Strategies To Help You Collect Payment for Your Work
People who work as freelancers or contractors must wear many hats, including that of a bill collector. Unfortunately, when clients don’t pay on time or at all, you may want to walk away, but that won’t prevent the same problem from happening again. Instead, take these steps to get the pay you deserve for your work.
Vet Potential Clients
As a freelancer, you don’t have a steady income and must work hard to create cash flow by finding new clients. In most cases, potential clients will ask you about your prior experience, to see samples, and check references to ensure they are working with a legitimate and competent service provider. Before agreeing to work for someone, you must also perform due diligence by looking for clues indicating potential non-payment. These include:
- Requests for you to work on spec
- Requests for you to agree to non-traditional payment methods
- Requests for you to submit tax documents, including W2 forms
- Requests to communicate outside of official freelance platforms
Create a Specific Contract
Creating a contract between you and a potential client is a critical step to take before agreeing to work. Be sure to include a description of the project’s entire scope and terms for additional work that may become necessary for its successful completion. A contract with as many details as possible will indicate your professionalism and help you avoid any misunderstandings regarding your responsibilities.
Include Payment Plans
Milestone payment plans allow you to be paid for your work as it progresses and support discontinuing your work if your client does not make a payment. Divide your project into stages and establish an appropriate payment amount that is due before each stage.
Requesting a deposit before starting every new job is the best way to offset any expenses necessary to complete it. A non-refundable deposit will minimize your losses if your client stops paying or fails to honor a pre-arranged payment schedule.
Have a Conversation
Clients may neglect to pay their invoices for various reasons. The only way to know the reason for non-payment is to discuss your concerns. If your client is dissatisfied with your work, you might have an opportunity to improve its quality, or, if your client is having cash-flow problems, you might be able to create an alternative payment plan. When non-payment is due to oversight, most clients will be happy to extend payment immediately.