I just learned the hard way not to let clients pay you via bonus, leaving me $50 short on a finished project I couldn't even use myself if I wanted to. Sigh.
I guess that's what I get for complaining that the client was doing exactly that, huh?
Not so much when it's 1/3 of the value of the whole contract, but yes, it could very easily have been worse!
I've definitely lost more money, though perhaps never with quite so little foresight--I suppose I didn't imagine bonuses could just be refunded on a whim, without showing cause.
Well, if you're in the US it's a tax writeoff.
I haven't been screwed out of money in a couple of years. Last lesson learned was from a dude I figured out into the project that he was not in the US like his client profile said. Red flag. Used the tracker luckily for it but got screwed out of a couple hundies for manual time. Got my $1200 though after his payment failed.
Bonuses are paid at the client's discretion and can be reversed at the client's request shortly after they were paid. You can communicate with the client to clarify if there is any misunderstanding.
Oh, there's no misunderstanding at all. The client understood that by paying me part of a milestone payment as a 'bonus' they'd be able to get it back even if I could show I'd done the work, and I understand that I was right in the first place to be wary of them when they suddenly started doing that and refusing to communicate with me.
$50 to not have to deal with them anymore is a bargain.