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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.
LEGAL AGREEMENTS: 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 industries.
These 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!
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