Every freelancer wants to do what they do best and, for most of us, that’s not invoicing. However, whether you’re a painter or a programmer, a good invoice strategy can be the difference between you getting the money you’ve earned at the time you expect to get it and not.
Here are nine simple tips and tricks to increase the chances of your invoice getting paid on time and in full, or navigating the tricky situation when a client makes that difficult.
Clarity is key when it comes to getting paid. Define your payment terms before you even start a job, that way both you and your client are crystal clear about how to proceed. Keep it short and sweet but set out exactly how much you expect to be paid, in what timeframe, any any extra costs the client will incur for additional jobs or late payment.
Don’t be shy about adding any other terms you think are fair and necessary for you to provide the service they are asking for. It will indicate immediately that you mean business.
Ask the client to sign the document and get it back to you so that there’s absolutely no excuse not to stick to your agreement.
Almost every freelancer has had to learn the hard way that not all clients are as honest as they seem. While your intuition is important, it’s always worth running a background check on anyone you haven’t worked with before.
Check their websites, socials and even review sites to see if they are legit. If you can, reach out to fellow freelancers who have worked with the same company. They’ve been in your position and are usually more than willing to let people know if employers have treated them well or badly.
Finally, ask to speak to whoever is hiring you on the phone or in person. This will give you a much clearer sense of who they are, what they do and what they’re about. A quick chat is also a lot better at getting a relationship started than to-ing and fro-ing over email.
Don’t wait around to send your invoice. Set the right tone by sending it immediately so they’ll be moved to do the same with your payment.
If you’re lucky enough to have a repeat or long standing client, invoice them regularly to get paid every step of the way. This is a win for everybody: improving your cash flow and spacing out the cost for them.
Avoid unnecessary delays by making sure you’ve included all the right information: name, contact details, billing address and the tax details relevant to the job. A logo is by no means crucial but it’s a nice finishing touch if you do have one.
Be sure to specify the various tasks you’ve completed, deliverables provided, and the costs involved so that an accountant who may have not worked with you directly will still be able to understand what you have done.
If you incur any costs that were not outlined at the beginning of the role, make sure you run these past your client to establish who will pay for them at the time and include them in your invoice at the end.
Tech is there to make your life easier and, for freelancers, that tech is Lance.
You can use our stylish custom-branded invoices, send them to your clients, track whether they’re paid or not straight from the app. You can also save repeat customers to save you the time of having to dig out their details again. Plenty of powerful invoicing analytics features are on their way too.
While we can tell you if they haven’t followed through with a payment, I’m afraid you may still need to pick the phone to chase them.
Make sure your client isn’t going to string you along by getting a portion of your fee upfront. This will help you separate your leads from your actual clients. It is standard practice to expect at least 25% of your fee before work begins.
Whatever you do, some clients just can’t make it easy.
One way to motivate them is by offering reductions on the agreed fee for early payment or adding late payment penalties. You can set these out in your payment terms statement at the beginning and remind your client of the carrot and stick if you do have any issues.
If you still run into trouble, you can suggest a payment plan to ensure you eventually get your money, however long that might take.
Make it as easy as possible for people to pay you.
With Lance, you can accept money through payment apps like Venmo and Paypal, ACH transfers, direct deposits and our new Checkout feature — which means clients can even pay you via credit or debit card.
It sounds simple but it’s easy to forget. All the tech and technical points will get you so far but politeness, professionalism and a little humanity are key to any business.
Your client is way more likely to treat you like a human being if you do the same to them. You don’t have to be best friends but, as in all walks of life, “please” and “thank you” go a long way. Some studies have even shown that these simple courtesies can actually increase the chances of you getting paid on time by improving your relationship with the client.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be assertive, of course. If written requests are ignored, pick up the phone. And, if all else fails, you may want to hire a representative to push a client to respond or turn to a lawyer if things get really bad.
These 9 simple steps should ensure that you don’t have to take such measures by minimizing the risks of any client relationship, leaving you more time to get on with your actual job.
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.