Working as freelancers in small software and agency environments had always been a feast or famine existence for the co-founders of MilestonePay Ryan Handby and James Claridge. It was when a project ballooned but their client didn’t want to pay them accordingly that the pair started thinking of how they could ensure it didn’t happen again.
Handby told Food & Drink Business the experience was a big learning curve. “We ended up out of pocket by around $40,000, which made us change our approach completely,” he said.
Initially they developed a staged payment plan, 50 per cent up front, 40 per cent on completion and 10 per cent when all parties were happy with the result.
From there they finessed the process into an online platform. “It removed the headache in terms of paperwork by automating payments and invoices.
“Project deliverables can be broken down into milestones, meaning as parts of the project are completed payment automatically transfers from the client to the contractor.
“It is very open, communication is very clear, and it is very systematic,” Handby said.
Handy and Claridge spent three years refining the product, with the MilestonePay platform up and running for almost a year.
It is suitable for projects spanning $1000 up to around $200,000, with initial clients coming from agency, food and beverage, construction, and trade sectors.
Claridge said they originally developed the platform for freelancers, but realised quickly it can be useful for teams, with colleagues able to review project steps and check everything is on track.
“Our base version is free, with us taking a payment processor fee per transaction. So if you are not using us, you don’t have to pay,” Claridge said.
Claridge and Handby said that contracts and payments are the core of Milestone, with its expansion taking in invoicing, forms and CRM.
Their focus is to build features into the platform so it can become and central hub for a business.