How a Freelancer can get Paid on Time
Being a freelancer can be great but it can also be hard work. Freelancers have to juggle projects and client meetings whilst ensuring the bills get paid on time. The later is arguable the most important and needs to be managed properly.
Freelancers are prone to neglect the payment process and it is too often considered as an afterthought. In the worst case, a freelancer will commit the ultimate sin and will assume payment just because the client is happy with your work. Unfortunately it is not as straight forward as this and communication can break down very quickly leaving you short. This article will discuss some useful ways of ensuring you get paid on time.
Discuss Terms Upfront
This may seem obvious but it is often neglected by less experienced freelancers. It is necessary to discuss money as soon as the project details have been outlined if you want to appear professional in the eyes of your client. Things can can become very difficult very quickly if you jump straight into the project and only discuss funds further down the line. It will become far too easy for the client to undercut your estimate and if much of the work is already done, you may be left with no other choice but to accept.
In short, you should never begin any project before clarifying your payments. Even working on an interesting project will not be enough to keep you going if you are not getting paid. Once the initial motivation and excitement subsides you will be left wondering how and when you will get paid.
Keep Yourself on Schedule
Before commencing a project it is wise to ensure your skills are capable of fulfilling the project work required. It is also recommended that you include a rough estimate for the development time-frame during the planning stages. Based on the amount of work required you will have to adjust your time-frame accordingly. It is useful to add a little extra time to your schedule as it will always look much better to finish a project early than underestimate and fall behind.
A carefully planned schedule is essential to keep you and your client on the same page. This may require weekly meetings or phone conversations to provide feedback on the progress so far. By keeping a close professional relationship with your client you will gain your client’s respect, which will ultimately increase your chances of getting paid on time.
Payment methods such as wire transfers and cheques are possibilities but require much more trust on your behalf. Thankfully it is standard practice nowadays to use digital methods such as PayPal or Google Checkout. The great thing about these digital methods is that the money can be in your account almost instantly. Dealing with a trusted PayPal member adds an extra level of security and means you are much less likely to be left short on money.
Drafting contracts can be confusing and even stressful if you’re new to freelancing but it is a vital concept hen it comes to working on larger projects.
The most important aspect in the contract should be the method of payment. The total project estimation or hourly wage should be made clearly visible to both parties. The full extent of the project functionality should be carefully detailed in the contract to prevent any confusion from either party as to what should be expected. This will guard against frustrating problems such as scope-creep and requests for free amendments after the payment is made.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your client so that you both agree on the various points outlined. Always keep a local copy for your own records as it will be your best argument against a client who is unwilling to pay.