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If, like thousands of others, you are making your living from a freelance lifestyle and working from home, either blogging or with your own small business, then you will be all-too familiar with the late payments that go hand-in-hand with your life as a solo business. There are few things more frustrating than completing work for someone, only to then have to follow it up with a multitude of emails and messages asking for final payment. It’s annoyingly one of the lesser known evils of the business. Below, you’ll find some ways that might make getting your payments on time just that little bit easier.
Make Your Invoices Clear
One of the most important terms you can lay out on your invoices is when you expect to be paid. Whilst businesses used to give 30 days, that is all changing since we don’t need to rely on cheques coming through the postal service to receive payment any longer. With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to ask for payment within a week. You worked hard to meet the customer’s demands, and prompt payment is an acknowledgement of that. A Xerox study has shown that, even though they will still exceed the due date, invoices which ask for prompt payment will still be paid within a shorter time frame than those which give a longer deadline. Make your terms clear.
Get a Deposit
Some people will seemingly just vanish off the face of the earth when you have completed the work for them. However, you are far less likely to get cancellations with little to no notice if you have asked customers to pay you a deposit. On another note, even if you are struggling to get the remainder of the payment from them once you have completed the order, at least you will have something to show for it. A fifty percent deposit is usual but, if the order requires more specialist materials which you will have to pay for out of pocket, then it’s reasonable to ask for more. Just be clear with the customer when you discuss the initial terms.
Send Your Invoice to the Person with the Money
Depending on who you’re working with, the customer who made the order may not be the same as the person who will ultimately organize your payment. If you’re in any doubt, it’s worth asking the question before you send the invoice. You can always send it to your original customer with Finance cc’d in, but emails disappear into people’s inboxes all the time and, although your payment is your top priority, it may not be your customer’s.
Don’t be Afraid to Get Professional Guidance
If you’re really struggling to get an amount that you’re owed, it’s definitely worth seeking some professional help and guidance. Debt Recovery Solicitors will be able to advise you on the best course of action in order to reclaim money that you may be owed. Although it might be tempting to write it off rather than seeking legal action, you should value yourself and your business highly and so getting some legal advice will put you in the best possible position.
As freelancers, we sometimes don’t place enough value on the work we do and the money we should be paid. Don’t let your customers take advantage of you – half the battle is not just having an amazing product or service to offer but acting professionally in your business. You deserve to be paid for the work you do, and don’t let your customers do you wrong.