When you’re first starting out as a freelancer you may be uncomfortable in asking clients for an upfront payment. As you get further into your career, you’ll realize that getting paid upfront is beneficial to your career since it keeps the cash flowing and prevents clients from bailing on the invoice that you sent them.
Tips to Getting Paid Upfront for Freelance Gigs
If you’re still hesitant in asking for a payment in advance, here are 12 tips to help you get over that hump.
1. Dress to Impress
Making a first impression is a big deal when searching for work. But, you’ve probably heard this a million times as you approached adulthood. The thing is, if you want to be taken seriously as a professional, it’s imperative that you always dress to impress when meeting and networking with clients.
The main reason is that they’ll actually give you the time of day to discuss your skills and how you can help them. After they’ve listened to you, you may be able to strike a deal and start getting to work. And, since you’re dressed as a professional, you must know what you’re talking and have clients in the past. You new client shouldn’t have any problems handing over a down payment.
Not only that, you’ll even be able to charge more clients more money.
2. Prospect Potential Clients
As freelancer, it’s commonly accepted that you should never work for free. But, you could give a prospective client a little taste of what you offer by doing some prospecting.
For example, when searching for gig if you notice that a client’s website is outdated, you could send them an email outlining a couple of quick pointers on how a newly designed website could benefit them.
It only takes you a couple of minutes of work. But, you’ve demonstrated your knowledge and got the ball rolling on building a relationship – both of which can be used to seek an upfront payment.
3. Do Some Homework
Before agreeing to do any work for a new client, always do a little digging. Don’t feel dirty about.
The client is probably doing some research on you as well. If you notice any red flags, such as other freelancers mentioning that the client didn’t pay them, then steer clear from that client.
If the client is difficult to work with and has a history of not paying freelancers, then what makes you think that they’ll pay you upfront?
4. Have a Strong Online Presence
I just mentioned that a client could be researching you. It’s not to be creepy. It’s to reassure them that you’re legit. Because of this, it’s important that you have strong online presence. You can start with having your own website which shares your bio, experience, samples of your work, and testimonials. You also want to have some sort of social media presence. You don’t have tp update your social networks every five minutes, but you should keep them active – even if it’s just weekly.
5. Build Professional Relationships
As mentioned earlier, building a professional relationship with a client is a great way to get an upfront payment. Even before jumping into a project, you could be interesting with them on social media or exchanging emails on how you can help their business reach it’s goals.
6. Be Reasonable
Let’s be honest. Not all clients are willing to give you 100% upfront. Instead of being stubborn, by willing to work with the client.
Are they comfortable with 50% upfront and 50% at the end? Would they break-up the payment into thirds, such as 50% upfront, 25% midway, and 25% when completed?
7. Offer a Discount
It’s not completely out of the norm for invoices to include a discount if paid before the due date. But, did you know that you can even offer clients a discount if they pay you upfront? For example, you could inform the client that if they pay you upfront, you’ll offer them a 5% discount from the project.
While that may mean less money going into your bank account, it’s a small price to pay for having peace of mind.
8. Send Clients an Estimate
At this point, you should know how much you’re worth and whether you want to get paid by project or by the hour. Once you have the scope of the project, along with deadlines and objectives, you should send the client an estimate.
While this won’t be the final price of the project, it gives them an idea of what the project will cost them. Additionally, it gives them time to consider if you’re the right person for the job based on the price. As they’re thinking this over, keep plugging the numbers for a final quote.
If the client is onboard, you can ask for an upfront payment. Since the client already had an idea of what the cost will be, they won’t be surprised by your final quote and should send you a deposit so you can start getting to work.
9. Provide Testimonials
You should have testimonials on your site, but just to reassure the client, don’t hesitate in sending them any testimonials or references. If the client decides to, they could contact your previous clients to find out if you delivered the project on-time after getting paid in advance.
10. Offer a Money Back Guarantee
Another way to reassure the client is to offer them with a money back guarantee if you don’t meet any milestones that have been established. Be careful with this tactic, however.
If state that you’ll give a refund if the client isn’t satisfied with the work, then they could come back and say it didn’t live up to their standards. To prevent, provide the client with weekly updates so that they can keep tabs on the project and make suggestions while working on the project.
11. Don’t Try to Fool Your Client
Just because your client isn’t an expert in your industry doesn’t mean that you can take them for a ride. They’re probably getting quotes from a number of freelancers or during their own research to get a better understanding of the scope and cost of the project.
Always be honest and transparent with the client. Explain why your services cost more than the freelancer they found on freelance gig sites Upwork. Detail how much the project will cost you. And, if there is something that can’t be done, speak-up and inform the client.
12. Rethink Contracts
To protect both parties, you should always have an agreement in writing. The thing is, some people can get turned off by the term ‘contract.’ Some freelancers have chosen to avoid that term and go with ‘Fee Agreement.’ It’s not as formal and has a more positive tone to it.
When constructing your Fee Agreement, make sure that includes:
- Clear description of the gig and what you’ll provide
- Payment terms
- Revision fees
- Kill fee
- Ownership of the final copy