Working freelance can be tough. While there are plenty of perks (control over workload, flexible hours, no boss etc.) finances can be tricky. You’ll need to know how to budget and stretch a payment across a long period of time.
While most clients are trustworthy and reliable, it’s an unfortunate fact that some can take their time with payments. Some might try to get out of paying altogether. There are always people who like to try their luck. As a freelancer, you have performed a service and therefore you are entitled to your payment. Here are 5 ways to ensure you get it.
To get any payment as a freelancer, you will need to send an invoice. New freelancers can find this confusing. This simple invoice maker from freshbooks.com formats invoices in a number of different layouts and makes them look professional. You can even add your own personalization and logo. It’s important to send professional invoices to clients as quickly as possible. While they need to pay you no matter what, a professional invoice shows that you mean business.
Read the contract
Not all clients will ask you to sign a contract. But some will – especially if you are gaining access to sensitive or confidential information. Freelance contracts can seem complicated, but it’s important to read everything, including the small print. Like all contracts, you need to know what you’re signing. Alternatively, you might wish to create your own contract and ask the client to sign it. This will state what is expected of you and the client. If so, there are plenty of templates available online.
Sometimes, you want to receive your payment quickly. Perhaps your rent is due or you have an unexpected expense. Unfortunately, some clients take longer than others. You can’t expect a client to pay you within a few days. However, it is reasonable to expect a payment within 30 days. If you had a salary you would be paid monthly. So, if you’ve started experiencing late payments, you might wish to add payment terms to your invoice. These will state when the payment is due, and additional charges if the payment isn’t made within the timeframe. It might seem harsh, but many freelancers use these simply to prompt the client into paying in an appropriate timeframe.
All freelancers will know how it feels to wait for a payment. It can be extremely frustrating. Why haven’t they paid? You’ll need to learn how to send reminders to clients which don’t come across as aggressive or hostile. However, they do need to be firm. Some invoicing software sends automated reminders, which can make the process less awkward.
If you have a client who hasn’t paid, is no longer responding to your emails and doesn’t seem to want to cough up, it might be time to take legal action. Sure, it isn’t pleasant, but you are entitled to your payment. Not sure where to find a lawyer? Try asking fellow freelancers for a recommendation.