Why is it recommended for clients to pre-pay project fees?

Pre-paying a project avoids an exchange of funds (in the form of advance payments) before a project has been successfully completed. This protects you in the event that either a project gets canceled prematurely or if the freelancer selected wasn't either qualified to do the job at hand or able to follow through with the project from start to finish.

Similarly, pre-paying a project is important for the freelancer as well, as it helps establish a greater level of trust between both of you at the start of the project, ensuring that the project can move forward with added peace of mind.

Is pre-paying project fees mandatory?

In most cases, pre-paying project fees is not mandatory, but the freelancer will be notified either way—and can choose to request that a project's fees get prepaid before getting any work underway.

The only exceptions to this would be for recurring or long-term projects (with larger sums that may fluctuate from month to month) or for large, multi-national corporations (that follow slightly different payment policies).