Being a freelancer is great, but like every business it does have its challenges. One of the main challenges we face as freelancers is when clients don’t pay for our services. It can be frustrating at times when you put in so much work only to spend hours chasing a payment.
Thankfully there is a 3 step process to help with this freelancing issue – the Check, Chase and Choose. In this article I will walk you through what the 3 Cs are and how you can use them.
What brought about the 3Cs?
A study was conducted on freelance web designers and it was discovered that 6 out of 10 of them had to wait for months past their invoice due date to get paid. And some didn’t get paid at all. Oftentimes such freelancers had to write-off such payments. At the end of the day, all effort put into the freelance project ends up to be a waste of time. Which amounts to a huge loss for the freelancer.
Although this study was only conducted on freelance web designers, there is a high chance that there are so many other freelancers in various industries facing the same problem. Some freelancers are forced to borrow money to be able to feed themselves and pay their bills.
The only way out of this massive issue is be extremely vigilant and proactive when the client seems to delay payment.
Step #1 Check
Although the case is not the same with every freelancer, one of the reasons why some freelancers are paid long after the due date on their invoices is because their clients experience a hitch with their invoices. Either the client ends up not receiving an invoice or the invoice is not produced when the project commences. Most times freelancers will interpret silence from the client’s end as “all is well” only to find out the contrary.
In such an instance, as a freelancer you must check back with the client to find out if your client received the invoice. You should also check the client is aware of the due date. The sooner you check on your client the better. Don’t let a week pass by without checking in on your client to find out if they received their invoice or if they experienced hitches. This will save you from future payment issues.
You should also ensure the invoice is produced in the right format in order to avoid payment delays.
Step #2 Chase
Once you have confirmed that your client received their invoice, the next thing you need to focus on is chasing after your money. This stage is all about reminding your client of the payment date. And the options you have by right to recover your money from your client.
When you are approaching your payment date, make sure that you remind your client about the payment date. Especially if your payment date states within 30 days. Some clients may have forgotten all about you.
If your client delays payment to the last day, alert your client on the actions you can take against him or her for your payment.
Step #3 Choose
If after all the notices and warnings your client has still not paid, the next step to take is to choose any of the options available to you to recover the money your client owes you. The most common action is to sue your client for the payment of your fees.
This is why it is extremely important to have a freelance contract with your client. In the contract your rights and duties as well as the rights and duties of your client are clearly written. It makes it so much easier to take action for the recovery of your fees when you have a legal contract backing you up.
Personally, I hardly ever agree to wait 30 days for an invoice to be paid. I feel it is too long and all kinds of things may have happened within those 30 days. I am more comfortable with a 0 – 7 working days payment date. And I get that 96% of the time.
How do you deal with unpaid invoices? Please share your tried and tested tips.