Getting Paid: Things Creative Freelancers Need to Know
Freelancing might feel precarious at the best of times, but never more than at the moment. Most of us had a pretty rough 2020. And the first few weeks of this year suggests that 2021's hardly going to be plain sailing either.
It's a somber truth that over the next 12 months, many freelancers will find it difficult to find work, have contracts cancelled, and get stiffed for work they've already completed. All of which sucks. So when months go by without any payment, with clients either stalling or outright refusing to pay, it can be hugely dispiriting, to say the least.
But could you be a contributing factor as to why your invoice is forgotten or delayed? Let’s figure this out:
People at your client's workplace are busy, and mistakes are made so make sure your invoice reaches the right person. Sometimes late payment means the creative director forgot to forward the invoice on.
Sometimes, your unpaid invoice will be sitting on someone's desk because it's missing a piece of vital information so make sure you complete your invoice properly. Yes, someone should have contacted you and chased this up, but there are so many hours in the day, and things get forgotten.
You and the client may have a very different view of what they owe you. For example, you may have assumed that the price you'd agreed on for the work didn't include VAT, but they may have assumed it did so make sure all these little details are hammered out carefully beforehand.
It's natural to assume that if you've discussed something over the phone or in conversation, it is set in stone. But your client's recollection of that conversation may be different. So once you've agreed on something in person, always follow it up with an email restating what you've agreed.
It would otherwise be best if you took action, by nailing down an unambiguous and comprehensive agreement at the start of your client relationship and then keeping on top of invoices.