A common complaint I hear from freelancers is how slow clients pay.
I know what they’re talking about because for the first few years of my freelance career I had the same problem.
I’d write some sales copy for a client, get it approved and then check the mail for weeks hoping the check would arrive.
This can clearly create some serious cash flow problems. And it did.
It finally caused enough pain to motivate me to do something about it.
Today, I don’t worry much about “slow paying clients.” Here’s why.
What I Did to Get Freelance Clients To Pay Faster
1) Set the expectation up front: Instead of tip-toeing around the subject of money I embrace it head on. As soon as I can I bring up my price range so I can qualify the prospect on the discovery call. If they’re qualified I let them know how I charge, which is usually 50% down and 50% in 30 days.
2) Don’t wait on them: That last point is worth repeating. I charge 50% down and 50% in 30 days. I used to charge 50% down and 50% upon project completion. I learned that was a mistake because a client can hold up a project by not granting final approval, which in turn holds up payment. So don’t do that.
3) Find out who writes the checks: A lot of times the business owner is not the one processing payments. So I’ve learned to get connected to the person who writes the checks. Then when it comes time to invoice them I email them directly and cc the owner too. I find this speeds up the payment process.
4) Follow up: I’ve also gotten in the habit of asking the person who writes the checks, “When can I expect payment?” I try to do this politely but firmly. In fact I just did this earlier today. I sent a $2,900 invoice over to a client I have on a monthly marketing retainer on Monday. And today I followed up and asked when I could expect payment. He simply emailed back, “Your check was mailed this afternoon.” I love hearing that!
5) Pay your freelancers quickly: I believe that you reap what you sow. So I also include this in the list because I believe it plays a part in all of this. Whenever someone sends me a bill I try to pay them on or before their due date. I avoid paying late as much as possible because I think we should treat others the way we want to be treated. Pretty simple, right?
So hope these tips help you get paid faster. When you’re a freelancer it’s so important you manage cash flow well. And getting paid can help that a lot.