Collecting money from clients who refuse to pay you can be really frustrating and challenging.
As a freelancer or a gig worker, you likely have a certain amount of overhead that requires you to get paid in a timely fashion in order to keep the business going.
And when clients don’t pay their invoices, this can put you in a bad situation.
So in this post, we’re going to explore 5 tips that you can use to help avoid this kind of issue so that you can get paid on time and keep those balances up to date, keep the cash flow coming in, and keep your overhead from burying you in a deficit.
Let’s talk about it.
1. Vet Clients Carefully
This is one of those “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” tips.
In other words, this is something you can do before taking on the project.
But you always want to try to vet clients to make sure that they have a good reputation for paying freelancers.
This can be challenging to do.
However, the more work and care you put into this part of the project, the higher the likelihood that you’ll actually work with clients who tend to pay their freelancers.
Note: You can also set up milestone payments to help mitigate the risk of not getting paid over the course of the project.
Gigly describes milestone payments like this:
“Milestone payments are interim payments that allow you to get paid for every completed stage of a project. They’re sort of like progress payments in that when you make 10% progress on a project, you’re paid for 10% of the total negotiated rate. Depending on the size and scope of the project, you might have two milestones or ten. It all depends on the agreement you’ve made with your client and how frequently you want and need to be paid.”
2. Check References
If you know that this client is working with other freelancers, send them a quick message to inquire about the client.
This is never a bad idea.
Once again, this is one of those preventative measures.
Structuring your deals so that you get paid for at least a part of the project in advance is also a good idea, especially when working with new clients who you’ve never done work with before.
3. Respectfully Remind Them Of The Bill
If you bill a client and don’t hear back from them about it, there’s nothing wrong with sending them a gentle reminder notice.
This usually takes the form of a very kind and professional email, simply reminding them of the fact that the invoice is due and that it would be super helpful for them to pay it at the earliest possible convenience.
4. Have A Conversation
If the invoice doesn’t get paid, it’s in your best interest to try to have an actual conversation about the issue.
If possible, have this conversation either over the phone or in person, not over email or text.
The reason for this is because you can generally find out more about exactly what’s going on when you actually talk to the person.
Ask the client in a very professional manner if there have been any problems, and/or let them know that it’s really important for your business that invoices get paid on time so that you can continue to pay your own expenses.