client prior to commencing the project, correct? And you have it in writing (preferably in your contract)?

If that's the case, stick to your guns. My answer would be different if this was a longstanding client with whom you had a positive history, but since this a new client-- and one who apparently isn't that great at managing their budget-- I'd hold firm on the original terms of the contract.

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Yes I have it in writing and it is in the contract. I have about a half a year of positive experience with this client, he never didn't pay me and never fell short before. However, I don't see a reason why I should agree to this, other than to keep our relationship in 'good-standing'. Either way I don't want to put myself in the position where he can say you have to 'add these 10 things to the site before I can pay you', even though those 'things' were not in the discussed prior etc... –  MHZ Mar 20 '13 at 19:37
    
@mhz That's a tougher call, then. If he's been a reliable client up until this point, I'd be more inclined to cut him a break (and warn him that this is a one-time deal and in the future he needs to stick to the contract), but I agree that if your client's own payment hinged on the final product being delivered first, then that's his problem, not yours. Weight the pros and cons of cutting him a break versus sticking to your guns and decide which one will be best for you in the long run. –  ajw-art Mar 20 '13 at 20:34
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