Getting paid safely for 3D models

Hello, I am starting my own business very soon. The thing is that I am having customers which want me to create a 3D environment for video game or website (buildings with interior and exterior).

The main problem is that I don’t know how to prove them that that project file works so that they can be sure that everything is fine, but if I send them that project file they could take it and leave without paying. Because I want to deliver them a finished file (be it in fbx. , glb. , obj. … format), after they check if it works then they will pay me.

Because those are big files and just showing my customers some screenshots from my PC won’t work, I need to deliver those files to them, they import them in their 3D software, check if everything is as it should be, then they pay me.

What if they check that file and then just disappear without paying, I am afraid of that.

Selling to general customers safely

I would recommend using the solutions that already exist:

and:
artstation.com
These markets have seller and buyer protection, and they’re reputable and well known. They also have tons of payment protection and security set up, that small creators can’t afford.

I would never buy a 3D model from any site other than those, possibly Gumroad, because those sites protect me as a buyer and keep my payment information secure.

Selling to specific clients safely

That’s assuming you want to sell generally. If you want to work with specific clients, that changes things. There you have a contract- you sign a contract with your buyer that you will deliver, and they will pay you. Most creative contracts require the buyer to pay half up-front, set a deadline when the seller must deliver, and include a number of revisions the buyer is entitled to. You never work for a specific client without a contract, and no reputable client will ever work with a creative without a contract. If you find a client that doesn’t want to sign a contract, you’re about to get scammed. Their checks are going to bounce. 100% guarantee.

You can learn more about how to set that kind of contract up here: https://dribbble.com/resources/freelance-design-contract

I recognize I’m speaking fairly strongly, and I try to avoid absolutes like “never” generally. In this case, it’s essential to understand that a contract is not optional. There is no other safety net for both the client and the creative. If you don’t sign a contract as a creative, you will not get paid. If you don’t sign a contract as a client, you will not get your product.

The sites I listed up above have comprehensive and binding contracts built into their products already, hence why I consider them trustworthy. If I buy a model from BlenderMarket that isn’t what was advertised, I know I can get my money back. I also never have to worry about selling my add-ons on BlenderMarket- I will always get my money, without having to harass the client for it

6 Likes

Thank you very much for you fast response. I just didn’t know what to do because I thought that customers will get scared when I ask money upfront without me even delivering anything to them first (that contract is our only security.) Which could possibly cause them to give up from me.

But yes I will only work under contract and I will deliver 3D models to my customers individually.

I will send you one of my contracts I made with the help of other people, please check only first 2 pages, they are one of the most important ones.
Contract foundation.docx (23.4 KB)

I wouldn’t worry too much about it- that’s par for the course for creative work. Every client I’ve ever worked with expects to pay a quarter or a half up front (with contract, of course.) Again, if I found a client that balked at this, they probably are trying to cheat me, and I’d rather not work with them anyway :slight_smile:

1 Like

Great, I worked a long time on Fiverr. Fiverr was a protection for me and for the client, I got used to it but now when I am starting my own business it’s all up to me to set up the safety procedure.

I always thought that I should first sign a contract with my customer, deliver them the project and then get paid (that’s how Fiverr works but without the contract thing). Now I understand that it’s a bit different how it works when it’s all up to me without Fiverr.

Okay, so about the image delivery, I will deliver them the finished image with my watermark over it (so that they can’t use the image anywhere). After they agree with everything on how it looks, I will get paid and then deliver them the final image file without my watermark.

About the 3D model delivery, I will unfortunately have to deliver them the finished 3D file of that model, after they check if everything works then they will have to pay the rest of the price.

1 Like

I think @josephhansen made very fair point !

It’s totally ok to speak openly with them that you want some guarantee and making a contract is a good basis. They should understand that !

You can judge also the company, do they seem serious ? Have they done similar work, do they seem to work with the same people ?

All that said, I think some mutual trust is needed. If they are serious, it’s in their best interest that things go well with you, and that you can work on other projects with them.
They also trust you to be able to deliver some work, they need to go on with their business. So chances are that it will work in general.

You may also send them a WIP version, without all the textures or model, enough for them to test your work so they are reassured but not the full thing so you keep some leverage until contracts are made.
You can also watermark the textures.

Good luck !

2 Likes

YEEES, watermark the textures. That’s it, I always wondered how can I protect my 3D models from getting stolen, now I know how (although they can remove the textures and put some of their own and hire another artists to add new textures).

2 Likes

In my experience with scammers, they’re incredibly lazy. That is to say, if they have the option of doing a lot of work to take the watermarks off your work, or just finding some sucker that doesn’t watermark their work and stealing it, they’re going to go with the second option :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Yea I was the sucker that wasn’t watermarking the textures, never got played. Although there is some project that I have done outside the Fiverr (unmarked textures, 16 hours of work) which my client didn’t pay since it isn’t completely finished, but he isn’t using that room anywhere and is very slow in progressing so I will probably get paid for that in the future (after I finish it or not).

Yes, I think there isn’t 100% chances to be fully protected in life, even if a contract is a good start for security in that particular case !

That’s part of your own experience and you should accept the possibility of failure. That’s ok and worse case scenario you’ll do better next time. The final idea is that you’ll have a lot of job opportunities with a lot of people for many years. You need to start with something !

It happen to me twice in my career to not be paid, while it’s bad, it’s not the end of the world either.
I took it as a learning experience and moved on… And that never prevented me to make a living.
With time you’ll have a lot of clients and you’ll try to keep the ones that you like working with.

And same for them, if you think it the other way, it’s great to be able to work with artist you trust, without looking for new people to work with and take some risks each time you have something to do.

Because client have their clients, their own deadlines, their lives to earn… most of the time they like things straight as we do.
If they plan on running a business without paying people it will be a failure. They’ll never be able to achieve something.

You can watermark the texture with your coordinates (email), if someone get a job to remove the watermark , if he is clever enough he’ll contact you !
And if they manage to do it by themselves, it will probably be bad, and they’ll use crappy work with smeared textures… And in a few mounts they’ll look for a new scam to make and you’ll be working with serious people.

good luck !

2 Likes

Yea man thank’s a lot for all of those great hints. I am a bit insecure at the beginning of serious business but now I feel more relaxed. And yes kudos for that idea of putting my own email on textures, that will hinder the betrayers betrayal progress way more.

Anyways thank you both guys on helping me with this topic, now I am way more confident in doing business all by myself.

1 Like

Cool ! yes it’s natural to feel insecure about all this !
But it’s a great experience and practice makes perfect ! I’ve seen your work and it’s cool, I’m sure eventually it will be fine ! Getting the firsts jobs is difficult but what matter most is the next ones !

2 Likes

Highly recommended additional resource supplement:

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook

2 Likes