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Freelance designers, like any other suppliers, should get paid according to their contract. Yet some businesses may feel that they can delay or ignore this obligation. Others may withhold all or part of a payment if there is a dispute over the quality or quantity of the work performed.
Good freelance contracts make provisions for these cases, providing a "kill fee" (usually half the contracted rate) if a project is completed but not used, and a late fee for the client who puts off payment.
If a freelancer or an agency asks you for these provisions, don't be alarmed. These requests mean you're more likely to be working with an experienced professional -- and therefore more likely to get good value for your money.