One of the main problems that freelancers will come across, particularly in the early days, is getting paid. Getting new clients in and doing a great job for them is all well and good, as long as they pay!
Here are my tips on how to avoid having to deal with a dodgy client so that you minimize stress and maximise revenue. Following these tips will reduce the risk of coming across payment issues, and make it far less likely that you experience problems.
Ask for a deposit. One of the most effective ways of ensuring that you are not left at a loss, and don’t have trouble getting payment from a client is to ask for a deposit that will cover any outlay costs. Asking for a deposit is also a good way of reducing the stress of a client not paying, as a client who is willing to give you a deposit is less likely to run off without paying than one who refuses.
Always take the client’s name, address and telephone number. One of the first things that you should do when you secure a client is to ask for their name, address and telephone number. Having all of your clients details will help to ensure that you have a number of ways of contacting them is if there is a problem with payment. It also reduces the risk of them simply disappearing once you have completed their work. Having a telephone number also helps if you need to get hold of a client whilst you are doing work for them, in case there are any problems or questions you need to ask them.
Insist your client signs your Terms and Conditions. It may be worth getting some client terms and conditions written up for your clients to sign before you start work for them. Having a signed copy of your terms and conditions reduces the risk of having problems with payments. It also means that you have documented evidence of your agreement if the worst case scenario happens and you end up in a small claims court.
Don’t be afraid to get tough. Some clients will always push their luck. Many clients will be busy individuals and simply need a polite reminder to settle their accounts with you. However, some clients will deliberately use delay tactics to avoid paying altogether. If you have waited a reasonable amount of time, after sending a polite reminder, if have still not received payment, then you shouldn’t be afraid to get tough, but still be polite with the client. You provide a professional service, and if your client doesn’t pay, then they have effectively stolen from you, so act accordingly.
Written by Samantha Linnane. Sam is a transcriptionist for Transcription City Typing Services in London UK.Learn More