Glad you jumped in the Remote Working Bandwagon. Now, you have setup your practice. You are ready to face the freelancing world with your head held high while smiling towards the horizon.
But a stumbling block fazed our financial dreams. Why are my customers not paying up? Why am I tight with cash while having so many projects? Did I make the right decision?
Before the engagement, these safeguards might help avoid the cash collection traps.
Setup Payment Terms (Down Payment, Credit Limit, Payment Method)
Assuming you engage in a project backed-up by a written contract (!!!), it is important that the payment terms are clearly stipulated in the agreement.
It is best to collect an upfront down payment to initially fund your project. It is easy for your customers to not prioritize your invoice because paying you late does not endanger their credit. By applying around 20% to 30% down payment, it ensures your initial cash inflow. And it may affright those intentional soon-to-be delinquent customers.
Also, when handling multiple projects for one client, a credit limit is a good idea to encourage them to pay up. Allowing yourself a fixed credit limit for every client will give you a leeway against unnecessary work.
It can be penned like “My practice only allows this X amount of credit for every client. Please be advised that payment for the outstanding balance is needed for the continuance of succeeding projects.”
Ease of payment can help encourage timely collection for your gig. You can stipulate that payment can be made thru Paypal or Bank Transfer for the convenience of both parties.
The same way you rather pay your bills online than drive to the nearest payment center (Ugh, imagine the lines!). It can also be a sentiment for some of your clients. This simple tip might spell being paid on time or if at all.
Incentivize Early Payments
Remember that your practice should be treated like a business. Businesses encourage early payment by giving out discounts to their prompt payers.
That 1% to 2% discount “promo” might be the answer for your liquidity woes. Surely, who would pass up the opportunity to save by just settling 10 days before the obligation?
Certainly, most financially stable clients would not.
Penalize Late Payments
If credit card companies can make customers pay out of fear of more costs, the same strategy can be applied in our business.
As a dignified practice, we deserve to be paid on time. And adding penalties would compensate for that waiting time.
Also, we can send out polite reminders for their past due accounts. As long as it’s phrased nicely, the client would not mind receiving such.
You never know, they really might have just forgotten about it.
The freelancing and remote working world paved the way for everyone to establish his/her own practice. With people new to this business, I hope these tips help you build up for your financial future.