How do Freelancers get paid on time
You are a freelance copywriter,web designer or IT consultant. You worked hard to deliver a great project on time and the client loved your work. You sent in the commercial invoice right away, but you have not received a payment yet. What do you do? Has this happened to you or some other freelancer you know? You bet!
Non payments or delays can reduce the freelancer’s motivation and morale. It becomes difficult to make ends meet. Here are some ways you can get paid on time.
Have a clear and easy-to-understand contract
It is imperative that you define your terms and conditions to your client at the onset of the project. This will prevent misunderstanding and payment issues at a later date. Ideally, it should be put down on paper in the form of a contract and signed by both you and your client. Include a deadline by which the payments have to be made. For instance, The standard `Net 30’ says you should get paid 30 days from the day you send the billing invoice.
Ask for part of the payment in advance
If you are an established professional in your field and your work is in demand, clients will be willing to pay you part of the amount in advance to engage your services. However, if you are just starting out, it might not be easy to get an advance. You can set milestones and ask the client to pay you a percentage of the agreed upon sum on reaching a milestone.
Charge interest for overdue payments
Also make it a point to mention the rate of interest charged for overdue payments in your contract. This usually is good tool to enforce timely payment. Most clients who end up paying interest once, will try to make sure you get your next payment on time. How you enforce this clause will eventually depend on your relationship with the client.
Send complete invoices on time
Send your invoices on time as it would affect the payment. Send the invoice to the accounts department preferably. The language used in the invoice should be crystal clear and not leave any room for misinterpretation. What you need is an ideal invoice template.
To simplify the process of book keeping and to ensure that your invoice is sent on time , consider using invoicing software such as Apptivo’s Invoice App.
Exchange contact information
One of the reasons for delayed payment is lack of communication. Make sure, you contact the person or department responsible for making the payment. Exchange contact name, address and phone numbers with the client and his account department. Make sure you know who to escalate the issue to if you do not receive your payment on time.
Send timely reminders
Take the trouble to remind your client that your payment is due. This could be done by sending an email/letter or by making a phone call. Some clients have a policy of cutting checks on a particular day of the week. If you know this information you can send a friendly reminder to the accounts department the day before. Sending reminders is also made easy by Apptivo’s Invoice App.
Legal action is the last recourse. Generally, a threatening letter on the letterhead of your law firm is enough. Faced with the consequences the debtors usually expedite payments. If they ignore the letter you can proceed with legal action. Ultimately, if you are successful, the small claims court will award you damages which include the sum involved, interest and court costs.
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Ultimately, it is the relationship between you and your client which ensures timely payment. Occasionally, a situation may arise where the client goes bankrupt. To avoid this situation, charge a significant percentage upfront. This will ensure that you get partly compensated.