Monthly Archives: March 2012

Freelancer’s Nightmare: Not Getting Paid

There’s nothing worse for a freelancer than not getting paid by a client. While most clients send payment, there are those few who choose not to pay for the work they requested. This is frustrating and daunting, but there are ways to ensure you receive the money owing.

Upon completion of a project, always submit a formal invoice to your client. Be sure to include the following information in the statement being sent.

  • The client’s name or business name.
  • A detailed description of the work completed.
  • Remittance information (should also be in the contract)

Give your client a few days to respond to the invoice sent. Remember, snail mail can often take time to reach the recipient. Emails can end up in spam or junk folders, so patience is important. A great way to know if a client receives an invoice is to ask them contact you upon receipt.

Send Out Reminders

Wait approximately 5-7 business days before sending out your first reminder. Start by issuing a gentle note to  your client. It is important not to appear abrupt or harsh, as it could simply be an oversight by the client.

Sometimes a second reminder is necessary, this is the freelancer’s chance to act firmer with their statement. It is essential though, to always remain professional. Include a copy of the contract and invoice with the second reminder. Also, give the client a certain date, in which you expect to receive payment.

File a Complaint

If a client is refusing to pay, there is the option to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Available in both Canada, as well as the United States, filing a complaint with them will not guarantee you receive payment. The complaint will go against the company and hopefully prevent them from scamming someone else.

Some online freelance marketplaces, for example Elance, offers their own methods to resolve financials conflicts between contractors and clients. They offer an option to file a dispute against the client, in which they have two days to respond. From there an arbitrator could be appointed to settle the situation.

Small Claims Court

While this method may seem a little extreme, it might be necessary. Depending on the size of the project completed and the amount of monies owing it could be worth while. Be sure to research the costs involved though, as taking the client to court for a smaller project could cost more than the it is worth.

While most clients are trustworthy, freelancers face the odd one who just won’t pay. This is a potential issue for anyone who is self-employed. Refer to the above methods to help receive the money that is owing.


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Filed under Beginner Writers, Freelance Writers, Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Hints

Freelancers Guide to Getting Paid

The days of relying on a client’s word or a simple handshake to seal the deal are over. This is a sad reality for freelancers, as we must take precautionary measures to make sure we get paid. Most clients will send payment, even if it is late. But, sadly there are a few who won’t. Use this guide to help you get paid for all of your freelancing work.

Prepare a Contract

This point cannot be stressed enough. It is very important for freelancers to have contracts for most of their projects. Include the following details in the contract.

  • Specific details breaking down the work involved.
  • Deadline.
  • Method of payment (paypal, bank transfer, etc.)
  • Amount due upon project completion.
  • Any milestones or retainers.

When both parties are in agreement about the above mentioned items, both should sign and date the contract. Make sure to keep a copy for future reference.

Request a Retainer/Milestone

Some freelance projects are larger than others and  may require a retainer and/or milestone. For large-scale projects requesting such, is not unreasonable. They also guarantee a freelancer receives at least some money for their work, if at the end of the project the client decides not to send payment.

Come to a consensus with the client about the amount of money that will be due before commencing work on the project or half-way through it. The retainer or milestone collected mid-project will come off the balance owing upon completion.

In a world less trustworthy than in the past, it is important to protect ourselves. Using a contract and/or requesting a retainer will help make sure a freelancer receives payment. Once the freelancer establishes a good working relationship, they might choose to work differently with their clients.


Filed under Beginner Writers, Freelance Writers, Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Hints, Promoting Business, Successful Writing