For most people, the most stressful and frustrating part of being a freelancer is the process of asking for payment. The stress heightens due to stubborn and unorganized clients. The frustration occurs when the client asks for more work when you still have not received your pay for the previous ones. They have to realize that we live in a world of fixed payments and variable incomes.
Sometimes you have to employ different ways in order to get your money on time. Fortunately for you, this list contains five efficient tips to suit your situation.
But first, here are some of the common methods that clients utilize to pay their freelancers:
PayPal and other third-party websites that allow online payments are popular amongst the freelancers. These websites act as alternatives for the classic paper methods, which take more time and effort. Clients prefer this method as it only requires them to accomplish a short form to process and send the payments. However, a major drawback for the freelancers is the third-party service fee that is deducted from their payment.
Wire transfers may not be as instant as the third-party services but, this method is faster than issuing a cheque. As the name suggests, wire transfer is an electronic transfer of money across a network controlled by banks and other financial companies. Another term to describe this method is remittance service (a term that you are more familiar with).
Freelancers safely receive funds from a single individual or institutions despite their geographic locations. Of course, it comes with a wire or remittance fee.
By the way, we encourage freelancers to ask their clients to use iRemit’s service to pay their virtual staff.
Like any other business establishment, freelancers can accept payment thru credit card. The freelancer sets up a merchant account and enables credit card payments in order to cater for this method. It enables the clients to pay conveniently whereby the freelancer can process the payment by himself. This shall be included in the longstanding agreement between the client and the freelancer.
A check or cheque is a “written, dated, and signed instrument that contains an unconditional order from the drawer (client) that directs a bank to pay a definite sum of money to a payee (freelancer)”. Accepting cheques is a usual practice in the business scene. Although, the significant challenge is waiting for the cheque to arrive in the mail and to clear out after a period of time.
Now that you know the different methods that clients use to pay for your work, here are some of the efficient ways to get you paid on time:
1. Do Your Research
I believe in the age-old saying that prevention is better than cure. It is important to do your investigative search about your potential client before accepting any projects.
In my experience, I infer the client’s website from the email and learn more about the company by browsing thru the “about” section. Supplement this information by searching for other freelancers’ reviews whenever possible. If the previous freelancer had a horrible experience with your prospective client then, be forewarned.
Learn when to accept a project and when to say no!
2. Get Paid Upfront
The best case scenario for any freelancer or service provider is to get paid for the upcoming work upfront. If your negotiation skills is substantial, consider setting a flat rate that your client will pay prior to the collaboration. This means that you will not start working unless you get paid.
As circulating cash is the core of most freelancers, you do not want your finances to suffer just because of your clients’ debts. You have to pay the bills too! So ask your potential client to pay you at least two weeks in advance before you begin grinding.
3. Require Down Payment
If your potential client is not able to pay you the full amount immediately due to valid reasons then, requiring a down payment may work. This scheme is not only more acceptable to clients but it also gives you a way to filter out the “deadbeats”.
On your agreed mark, do you really want to continue working on a project for a client who has yet to pay you with the first half of the full amount?
Much like any other service firms, you shall require a partial payment to ensure that your potential client is capable of paying you.
4. Send Some Follow-ups
Aside from getting paid upfront and partially, you can designate schedules for payments. Pick a schedule that is convenient to you and your client (e.g., bi-weekly or every 15th of the month). For clients who do not honor the agreed schedule, act fast by sending a reminder.
It is time to deliver a second invoice if a week (or so) has passed and you still have not heard anything from your client. State that you are sending the same invoice again as a friendly reminder and that you intend to know when you shall receive the payment. Give the client the benefit of the doubt by assuming that the lack of payment is due to mere oversight, medical reasons, or honest mistake.
5. Have A Contract
Consider placing everything in writing to prevent the “late payment” scenario and to secure your legal rights when the need arises. In the binding contract, you must define the financial arrangements as well as the clause for overdue invoices. You can include the following statements:
a. The client will be fined with an interest for late payments.
b. The client does not own anything unless they pay for it.
c. The court shall grant you the rights to get your money back.
I wish you the best with devising a plan to get what you truly deserve! 🙂