Design consulting for client company under bankruptcy?

I have a meeting with a prospective client today; an international company with locations in Canada, the US and UK that seems to have been around for a long time.
They called me last week (I had not heard of them before) and want to discuss new product development in an area that I have a lot of experience in.

I just found out (Google) that they submitted for bankruptcy in Canada in December. Do you think I should not work with them at all?
Or if we start working together, should I request all payments upfront?

I’d appreciate your advice!

Business is complicated. Maybe it is just a specific sector of their Canadian branch that went bankrupt? Hell, aren’t a bunch of airlines bankrupt and still continue to fly daily? Weird stuff.

Your hesitation is smart though, always bill in chunks (I use this word so I don’t give away mine), and take 50% up front of each one.

Chunk 1 = $1.00
Chunk 2 = $1.50
Chunk 3 = $1.20
Chunk 4 = $2.00

Take 50% ($.50) before starting Chunk 1, then the 50% balance upon completion while also taking 50% deposit for Chunk 2, etc

Often bankruptcy does not mean the company is out of money. May airlines declare chapter 11 as a tool to renegotiate contracts with workers or suppliers. they could be using bankruptcy to reorganize internal affairs. I agree with Taylor, I invoice to phases with a deposit. So before any work is done I have money in the bank

Thanks for your thoughts Taylor Welden and Stay Youth.

I raised the issue during the meeting today. It sounds like what you suggested, a more complex reorganizing of the company with one investor leaving.
Apparently they had already emerged from the bankruptcy a few weeks later (information I found afterwards supports this).
We may or may not start working together; I have a few reservations unrelated to this (they currently serve a very downmarket customer base and want to create a new “high end” line but may not have the skills and mindset to pull this off).

As for billing in phases and taking upfront money:
I typically take a startup payment of 33% of project phase 1 before project start, then bill at the end of each project phase, with a payment due date of 30 days. So far I’ve always subtracted the startup payment from the first phase invoice, but going forward, I plan to subtract the startup payment from the LAST phase invoice instead.

Taylor Welden:
“Take 50% ($.50) before starting Chunk 1, then the 50% balance upon completion while also taking 50% deposit for Chunk 2, etc”;
how do you get your clients to pay upon completion vs. within 30 days?
And do you include the 50% deposit for Chunk 2 on the invoice you submit for the rest amount of Chunk 1?

Thanks again!

50% of total project upfront. Nothing less. Each subsequent payment due net 15 on invoice. Final payment reserved before final deliverables handed over and you are safe.