Just because you
complete a job, doesn't mean that the client is going to pay on time or even
pay at all. So, what's a free spirit to do? Rather than wear the hat of a
credit collector, take precautionary measures early on in your client -
freelancer relationship. And it will be a relationship that is worth your
time and their money.
CHECK CREDIT REPORTS & REFERENCES:
A client is most likely checking your references. Why not check theirs? Ask
former employees about the work environment, surf the Internet for company
news and do a credit check. Credit reports include the company's credit
status, legal and collection agency filings, payment behaviors and trends,
as well as company background information.
The client will probably ask you to sign some sort of work-for-hire
document. Make them do the same. Insist on a contract. Specify the payment
schedule, cost of your service and any terms that were mutually agreed upon
between you and the client. If for some reason a client won't sign the
contract, then don't work for them.
DOWN PAYMENTS / RETAINERS:
You may want to have clients pay a deposit up front to show that they are
good for the money, especially if you will encounter out-of-pocket expenses.
Don't forget to take the retainer amount out of the final invoice total.
TERMS OF PAYMENT:
Make sure to use net 10 on your contracts. This means that your client has
10 days to pay the money that they owe you. You might also want to consider
implementing a late fee for any monies not paid on time. Just as you would
be penalized for missing your deadlines, so should your client.
WORK WITH A STAFFING FIRM:
There are companies out there who will assist you in writing a winning
resume, interview preparation, compensation negotiation and they get
you paid. You should not have to pay these companies a fee. It should be
included in what they bill their clients. Be extremely wary of any staffing
company that wants to charge you!
Freelancers are not only paid by us, we
take out their taxes, direct deposit their paychecks, and in the next few
months, we will be offering freelancers
unprecedented access to health insurance at group rates, says Anne Maxfield, President of Project
Solvers, a New York-based agency that
places freelance personnel in fashion, apparel and design related
days, freelancers have more options and opportunities available to them than
ever before. If you're afraid of dealing with delinquent clients, hook up
with a company such as Project Solvers. Otherwise, be professional, expect
the same of your clients and follow the guidelines above. Good Luck!