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Charging late fees as a freelancer

Late payments are a real pain. We know the struggle of sending those reminder emails for unpaid invoices. Many freelancers have taken to the concept of late fee on invoice payments if invoices are paid late. This assures their payment on time and also gives the client that you are a serious business and want to have things more organised.

Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

What are late fees?

In simple terms it is an additional cost, specifically associated with whether a client pays on time. “On time” is based on whatever terms you set up and agree to in your contract (net-15, net-30, etc.). For example: If the bill is $200 and the late fee is 1% per month, then the fee is always $2 per month regardless of how many months late the payment is.

Are they legal?

In most of the cases, it is absolutely within your right to ask for late fees. Asking for a predefined and a reasonable amount is allowed and make sure that you mention this upfront in your contract and make sure that the client is aware of it.

Reasons to charge a late fee:

Cash flow

Businesses run and grow on money coming in and same implies to freelancers. If you see that money is not coming in to pay your expenses, you will either need to find a job or take out debt to pay ongoing expenses. Neither of those situations are pleasant. So, if a client pays late, the additional fee is compensation that can be tucked away to help cover expenses and make sure that from next time he pays it on time.


It acts as a motivating factor for your client to make the payment on time and not take you for granted at the end of the job. This is a great way to motivate them than calling and following up multiple times with them in the due course.

Finally, Friz also offers invoice financing solutions and helps you to get your money even before your client pays you. This way you can also eliminate the risk of getting paid late and we can cover that for you. No one takes ownership for your work so make sure that you are paid on time and correctly.

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