“Nate,” a freelancer I hired to write an e-book for me, e-mailed the first draft of the manuscript today as an attached Word file. Also attached: his invoice.

Why did you do that, Nate?

I just got your FIRST draft. I haven’t even opened the file, much less reviewed it. And I certainly haven’t given you my comments so you can make the necessary revisions.

Sending an invoice along with the work you did is bad form. It leaves a bad taste in the client’s mouth. He feels the only thing you care about is getting paid, not whether the work is good. But sending an invoice with a first draft – when the project is not yet completed – can really piss off the client, as it did me in this case.

By the way, my agreement with Nate calls for payment upon completion. To me, completion means an acceptable final product. Most publishers and business clients feel that way.

If the term “completion” is too vague for you, apply this rule of thumb: Any ambiguity in the agreement is the fault of the vendor, not the customer.

If Nate expected a check upon submission of a first draft, he should have specified that in writing and had me sign it.

He did not.

[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 70 books. To subscribe to his free e-zine, The Direct Response Letter, and claim your free gift worth $116, click here now.]

Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.