29% of invoices to freelancers are paid late (1). Imagine taking up several high intensity projects, working on them 24*7, dedicating every resource you have to them but not receiving your payment on time. This has been an eternal struggle for freelancers.
Research the association for the self-employed in the UK, that is universally applicable shows that hardworking freelancers spend an average of 20 days a year just chasing late payments (2). Even with all this, 43% freelancers end up writing off at least one unpaid piece of work.
The superhero freelancer has to deliver excellent results but also has to be extremely meticulous and organized with managing their bookkeeping and invoices. Even though everything goes smoothly, there is a very high chance that clients will be frustratingly late with their payments.
Legal action is never a practical option with freelancers because of a disparity in bargaining power that has always existed in the industry. Freelancers depend on recurring jobs from the same clients for a sustained source of business and referrals also play a huge role in getting a steady stream of projects. Getting caught up in a legal conflict with a client can seriously hinder business.
Eventually, every freelancer, especially the ones providing services with larger cheque sizes experience a cash crunch. The freelancer business like any other SME requires investments in equipment, marketing and business development to expand their expertise and accelerate growth. But late payments put a hard stop on the growth.
On average, 90% of late invoices are delayed by a month (3). This needs to change. How can a freelancer get paid on time?
1. Partial payment upfront — While this is a rational approach, clients always have the upper hand in payment term negotiations — so freelancers do not succeed often in pushing for upfront payment.
2. Levying late payment fees — Sooner or later the client will realise they cannot sit on the bill forever without any consequences for the same. Late payment fees would act as an incentive for clients to pay up when due. However this option could leave a bitter experience for an otherwise happy customer.
These suggestions, although logical, might not always work because of the lack of leverage that freelances they have in these situations. But there is another solution:
3. Finding a reasonable credit partner — What is the one thing that is a direct solution to a cash flow [nz3] problem? Money! Finding a reasonable trusted partner who provides a credit line at affordable rates would help freelancers sustain their business and run it efficiently, without compromising on client relationships and peace of mind.
At Friz, we want you to hand over all your financial stress to us, while you focus on what you do best, focus on the art of Gig. We are working tirelessly to build a solution that celebrates the art of freelance — join us by being a part of our waitlist at www.usefriz.com.
If you are a freelancer who has a story to tell about your experience with banking or just wants to chat — drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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