Freelancing can be a great job for many people. The flexibility the job offers is ideal for parents, or individuals seeking a second job. Unfortunately there are some downsides to the job, and one of the downsides is dealing with clients who fail to pay. There can be a multitude of reasons that clients fail to pay. Some will claim that you did not meet the guidelines of the assignment, others will claim your work was not what they expected, and of course there are some that are just trying to have their work completed for them and never intended to pay in the first place. There are ways to deal with these scam artists, unfortunately you won’t be successful all the time in receiving your pay even through these methods. The key is to limit your non paying assignments through these tips.
Many times an employer hiring you as a freelancer will claim you didn’t meet the guidelines of the assignment, or make claims that there were parts of the assignment which you know you never agreed to. This is why you must document everything. If you are corresponding via email, save the email that has the offer for the assignment the employer wishes for you to complete for them. Also save any correspondence which included questions about the assignment that you had and were answered. The key things to make sure you have documented are the guidelines for the material requested, the date the assignment is due, the payment that was agreed upon, and any possible conditions the employer stated which could effect your payment for the assignment. If the agreement is made over the phone, at least get these minimal items in writing before starting your work for the client.
If your client/employer starts to hesitate to pay you and you have done everything as requested, your documentation support still is not complete. Use one of the on line payment systems to send an invoice. My personal preference is paypal. This way it is documented that you have requested payment. You can then file a complaint with paypal that your client did not pay. This may require you submitting your documentation about the assignment if paypal investigates the issue if the client still refuses to pay. In the end if the investigation determines you deserve to be paid but the client still refuses paypal might shut down your client’s paypal account. It’s a minor victory, but at least your client will not have the satisfaction of not paying you and having no consequences to themselves.
Other Tips To Deal With A Client Who Doesn’t Pay
Documentation is your best way to try to get your client to pay. This will be important if you decide to pursue it in a small claims court. Keep in mind though that many times this is not worth the court costs. In that case there are still things you can do so others know about this non paying client. The first is to report them to the Better Business Bureau. This can be done on line or at a Better Business Bureau office. At least this way any future freelancers dealing with this company will have an idea of what they are getting into in advance.
If you are not paid by your client that doesn’t mean you are stuck doing the work for nothing. If they have not paid you, they have no legal claim to your work as the contract is void. Try finding a third party that will accept your work. If you are a freelance writer there are several on line outlets you can go to such as AssociatedContent and on line magazines that might be interested in your work.
If you are dealing with a client who you have doubts if they will pay, you do have another option. Ask them to pay a small portion up front. This might only be ten to twenty percent but at least that way you get something for your work. You don’t have to do this after they have paid you for several assignments and you have a working relationship, because then a trust should have been built. If the client is hesitant to make this payment, it could be a warning sign that they never intended to pay you in the first place and you should be very hesitant in accepting the assignment without the small up front payment.
Don’t Let The Few Non Paying Clients Out There Turn You Off
Freelancing can be a great source of extra income. Some people even use it as their sole source of income. If you have the unfortunate experience of dealing with a client who ends up being a non-payer, don’t let it turn you off. The majority of clients that hire for freelance work are very reputable and pay on time. After being burned once though, you might want to be a little more cautious and research your clients more closely before accepting an assignment.