How to Ensure Payment as a Freelancer

This is a guest post by Sara Fletcher .

As a freelancer, the danger of terrible clients is always apparent. There are a number of client horror stories on the internet, ranging from funny anecdotes to sad tales of woe. However, many of these stories hit upon the client’s denying payment, which is no laughing matter. With the amount of work that a freelancer puts into a project, refusal of payment can be especially damaging.

The following tips can help freelancers protect themselves against fraudulent clients, and increases the chances that their checks will arrive on time:

Do a Preliminary Search:
Clients often conduct extensive search checks on their prospective contactor, making sure that their work meets their standards. However, there is no reason why freelancers cannot do the same thing. Check out the client’s social media profiles and reviews, if you are using a job board. In addition, check on whether their profiles are available on client databases. If they have a standing record of non-payment and failure to meet contracts, then it may be best to move on.

Obtain Signatures:
If you have a contact or a type of binding document with a client, make sure that they contain signatures.  In addition, make sure that email correspondences between you and the client are clear, and they explicitly detail the client’s agreement. Not only will this make the client’s intentions clear, this will also help protect yourself in the case that the relationship turns nasty.

Payment Methods:
As a freelancer, asking for upfront payment is a common tactic to ensure that you get compensated for your work. Depending on the industry of your business, you may be able to ask for upwards of 50% or 75% of your payment upfront. Don’t be shy about asking for upfront payment, or alternative methods of payment. In addition, make sure that you don’t undercharge, as this may set a precedent that is hard to come back from. Your goal is to ensure that you get paid; therefore, making terms clear from the beginning can save you trouble in the long run.

Don’t Give them a Reason to Not Pay:
Regardless of whether your clients do or do not have the intention to pay, make sure that it doesn’t arise as a result of your actions. Make sure that you send your invoices on time, as this will demonstrate your proactive-ness and attention to detail. Sending your invoice late may give a negative impression, as if payment is not a high priority on your list. In addition, freelancers should also ensure that they are able to accept payment quickly and easily. Use online methods such as Paypal or Quickbooks; only allowing checks can have you waiting for up to weeks at a time.

Even the best of freelancers can be foiled by the worst of clients. However, by staying vigilant and practicing proper procedures, freelancers can increase the chances that their checks arrive in the mail.

Photo Credit: webdesignledger.com

Sara Fletcher is interested in emotional intelligence and how it relates to every aspect of our lives. She loves to explore psychology, business, and sports in relation to emotional intelligence certification.

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