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Delayed payments from clients

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

One of the hardest things in the freelancer life is to have stable finances but there are many factors involving this and it isn't always depending on you. In the past months I had well paid gigs so when I looked at my income it was quiet stable. This was only on paper, because some of those clients took more than a month to cover those invoices so if I had plans to invest I had to take from my savings account, or just to be able to operate I had to do so, when it should not be necessary but my clients were holding that money from me even thou there is a term on the invoice. It can be demotivating and you cannot always do something about it. The funny thing is that if us, as freelancers are a day late with delivering the pictures it is a big thing for the project and you stop being taken seriously as a freelancer, but the client feels entitled to take so long to cover your payment. Currently I also prioritise those projects of the clients that pay quick, simply because I feel that I can trust them more, rely on them paying for my services quick enough for me to make a choice on what to do with my money. It isn't about the need, it is simply to work with responsible people in all of the aspects.

My only tips are:

- Make sure you have enough savings to be able to operate (independently or your personal finances, simply so you can operate as business. Often you get all the costs made for a project but you first need to pay it yourself. Lack of trust on others has been a valuable skill as a freelancer. Specially the large companies will first forget to forward the invoice to their financial team and the financial team will take a while to even open it.

- After 30 days of not getting paid you are by law entitled to add some interest to the amount. Check out the rules on your country.

- Lately I am adding a message to the contract and the e-mail where I add the invoice. The line goes something like: "Please notice that there is a term for payment of 15 days. After 15 days additional costs might apply. After 30 days interest will be added".

I am still trying to figure out how to manage such cases, also because it is important for the creative industry to be able to stand up for our rights. You have the right to play around with your money as soon as you have concluded a project.

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