We've all been there. A client asks us to do some work, we do it, we send the bill and then...nothing. We contact them to ask for a payment, but they appear to have vanished from Earth. They might even ask us to do more work without getting paid for what we've already done. Don't do it. Peter Daisyme is a co-founder at Hostt, a website hosting service that is very useful to freelancers. As a small business owner and former accountant, he has learned how to get paid on time. Here are a few tips he offers.
Be polite and respectful, firstly. If you're not, why would clients strive to pay you on time? You should also have a professional appearance online. Post client reviews on a professional-looking website and keep your portfolio up to date. Build your reputation as a true professional.
While this can't always prevent problems, you should look around the web to see what you can find about your potential clients. Check Linkedin profiles, any reviews of them or their business, and BBB ratings.
Ask for Payments up Front
Asking for a full payment or a percentage up front is common. Don't be afraid to do it. Ask for 30 percent up front if you're doing a big, flat rate project. If you're being paid for time, ask for the first week up front. If a client won't agree to it, at least you will have avoided potential problems.
Sign up for PayPal and Invoice ASAP
You're going to get paid more quickly if your clients can pay easily. Send your invoices by email as quickly as you can. Use PayPal, Authorize.net or another service. Set up profiles for your clients so you can get the invoices done easily.
Put Everything in Writing
Make sure everything you agree on, with your clients, is in writing. Get a signature if you can. Try adapting Rocket Lawyer's service agreement template to your needs. This document will help you solve disputes and if you have to litigate, its terms will be a big part of the solution.