Sorry to resurrect an older post, but I felt I had information that could help here.
Originally Posted by Giacomo
If you're in Florida and the client is in New York, you have essentially no way to insure you will get paid, unless you want to drive up to Brooklyn and sue them in small-claims court. Bear that in mind--i.e., get a third or a half of your fee up front.
One option here, assuming that you have email contact with the client (though it is also possible via physical post) is to send a watermarked proof (a translucent image in the center of your picture which shows your artwork but also renders it professionally useless) of your work, the agreement being that upon proving the work is complete, once their cheque has cleared, you will send a full, high resolution finished version. This could be stipulated beforehand, so as not to seem stand off-ish.
"I will charge you x amount per hour, including sketchwork and revisions. Upon completion, I will send you a watermarked proof of the artwork and an invoice. After the cheque for the invoice has cleared, I will release the designs."
You should also remember to agree that you retain the right to show the work you have done in your personal portfolio and promotional material. High profile clients, for instance, game studios sticking to strict release dates tend to require that you don't personally release or publish your work until they are ready for it to be made public, which to me, is fair enough. This will also probably be stipulated early on.
One option here, assuming that you have email contact with the client (though it is also possible via physical post) is to send a watermarked proof...the agreement being that upon proving the work is complete, once their cheque has cleared, you will send a full, high resolution finished version.
This seems a bit unrealistic to me. In the US at least, the standard schedule of payment to vendors is "Net 30 Days," which means one doesn't get paid until a month after the job is completed. Asking the client to wait an additional month for a non-watermarked version of the art is just not going to happen. That said--everything in this world is negotiable, and if you can get the client to pay on completion of the job, something like Jri's suggestion might actually be workable.