Today, when the world is going through a crisis of all forms because of the lockdown in force due to COVID-19, on-line jobs are seeing a boom. The reason is simple; everyone can work from home. There is money in such jobs, but there is a hitch. On having submitted your work, how sure can you be of getting your dues cleared when you most require them? Being paid as a freelancer can either be incredibly rewarding or stressful depending on your situation.
Freelancers are generally optimistic. The moment they get a client, their happiness knows no bounds.
This is sometimes short-lived as the same happiness fades as quickly as it came when the freelancers do not see their invoices being credited frequently.
Freelancers are not the only people who are affected by such clients and such situations.
They have families and even sometimes other staff who might be working with them.
Here we are discussing how to get paid quickly, reliably, and without having to worry when your invoice will be paid.
There might be many reasons for this such as some wrongly or badly created invoices.
There are a number of freelance invoice generator programs available on the net.
One of the best invoicing software for freelancers is PeachPay.
It accepts credit cards, cryptocurrencies, and bank transfer payments as well.
However, this article presents certain tips and tricks using which freelancers can get their dues paid on time.
1. Advance Payments
There is nothing bad in asking for an advance payment before starting to work with a client.
After all, the client, in this case, is an invisible entity.
Even if we have the address, email, and phone numbers, it is of hardly any use when the client decides not to pay your invoice.
If not full, at least a Partial Payment in advance is not a bad idea.
You could also do it this way.
If you bill for time, go upfront to invoice for one to two weeks of work.
Treat the income as a credit, and subtract the sum due from this credit pool as you generate invoices in the future.
Not only is this in the interests of the freelancers, but it can also be considered as a confirmation from the freelancer’s side that the project will be handled without fail.
2. Timely Invoicing
Sending an invoice to the clients as many times as possible is the best strategy.
It works from both sides.
The freelancer receives the dues in time and the client also does not have to pay hefty amounts (though due) to the freelancer.
Some of the freelancers also work on a 30-day basis i.e. an invoice a month.
The payment may not be credited to the account in a single day.
So you might be looking at your next payment after 6 weeks or so.
Now even, there are clients who prefer paying through paper-cheques.
If that is the case, how hard you may wish, you might not find yourself receiving those cheques for a long period of time; and add to that the days taken for clearing the cheques.
3. Work on Upfront Invoices
Stop being liberal. The moment your client finds out about your generosity, the same moment you start losing the money for which you have been toiling hard with the rest of the team as well.
Let the client know that there is not going to be any work (or any further work even) if the invoices are not cleared on time.
How the client will raise the money as promised earlier is his concern, not yours.
Start working when the amount in your bank account starts swelling.
This is beneficial for both as you get payments on time and the client gets undivided attention to his project.
No longer you have to run after defaulters to clear your dues. It is much better sitting idle for some time and letting the client realize the effects of the delaying tactics he is using.
You can get your payment in advance and whenever you invoice the client, the same amount of money can be adjusted in the advance payment made by the client.
Proof. A proof of the transactions that you might be making with a client at a specific rate and within a specific period must exist.
Such proof that outlines the details of the relationship between you and the client is called a Contract.
Like I mentioned earlier, freelancers are too optimistic and liberal that they take the clients for granted.
Well, the world is not so simple.
All kinds of people live in this world.
So what type is your client, is hard to judge.
Thus the requirement of a contract.
A contract at a minimum can have terms and conditions specifying that the client gets nothing if he doesn’t pay his dues, in case the client is late in paying the dues he can be charged interest on the dues, and still if the client refuses to do so you have every right to drag such a client to court to get your dues paid.
In case the clients are not monetarily sound, ensure that they themselves guarantee the agreement with you.
5. Be Assertive
It just appears to be what I have been saying from the beginning but is slightly different.
If you are having your invoices overdue regularly, sit idle, do nothing, and let the client know you are not doing anything.
You could even have a friend or a relation doing it for you if you want to play good, or can’t do it yourself, and still tell the clients that you don’t work for free.
Let them know that not only they but you also have to manage resources to be used in the client’s project.
Non-payment will bring a halt to all such actions.
6. Make Clear Invoices
So far we have been trying to see how to control the client. However, this regards our own self.
Whenever you are sending our invoices, you need to ensure they are easily understood and all the details are provided.
The invoices may not land up with the clients but may go directly to the accounts payable department.
You need to treat this as an art and script your invoices nicely.
Do it and you will notice that your payments are coming on time.
Once again this is for the freelancer and not the clients.
Though you need to be stern with your clients, you don’t have to shout at them.
Tell them your problem in a very polite and professional manner.
This is the best way to attract clients.
Also, show to the clients that you can do what others can’t.
Show them the edge you have over other freelancers.
Do some homework when a new client approaches you.
Before both of you agree to work together, know about the past history of the client.
The client may have ditched some other already before turning to you.
This could be bad news for you as well.
Do your part and avoid falling prey to such clients.
You can get to know about such clients from others who have worked with the said client or you can get to know about the client from certain web sites that rank companies.
A lower rank definitely means the client cannot be trusted.
9. Flexible Rates
Some clients who approach you may not be able to pay what you charge.
So you could be stubborn and lose a client or you could be a bit flexible and retain the client and also get your due invoices on time.
The later strategy is always good.
10. Different Payment Methods
Let the client have different modes by which he can pay.
It is not necessary that instant cash will be available with the client always.
These days there are a number of apps that help transfer the payment from one person to another. Examples are, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, Cash App, AliPay etc.
Let’s Wrap Up
Working as a freelancer is not an easy job. You don’t become a freelancer by just knowing a particular skill.
You need to have more than that. How you are going to get the payment from an unwilling client is a skill you need to possess.
You may use a strategy that can range from taking advance payments to stopping the client’s work if payment is not received.
You can also have someone dictate the consequences of delayed payment to the client to get your dues cleared.
This all depends upon the understanding between you and the client.
Also, if you want to be paid on time, make sure that you interact with your client regularly, set reasonable standards and have invoiced them correctly.
Whatever understanding you have just ensured that you get paid regularly.
It is money the whole world is after.
Why not you?
Also Read: The Importance of Quality Content