It happened to all of us. It does not matter if you are a freelancer or running a small business. We all have come in a situation to face clients that are not paying or being late with payments. In order to run a successful business and protect your cash flow if you are a freelancer, each of us has to have a strict organization in the client communication.
Here are several rules you must do in order to avoid not-getting-paid situations:
- Add Payment Terms and Project specifications in writing – either in the agreement contract or in each invoice to make sure the client is informed
- Research the client before you start working with him/her – do a simple google search and check out the client and potential reviews about that company or person online. You can check reviews on Google, Upwork, Linkedin or even Twitter.
- Have a paper trail: Email your client and ask them when you can expect the payment. Keep things professional and don’t sound too desperate. For me personally, it said: “We will pay on Monday” (it was Thursday).
- Follow-up: Wait a few days and send another email. If you have a good relationship with your client, consider an emotional approach. My client was communicating with me about recurring tasks every day so I waited and reminded him at the end of each day continuously for two weeks. The answer was always “We will send it tomorrow”.
- Do things automatically. Use software to send invoices, reminders to clients and notifications if the invoice is paid or not. That will keep you organized and you will not worry if you will forget that client or payment.
- Communicate, communicate – email, chat or even a short phone call can take you closer to getting paid. Just keep in mind to leave the emotions at home and stay professional.
Keep yourself organized from start to finish will make you a better professional, will create a better image in front of your current and potential clients and will get you paid on time. That way you will protect your cash flow and your business.