Getting paid on time is incredibly important for all freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. Late payments can have a negative impact on your cash flow as well as damaging client-freelancer relations. Chasing clients for late payments also wastes your time and takes your focus away from important paying work.
Thankfully, there are ways to increase the chances your clients will pay on time and preferably earlier than expected. When enacted, these strategies can ensure you receive regular and prompt payments on time, and nearly every time.
Below are just 10 ways to get paid faster as a freelancer thereby reducing the strains and stresses late invoice payments can bring.
Set clear payment terms
Make sure new clients read your freelancer payment terms before any work begins or agreements are made. Your terms are what define your payment processes and help clients understand just what you expect and require of them. Terms can include payment timeframes, payment methods, late payment fines, and notice periods. The terms can be published on your website and in documents such as project proposals and deposit invoices.
Get a payment upfront
Always get an upfront payment before working with new clients. Many freelancers ask for a 50% deposit before work begins but a 25% or 30% upfront fee is also common. A pre-work payment acts as a litmus test by weeding out any unscrupulous clients who might treat paying as optional rather than mandatory. You also keep a client more engaged with the project, as they have already invested money in your services, and are more likely to pay promptly once the work is completed.
Quick invoicing, whether before or after a project, helps ensure you get paid faster. Clients recognise your speed and so treat payment as a more urgent task than they might if you send the invoice days later. Fast invoicing is also easier when you set up reoccurring client profiles, invoice templates, and automated billing, which are all features we provide at Invoice Ninja. You can send a new invoice within a couple of minutes and get a notification when the client reads it.
Set a shorter payment timeframe
It’s often seen as a standard for freelancers to set a 30-day invoice payment period but this needn’t be the case. When you set a payment date so far into the future, it’s easy for clients to drop your invoice into their ‘deal with later’ file, which gets delayed and delayed. By setting a payment date of just 14 days, or even 7 days, the client is more likely to deal with the invoice sooner rather than later.
Make it easy for clients to pay
The easier it is for clients to pay your invoice, the faster you get paid. One great solution to make things easier for your client is to provide a payment gateway directly via your invoice. The client just needs click a few buttons and then you’re paid immediately. At Invoice Ninja we provide over 45 different secure payment gateway solutions for freelancers, small businesses, and clients worldwide, including PayPal, Dwolla, Bitcoin and various credit cards.
Send visually attractive invoices
Appearance matters, especially in business, and this includes the look and design of your invoice. A dull black and white invoice will look the same as every other invoice a client sees. On the other hand, one that’s colourful, distinctive, and attractive in appearance will stand out in their minds. This can help clients to remember your invoice and nudge them towards paying promptly.
Build a memorable brand
It’s not just your invoices that need to be memorable. That same applies to your overall brand, even when you’ve completed the project. Your brand is everything your client perceives you to be, from the work you carry out through to your character and communication skills, as well as your brand’s design. Make sure all of these are of a high quality. Excelling in your work will ensure repeat business and clients eager to get your invoices paid.
Clearly list and describe your services
Sometimes payment disputes can arise because a client has forgotten why a certain project costs what it does. It’s important to itemize your freelance invoice and detail every facet of the services provided. This helps business owners see what they are paying for and reduces the chances they will delay payment by asking questions or making complaints.
Create a late payment follow-up sequence
When a client is late with a payment, you can increase the chances of being paid quickly by sending out late invoice payment reminders. Send this reminder 24 hours after the due date and then again a few days later if payment is still pending. You can even set up automatic invoice reminder emails to ensure you don’t waste time following up with late paying clients.
Choose clients wisely
Some clients are just trouble and whatever fast payment systems and tactics you have in place, they will always pay late, or worse still, never at all. These are clients from hell and are best avoided wherever possible. There are ways to spot these troublesome prospects before agreeing to work on their project like the early warnings signs of a bad freelance client we’ve written about before.
When you’re paid on time, you can focus on delivering great work for clients rather than stressing over missing payments and worrying about cash flows.
Get paid faster as a freelancer by incorporating these strategies into your business.