Freelancers find themselves in a delayed payment. The clients, even though not intentionally will continue to delaying to clear the invoices. This may make a freelancer’s life uncomfortable especially if he had committed to clear important bills by the expected money from.
Here are some ways on how to act when money is delayed.
Note that not all clients will require invoices in order to pay you. Some clients like the national magazine editors will always send your money once the article has been approved. However for the sake of reference when the check is delayed, it is important that you send invoices to all clients whether they always pay without sending an invoice or not. This gives you a cushion.
Referring back to the contract may also help you when you have delayed check. There is a possibility that you may be wrong on dates. The contract may have set payment dates, say, 45 or 90 days after but your presumption was 30 days. In that case your check will not have been delayed. Note however that there are instances even when the contract may have stipulated a 30 day payment period, it may have been altered by the client without you noticing and then you sign blindly only to realize it at the time you were expecting payment. That would then be too little too late. It is a caution to read the contract very well before signing.
Patience is a virtue and you have to learn to exercise it. There is no need to start fuming merely because two days have passed the stipulated time of payment. Just be a little bit patient and probably send a reminder after a week or so. Despite the fact that it is right to demand payment at the exact date, you need a human heart. Experience has shown that delays are there yes, but the rate of delay or non-payment is minimal. Experienced freelancers can attest to that.
Sending a light toned email will work when the delay is disturbing. Send an email reminding the client of the task you accomplished the dates and the expected amount and the time it was expected. Just make it friendly but to the point. If he is really committed he will give you a reply whichever the position is.
Holding back can be a weapon to employ to client who continues to delay your payments for long without seemingly interested to do so soon. There are instances where a client may continue to pack you with assignments yet not clearing earlier dues. It is a time to inform him, professionally though, that you may not be in a position of continuing offering services to them while they still hold your money. Make it clear that you are ready and willing to carry out the task but after receiving the arrears. If you happen to be still having a continuing job for them, make it clear that you would not release the work to them not until they clear. You also deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labour and therefore should not be subjected too much suffering.
The above option is a hard means and therefore you should be ready for an eventuality that may lead to severing relationship. However you need not to shy away from the fact that you worked and the client cannot have the morals to sit on peoples sweat.
A last resort when continued delay that seems as a lost case, would be to seek help. When the above efforts hit a dead end, you have an option of involving a third party. You can employ the services of a collection agency; you can as well sue the client, or even contact the freelance body that represents freelancers. At least ensure you have exhausted this means. Know that this is an expense attracting activity and therefore you need to carry out the cost benefit analysis.
In conclusion, debt collection should be a process running in a hierarchy. You should employ the mild means at the beginning. You do not want to spoil a relationship when things can be done in an agreeable manner. Throughout the process, never lose your head