Okay, I had a customer who months and months ago said he would like to commission me. Well, wonderful! Fantastic! He told me exactly what he wanted and gave me references and all that jazz. It's a really fun commission, too, and I look forward to working on it. Also, the guy is an absolute sweetheart. However, he's a bit slacking on his payment responsibilities, even though it's not really his responsibility just yet.
One of my top rules is that I will not start a commission until I receive at least half payment. I will not finish the commission until it is paid in full. I've been ripped off before, even with customers just paying half, by taking the line art and coloring it themselves or having a friend do it. So, in this matter, if they do that, at least I'm paid in full for a sketch piece. After they pay the other half, I'll color it. I think it's a good way to do things. So, I have not even begun his commission and I really have no right to be annoyed with him, I know.
It's been many months now and he keeps emailing me saying "I'm going to pay you, I still want the commission." Alrighty, no big deal to me. I didn't begin his commission just because of situations like this. Who knows, he may have had horrible things happen where he needs to pay a lot of bills. Again, it's not my business as I didn't start his commission yet. However, I'm kind of starting to get annoyed with this guy. Is he going to buy from me or not? I closed shop for awhile back and I told him that since I promised him that I would let him buy a piece from me, even though I was closed, I'd still take the commission. No go. He sent me a message the other day saying he has to sort out things on his credit card and then he'll pay me. Fine with me. He re-sent his references to me via email and said he couldn't pay me just yet because he can't get online. Umm... if I'm not mistaken, aren't you online when you send email? :) If he can send an email to me, he can take 3 seconds and go to PayPal.
I guess I'm just getting annoyed of waiting, plus I really want to begin this commission. It's really awesome. I have my regular day job like everyone else, but I do take art commissions as another extra source of income and it usually does go towards putting extra money into bills to pay up ahead of time or whatever. Since I've been waiting for his payment, my commission list has grown longer and longer and I'm needing to know if he wants a spot or not.
On the other hand, I have customers who have paid me but haven't sent me any information about what they want me to draw for them, even though it's been 3-4 months since they paid me. Gah, you think they'd want to get their money's worth and I want to get them done. :)
So, does anyone here have a certain time frame for customers to pay you, even if you haven't begun their piece yet? I pretty much just answered my own question as I wrote this out, but I'd still like to hear opinions. :)