Saturday, April 20, 2024

Going Freelance: How to Get Paid on Time

November 11, 2010  
Filed under The Workplace

get paid on timeWhether you’re a graphic designer, photographer, web consultant, writer or stylist who runs your own business, there’s nothing more annoying than having to deal with clients who don’t pay on time. Times are tough, but it doesn’t excuse dilatory behavior. Maybe you come off as easygoing or your contract says too little and they are using it to their advantage. Whatever the reason, now is the chance to modify your approach.

Here are 6 Tips for Getting Paid on Time:

1.) Act professional.

Be and act professional from day one. This means staying on top of schedule, not being too lax and making sure your client fully understands your contract agreements before lending your services. Since you’re running your own show, you need to know both sides of the business (not just the creative side).

2.) Put it in writing and have them sign.

It’s vital to create a good, detailed contract. Update your current form or create a new one and have a lawyer friend look over it. Patricio Robles from’s “Eight Contact Mistakes Freelancers Make” suggests there is one term a freelancer should always insist upon: that intellectual property rights are not transferred until the full amount due under the contract has been paid.

3.) Tack on penalty interest rates for every late day.

It creates a sense of urgency. No one wants to pay extra money that could have been avoided. If you decide to implement this tactic, remember to include this in the contract.

4.) Shorten the billing cycle.

It might not be a bad idea to shorten the billing cycle as Entrepreneur pointed out. Besides, who said it had to be a 30 day policy? Instead, try creating a 15 day policy and see how it works out for you.

5.) Send organized reminders.

When sending out a reminder email, remember to also address the accounts payable department. The letter should include past due date, date of service, type of work and what can result by not paying on time.

6.) Have a talk with chronic late-payers.

Find out their reasons and discuss solutions to prevent this from happening in the future. And allow them to think in your shoes: “Like you, I’ve also got financial obligations.”

As a very last resort, there’s also the option of hiring a bill collector or going to small claims court. However, if you don’t want to sever your ties with these clients, it may be better to just wait and keep sending those reminders until you get what is yours.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!