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

2 responses to “Freelancers Guide to Getting Paid

  1. Contracts are always tough, especially given that you’re fairly independent, things change and enforcing it isn’t trivial. A milestone or initial payment obviously preferred to get a sense of goodwill, for both sides.

  2. Matt,
    Thank you for stopping by!

    I definitely agree. Unfortunately, I had to learn my lesson the hard way after a client didn’t pay me. It wasn’t enough money to take them to small claims court, but was still upsetting. It was due to that experience I now request a milestone for most clients. Older clients that I have been working with for a long time I handle differently.

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