Today we want to share 5 steps to guarantee you to get paid as a freelancer. Freelancer roles are growing in popularity as people want a more flexible approach to work. Instead of working for a company and being forced to do certain hours, you can work for yourself. Go out there and find new clients, set your own rates, and determine your own hours.
Freelancing has loads of benefits, but it also comes with a few concerns. Primarily, you might be worried about getting paid for your work. Some freelancers will wait months before seeing any money from clients. In extreme scenarios, you might not get paid at all.
However, these problems usually affect new freelancers. Why? Because you’re unaware of the steps to go through to ensure you always get paid as quickly as possible. So, follow these tips to avoid being fleeced out of money by dodgy clients:
Every freelancer needs to draw up some basic freelance contracts to give to clients when services are offered. They don’t need to be fancy, they are basically an agreement that the client will pay for your services.
On your contract you should include:
- A full description of the work you’re doing
- A timeline describing when the work should be delivered
- How much you are charging for the project
- When you expect to be made
- How the client can pay
If you send this over and get the client to sign it – along with yourself – you have created a legally-binding document. This can be used as evidence if the client doesn’t pay you or tries to drag the payment out way beyond the initially scheduled date.
Create and send out invoices
Invoices are used to show clients exactly how much they owe and when they need to pay you. If you don’t send an invoice, a client can argue that they didn’t know how much the final bill would be. They could claim to be waiting for you to send the invoice their way, which is why they haven’t paid.
If you do business online, you can use invoicing software to help you send automated emails to clients once the work is complete. Alternatively, you can download a professional invoice template and send it to the client yourself. In either case, ensure your invoice dictates exactly what’s owed, when they owe it, and how they can pay.
Follow-up when you hear nothing back
Sending out your initial invoice isn’t always enough to get customers to pay you. A lot of the time, you will be paid soon after the invoice goes out. However, tricky clients may try to drag things out for as long as possible.
Sometimes, this isn’t done maliciously or with the intention to rip you off. The client could be a business with cash flow problems, and they’re worried that paying you now could leave them with money problems. Sending follow-up emails reminding them of payments is a good idea for two reasons.
One: it gives some clients a friendly reminder, which can spur them into paying you. It is entirely feasible that they just forgot because they’ve been so busy.
Two: it enables you to enter a dialogue with the client and arrange a later payment date if necessary.
If they’re still not paying up, you need to keep pestering them until the money comes your way. Seeing as they signed a contract, you can threaten legal action if things are getting out of hand and they’re not paying you.
Implement a simple payment system
Make it easy for clients to pay you. For example, accept payments via bank transfers or other convenient and common means. PayPal is always popular amongst freelancers because it is so simple for clients to use. They just need your PayPal email address, and the money gets sent in an instant.
This also helps if you have clients all over the world. PayPal – and other payment systems – are universal, so you can be paid in any currency and get the money instantly. Make life easier for your clients and you should see faster payments.
Charge in advance
Another method to guarantee you get paid is by charging clients in advance. Now, this won’t appeal to some clients, but there is a way to get more to select this method. Simply offer a discount on your services for advanced payments!
They pay you beforehand, so you feel secure, and they benefit from a discount. These steps will help you get paid by your clients with minimal issues. Of course, there is one main step to briefly go over. Your life is a lot easier if you research your clients before agreeing to any projects. See if they are legitimate, look to see if there are reports from other freelancers about withheld payments. If you are certain you’re doing business with a trusted client, there’s less chance that you won’t get paid.