Freelancers of all types know that the only way to keep afloat is to work with clients and customers who pay on time, without hassle. Most potential contacts will seem very trustworthy, and unfortunately it’s not until after you have submitted your work or performed your service that the waiting game begins. So what is a savvy business person to do, especially when you don’t want to lose future sales from them or get a bad reputation? Here are some solutions that everyone working for themselves should take to heart before they begin collaborating with a new client.
Create a Contract
Many clients will come to you with contracts, but you – the one providing the service – should have a contract for them as well. Your price quote, project due date and invoice due date should all be clearly stipulated, but some of the savviest business people out there will include late fees for each week that payment is not issued. In a lot of instances, the knowledge that they will have to pay even more is enough to motivate them to release funds on time.
Ask for a Down Payment
Particularly when you are working on large projects, asking for a down payment is a very wise move. Not only does it show the client that you value your work (and they should, too), it ensures that you don’t get stiffed by someone untrustworthy. A 50 percent down payment or the 30/30/40 method (30 percent upfront, 30 percent in the middle and the last 40 percent upon completion) are both acceptable.
Have an Invoice Ready
You might try a free printable invoice template to create a professional invoice that you use for all your clients, which includes your late payment policy at the end. Before you turn in your final draft, shoot them a friendly email telling them their work is completed and asking them to look over the invoice to make sure everything is correct.
What freelancers might enjoy in terms of freedom they more than make up for in sudden worrying about dishonest clients, so a preventative plan is absolutely imperative.