5 tips for getting paid

Manage your dollars

The thrill of the first job as a freelancer wears off pretty quickly if you’re not paid. In fact, all of the benefits of self-employment diminish when cashflow is slow or non-existent. Here are 5 tips for getting paid.

1. Don’t work for nothing – no matter what

Giving freebies isn’t a path to financial independence. When you work for free (volunteer, charitable work is the obvious exception), you’re telling the world what the value of your work is. Set a rate, agree woth the client and invoice promptly.

2. Value your work

When you work for a low rate, like the $25 per story things you see on many job boards these days, your resigning yourself to a life of hard labour, frustration and poverty. When you take a job for low pay you’re telling the client that’s what your work is worth.

3. Make sure the client knows you’re getting paid

Even if the client is a friend, make sure that they know you’re not working for free. It’s better to be frank and open about the pay rate and timing than to get into a nasty argument later.

4. Make your invoice crystal clear

How do you expect to be paid if the client can’t work out where to send the money? Make sure that your invoice clearly

  • shows your company name
  • the services you’ve provided and the price
  • all of the legal tax stuff you need to include. In Australian this means having the words “Tax Invoice” printed on the invoice as well as your ABN
  • payment details including bank account details, Paypal address (if you use it), due date and contact details in case there’s a problem

5. Ask and ye shall receive

Surely you don’t expect the money to magically appear in your account on the due date every time. It might not be easy but get used to asking to be paid when the due date passes. That means keeping good records, setting reminders and learning how to be firm but polite.

A bonus tip

If you still find you have a client that refuses to pay either through neglect or because they hope you’ll forget then have an escalation process in mind. Mine is to use my union. They have a debt collection service that I can use for no extra charge or commission.
What are your tips for getting paid in full and on time? Do you use a discounting system or some sort of incentive? Is there some trick you’ve found works for you?

Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 tips for getting paid Journo Advice | Journo Advice -- Topsy.com

  2. Hamish Blair

    We ask for 1/3 of the estimated fee up-front.
    Works well on larger jobs which might take a month.
    If they haven’t paid 1st instalment invoice before finalizing the work – question:will they pay in full? You might still have leverage at this point, which you lose upon delivery of final work.

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