3 Tips for Freelancers Who Feel Like They’re Always Chasing Client Payments was originally published on Firsthand.
More people than ever before are discovering the benefits of freelancing. Working for yourself means more schedule flexibility, increased freedom with where you work, and exposure to a wide variety of projects and industries. As a result, freelancing is a great way to achieve the work/life balance and career satisfaction that many people crave. However, it also comes with a few challenges, including when and how you get paid.
Whether you’re new to freelancing or have been working for yourself for years, here are some tips to help you get paid on time, every time.
1. Be honest and upfront about your payment terms
The first rule of freelancing is if you don’t ask, you don’t get—and that goes for payment, too. Before you agree to start work with a new client, make sure you’ve had a discussion about being paid. Ask them how regular their invoicing periods are. Do they expect you to invoice per project, per week, or every month?
Then negotiate your terms. If you’re relatively confident with asserting your payment terms, feel free to reach a compromise if the client’s payment terms don’t quite work with yours. After all, you’re the talent they want to work with—it might surprise you with how flexible they’re willing to be when it comes to paying.
Having these conversations upfront means you and your client start off on the right foot about payment, and it sets expectations moving forward. It also saves time, which for freelancers is essential. No one wants to spend their time constantly crafting emails about when you should expect to get paid, where your check is, etc.
2. Consider applying a late payment fee
Sometimes, despite being honest about when you want to get paid, clients are late in paying you. So, you have two options as a freelancer invoicing regularly. One is including a late payment fee on the bottom of every invoice you generate. But be sure to make your clients aware of this. It’s important to tell your clients you have a late payment fee to avoid tricky conversations further down the line. Late fees are usually 10 percent of your invoice, but some freelancers can charge more.
The second thing you could do if a client is regularly late paying you is to consider charging a deposit upfront. This works well when you’re working on a project basis, as clients will have discussed budgets with you beforehand. If you’ve had previous experience with late payments from the same client, try a deposit approach next time.
3. Suggest that clients use a freelance portal
Depending on how regularly you’re working with a client on a project, you could suggest that they use a freelance portal. Freelance portals help manage timesheets, payments, and right-to-work rights. Portals help you get paid on time by offering transparency around your time sheets and payment due dates. They also reduce your clients’ costs—portals automate payments, thus removing the need to review, process, and send invoices. In addition, portals are secure ways for clients to pay you, benefiting both you and your clients.
YunoJuno is a platform that supports the entire engagement lifecycle when working with freelancers, including finding the right team, being transparent, and communicating directly. The platform handles all aspects of contracts and time management, billing, and analytics. When setting up its company, YunoJuno recognized the frustration around freelancer payments and built a system to solve it. All freelancer bookings are paid on 14-day payment terms and are independent of client payments. These payments are protected, and clients using freelancers on YunoJuno get extended payment terms.