I am in a position where I am negotiating the terms of a contract with a client overseas. They agreed to biweekly (every two weeks, twice a month) invoicing and payment via direct deposit into my account here in the States. However, should they ever refuse to pay me, I would be in the hole for two weeks worth of work or even more should I decide to continue working for them.
Considering that risk, I asked that they pay me a biweekly retainer/deposit, which can then be either returned to them at the end or used for the last two weeks of the project. They do not feel good about it as they want all service payments to be "in arrears".
I am just curious whether this demand is common or not. In my reasoning, it is similar to taking a deposit from a renter in the amount of one month's rent or a deposit a plumber would take to absorb any materials (equivalent to which would be my time spent working on the project).
Is there any suggested middle ground between what I am requesting and their position?