As a freelancer cash flow is critical to your business. There are running expenses which have to be met along with bills that need to be paid. An advantage of being a freelancer gives you the freedom to work for whoever you want. Unfortunately, one disadvantage of this can be delayed payments.
You have been professional in your work and completed it in all respects. Naturally, when you have been punctual in your efforts, you expect to be paid by the stipulated time. However for a variety of reasons, clients take their time when it comes to payments. Here, we will look at some strategies to improve payment times.
- Get a written contract in place before you commence client work. On many occasions you are reluctant to do this, fear of scaring off the client. But remember, the client’s reluctance to sign the contract could be because he doesn’t intend to pay you for your services. This demonstrates the client’s professionalism and willingness to pay. Hire a qualified lawyer to draft up a contract for you. The terms and conditions in the contract should be very precise and not vague. There should be a penalty for delayed payments and interest levied on subsequent days of delayed payments. Do not forgo the contract even if you know the client personally or were referred by a close friend. This is your business you are running, and you are in it to make money.
- Stop working for clients who delay payments. Clients have no right to object to this policy of yours. Do not earn a reputation as being a soft freelancer who will let things slide. Being firm will pay off in the long run.
- Do not delay in sending invoices once you have completed the assignment in all respects. Remember, if you procrastinate in sending the invoice for your work, the fault is all yours. This gives all clients an excuse to delay your payment.
- Have an automated invoicing system in place. Invoices should be sent on the due date and periodic intervals of say 15, 30 and 45 days after that. The invoice should state clearly the due amount, the type of services rendered and the hourly rate.
- Ponder the idea of giving a discount for early payments. In this era where every penny matters, this gives an incentive to clients to expedite your payment.
- Do not lose your temper. Sometimes a phone call or a friendly reminder will do the trick.
Lastly, always be professional in your work and deliver quality work. Most clients will appreciate the superior quality of work and promptly pay up.