There’s nothing more frustrating than not getting paid for all the hard work you’ve done. Digital marketing freelancers need to spend a lot of time and effort on carefully designing and crafting campaigns, only not to be paid after successfully completing the project. After all, even freelancers have to make a living and pay bills. Your clients may simply forget to pay you or you may have clients that make up excuses not to pay you. Either way, not getting paid is a troublesome situation, to say the least, and you need to come up with a way to sort things out. Most of the time, the issue can be resolved without too much fuss. However, it’s better to prepare in advance, than to wait for late payments while your debts increase. Here are a few ways digital marketing freelancers can avoid late payers.
Research your clients
Freelance digital marketers try to score as many projects as they can. However, accepting jobs from just anyone may lead to problems. That’s why it’s important to research clients who want to hire you for their marketing campaigns and promotions. The main thing you should focus on is whether the company that hires you favors a good reputation. After all, you need to determine whether the client will be able and willing to pay you for your work.
You can ask your fellow freelancers if anyone had previous dealings with the client. In addition, you can track down some of the employees who work for the client and ask them about their company. This research will give you invaluable information on the client you’re about to do business with. What’s more, you probably need that job for one reason or the other. But, it’s better to decline the offer if it proves that client is shady than it is to not get paid in the end.
Always work under a contract
Never accept a job unless both you and the client are willing to put it on paper and sign it. Without a contract, your client is technically under no obligation to pay you. If you want to secure payment, you’ll simply need to have a contract. That way, you can determine payment terms that will define the cost of your services and payment schedule.
In addition, you can define fees for late payments that might urge the client to pay on time. If your client doesn’t pay you, you can always follow up with them to determine what’s the problem. If it just a missed email, you won’t have to stress over it. However, if a client ignores you beyond the reasonable amount of time, you can take them to court. Legal disputes can last a long time, and can get quite complicated. Still, if that’s the only way you’re going to get paid, then so be it.
Develop a billing plan
Digital marketers can spend a lot of time on projects, especially if they’re working on marketing campaigns that cover multiple channels. To secure regular and timely payments, every digital marketing freelancer should develop a billing plan. For instance, if the project is particularly long, you should set up milestone payments. That way, you will get paid a portion of the full price at every milestone achieved. This is a good way to improve your cash flow and ensure you always have money on you.
You can implement a recurring payment system in your website that will help you collect payments and send out invoices to clients. Also, depending on the scope of the project and its importance, make sure that your clients are aware of your billing methods and that they agree with the terms. You must also account for a client’s payment cycle. For example, most companies wait 30 days before they pay the freelancer’s invoices. Keep that in mind when developing a billing plan so that you always have a positive cash flow.
You shouldn’t hesitate to bill upfront for your services. After all, it’s a good way to secure payments for your work. Since you’re a freelancer, you can set your own upfront rates. Most digital marketers charge 50% up front. However, you can set rates based on the client, project and your own needs. For example, you can charge 30% upfront for larger projects, 50% for medium ones and 100% for small projects.
The main reason you should charge 100% upfront for small, short-term projects is that you have to make sure you’ll get paid. Small projects don’t take too long and they allow clients to make up excuses and avoid paying you, especially if you aren’t familiar with those clients. Moreover, agreeing to get paid after the small project is over can lead to unpleasant situations, such as: “I don’t like it, so I won’t pay for it.”
Always follow up on your invoices
As mentioned before, clients may forget to pay you because they’ve missed an email with your invoice. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay you or that you shouldn’t remind them that their payment is due. If you don’t get paid, send out another invoice after a week and make sure you follow up. You can call the client to determine why they haven’t paid you.
Also, you can visit the client in person. It’s important to understand that you shouldn’t let late payments slide. It’s always a good idea to give your client the benefit of the doubt, but all within reason of course. In addition, if you don’t get a timely response, stop working and don’t continue until you get paid.
Digital marketing is a demanding job, especially if you’re a freelancer. Getting paid is your top priority and you must ensure that you’re not wasting your time or your resources. Whether your clients simply forgot or they try to avoid paying you, you have to have the means that will guarantee your payments.