Freelance writing is envied as a career which allows you to work flexible hours in the comfort of your own home. However, this business is fraught with a myriad challenges, including clients that don’t pay. Clients refuse to pay for different reasons. It could be due to a legitimate reason such as poor quality of work. At other times, they might just be out to scam freelance writers. However, there are situations where the client simply forgets.
If your client fails to make a payment, here is what you should do:
Check your contract
Remind yourself of the terms of payment which were outlined in the contract. For instance, the contract might indicate that payment will be made within 7-14 days after project delivery. If you begin demanding for payment only two days after project completion, you will only end up irritating the client. This could eventually result in the loss of repeat business.
Give a gentle reminder
When payment is due, send the client a gentle reminder via email. You could attach a copy of the contract or invoice. Once you have done this, wait a few days for the response
If you don’t get a response within 7 days, call the client. If he guarantees that you will be paid, ask for a specific date. Let them know that you are holding them accountable to their word. If the payment is not made on the agreed date, keep calling the client at least twice every week. In case this does not work, it would be advisable to take a different course of action.
Send another email to your client and inform them that you are seeking redress elsewhere. If the person works for a company, send a copy of the letter to the head of accounts, his supervisor, and even the CEO.
If despite all your efforts nothing is forthcoming, you could take the following courses of action:
Freeze any projects you are currently undertaking
If the client has not paid you for past work, it is highly unlikely that they will pay you for future jobs. It would, therefore, be advisable to put all work for that client on hold until payment is made
Suggest a payment plan
If a long-term client claims to be short of funds, you could suggest a payment plan. For instance, if they owe you $500, it might be easier for them to pay $100 per week instead of the whole lump sum.
Warn your client that you will report them if they don’t pay you. You can report them in sites such as Ripoff.com , Better Business Bureau as well as different writing communities. If they are concerned about their reputation, they will make an effort to pay immediately.
If you have delivered some work to clients, you deserve to be paid. Don’t accept to be mistreated by a client in the name of maintaining a good relationship. Failing to deal with this issue will not only hurt you, but also other writers who might work with the same client.