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Nine Best Practices For Freelancers To Always Get Paid On Time

As a freelancer, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the amount of work you have to do all by yourself. A huge part of the work comes with managing freelance payments, especially when you have multiple different clients. When many requests start piling in, it’s easy to forget about the most important part of your job, which is ultimately collecting your freelance payment from the work you’ve done. Hence, this article will be sharing the top nine tips to ensure you always get paid on time.

1. Be known as a professional.

As a freelancer, you should know that your branding is the most important aspect of your business. We all know that maintaining a professional image and a good reputation is key to attaining more business and building that customer base and loyalty. However, maintaining a professional image also improves the chances and likelihood that you will get paid on time as well. The image in which you present to your clients is extremely important in setting their expectations, so if you are constantly making careless mistakes when communicating with them, or are not on time with handing in your deliverables during the project, then you have a higher risk of also not being paid on time.

2. Do some homework on prospective clients.

Always remember that your relationship with your client is a two-way street! As much as they may choose to work with you, you have as much say as to whether you want to work with them! Do make sure to do some prior research on your client, and if you notice that they may show certain patterns of being irresponsible, it is best to avoid working with them!

3. Be flexible with your rates.

It’s very common for freelancers to decline to work with certain clients because they cannot meet their rates. It’s true, you should definitely know your worth when setting your rates, and we’re not telling you to accept lowball rates from clients. However, there is definitely a higher chance of you attracting a larger pool of clients if you’re willing to be flexible on your rates based on a client’s request. Many clients are also self-starters and hence may also have their own budget to follow.

There are three choices when deciding on how to price your rates. The first way is charging at an hourly rate. By looking up websites online to find out the market rates, you can then form your own price. The next way is per project. This is where you price a total fixed cost for your services. Last but not least, the retainer basis is where you charge monthly pricing with an agreed number of hours.

4. Bill upfront.

There is nothing wrong with charging your clients before your start on the project and don’t feel guilty for doing so. However, what is a source of contention would be how much you want to charge for the upfront costs. Usually, clients pay around 20% to 30% of the entire cost, but it is definitely up to you.

5. Make it easy for clients to pay you.

In order for the payments to be made as efficiently as possible, you should also help make the process easier for yourself and the client by setting up a quick online system. It’ll be good if you could accept different types of payment so as to make the entire process as hassle-free as possible. Hence, by making it a simplified process, your client would then not have any excuse to delay payment.

Also, almost all invoicing software would allow for a set method of payment, and hence your client can easily send in your freelance payments as soon as possible!

6. Invoice promptly.

Don’t wait too long to submit your invoices. This is a huge mistake that many freelancers make. By waiting and delaying the billing process to a specific day or date, they increase the risks of their clients further delaying their payments, or forgetting about it entirely. 

Instead, you should try to make the entire process as seamless as possible by setting an automated billing system, and even offering an additional discount to clients who make their payments early!

7. Never work until you’re paid.

This is extremely important. The work that you provide should always be accounted for and rewarded. Hence, don’t accept dealing with clients who don’t treat you and your work with due respect. If the client does not follow the stipulated agreed upon payment dates, you should not continue with your services until they have done so. 

However, if this is a loyal customer who usually is on time with their payments, you could reach out to them politely to remind them that your freelance payments are due.

8. Have it in writing.

You should definitely have a proper contract with the client when the project has been agreed upon. This contract is to provide certainty to both the freelancer and the client, and definitely prevents most forms of unprofessionalism. Also, it helps to ensure that both parties have full clarification on the scope of the project, and what is to be expected. It should contain many intricate details, and definitely should have a section regarding freelance payments.

9. Call in the calvary.

So, what if you’ve done all you could as a freelancer, like calling, emailing, messaging, and you still cannot get your client to pay? In the best case, you are able to reach out to someone who can help you handle these difficult clients. However, most of us don’t have such an option. In the direst situations, you may have to get an attorney or hire a debt collector to provide a warning letter to the client and threaten legal action. 

It’s definitely a frustrating situation to be in, as a freelancer, when dealing with difficult clients. However, never forget that your work should always be paid for! Hence, with these tips, we hope that your freelancing journey is made easier, and you get your freelance payments on time!

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