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Working freelance, the pros and the cons.
As much as I love being a freelancer and working for myself late payments are one of the worst parts of being a freelancer, hands down. With a “normal” job, you get paid on a certain date each month and can set up your direct debits to go out on that day and then sort out the money you have left to spend or save. Being a freelancer there isn’t such a luxury of making sure payments are made on time sadly. Even if you state a payment date in your invoice there is no guarantee that it will be paid on time. As someone who has been blogging since 2013 and more recently become a freelancer as my main source of income, I’ve had my fair share of late payments. Before I was smart enough to include late fees and a proper invoice, I had no leg to stand on when it came to the possibility of needing to chase up a payment. So what tips have I learned along the way when it comes to late payments?
Create an invoice template:
It may sound obvious but people still don’t always invoice for their payments, whether your client chooses to pay via BACS or PayPal an invoice is required. PayPal does now allow you to submit invoices to be paid via them which can be handy when you’re not sure what to write. However, I’d recommend making your own template and sending it after every completed piece of work, it not only allows you to keep track of all of your payments but it also allows you to make sure the correct terms are stated with regards to payment. Putting a clause within your invoice stating about the late fee is crucial as it allows you to have more control when it comes to reclaiming late fees. According to GOV.UK it is your legal right to add 8% interest for late commercial payments as well as a debt recovery charge of up to £100, dependent on the amount in which is owed.
It’s ok to get a short term loan to cover late payments when required:
In my experience, most late payments have been resolved pretty quickly, however, the bills will still come out of the account whether the funds are available or not. If you don’t have any savings, it may lead to you needing to get a loan to cover the amount for your bills. According to Modern Work, almost five million freelancers in the UK have turned to short term finance solutions as the money isn’t available to cover their bills. Due to being a freelancer you may have a bad credit rating from prior situations which means looking into short term loans with bad credit, these loans can be an option worth considering as long as you know this can be paid back as soon as the invoice arrives in your account.
It’s normal to feel bad about pestering:
As someone with anxiety, I feel awful when I have to email continuously about my invoice payment, even though I know, that money is rightfully mine. As long as you put a set time on the invoice, the standard is 30 days. anytime After this time period, it is acceptable to chase your money. It’s worth sending an email advising the payment is overdue to start with, as it is possible your client may have forgotten to pay this and then will pay when they’ve had the reminder. In some cases, several emails will have to be exchanged, even phone calls to get this resolved. Make sure you pursue your payment, even make a few standard templates which you can email in stages if the invoice isn’t paid.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful and if you have any tips for other freelancers feel free to leave these in the comments.