Getting paid is another one of those necessary evils that freelancers must face. Without receiving a payment for your work, you’re pretty much defeating the purpose of being in business for yourself. Thankfully, getting paid isn’t as much as a hassle as it used to be thanks to software from sites like Due.com that allow you to invoice clients in just a matter of minutes – and because you signed that contract. But, you can also guarantee getting paid by taking the following advice.
Be a Professional
If you’re rude to your clients, consistently late on projects, deliver subpar work, and have an outdated website, then why would a client make paying your invoice a priority?
Always be a professional by having a website that highlights your work, over delivering on a project, meeting deadlines, and being polite.
Be Flexible With Rates and Payment Options
Not all clients are going to be able to afford your rates or even use all of the services provided. Does that mean that you decline their business? Let’s say that you’re a marketing agency and a local deli just wants you to help update their website and put some money into Facebook ads, but aren’t concerned with you sending out press releases or writing daily content for them. Then it’s fair that you have rates for the clients who are only looking for part of the services, let’s say $500 per month, since you are not providing the whole package. which is normally $1,500.
Additionally, you want to accept multiple forms of payments from your clients. Not only does this make it easier for them to pay, it also speeds up the payment process. Most invoicing software gives you the ability to accept eChecks, credit/debit cards, or through a payment gateway like PayPal.
Bill Up Front
Most freelancers require some form of payment up front. This amount will vary from industry-to-industry, but a deposit that is 25%-50% of the estimate is pretty common practice. Your contract should also detail if you are receiving interim payments – let’s say 50% up front, 25% in the middle, and the final 25% when completed.
Invoice Promptly and Frequently
When you don’t have recurring clients, make sure that you either bill weekly or immediately following the completion of a job. This not only keeps the cash flowing into your bank account, it also ensures that you won’t forget to send out that invoice.
Invoicing software from Due.com or Invoice Ninja allows you to either set-up recurring client profiles or automated billing. This means that you can create an invoice in a snap or set-up recurring billing, which means that the client’s credit card or bank account is automatically deducted each month in the amount that you’re owed.
Never Work Until You’re Paid
Why keep working on a project for free when you could be working for a client that actually pays you for your services? As any freelancer will tell you, you never work on the next project until you’re paid for the last job. However, that doesn’t mean that you just send out an invoice and wait for a payment. If the due date is rapidly approaching, contact the client and find what’s going on. Maybe they accidentally misplaced your invoice or maybe they’ve been out of town.
What if a Client Doesn’t’ Pay?
What happens when a client hasn’t paid an invoice for a freelancing job? There are a couple of different routes that you can explore.
As previously mentioned, you can simply contact the client and inquire on the status on the payment. If an email doesn’t get a response, you may want to give the client a call or stop by their office if they are located in the same area as you are. If you aren’t assertive enough, maybe ask a friend, family member, colleague, or assistant who has a chance to contact the client.
If the client won’t respond to your calls or emails, after several reminders, then you may have no other option than to consider handing the invoice over to a collection agency.