May 6, 2015 How do you ensure you get paid on time as a freelancer and consultant? Here are 9 tips to help you get paid. Freelancing and consulting can be awesome – you are your own boss, master of your own time and space. But you need to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and manage many functions – one of them being in control of your business finances. Ensuring you are getting paid on time is essential so here are some tips: Check out prospective clients before you agree to work for them – you can do some background searches using resources like DueDil and Companies House. You can also do some deep google searching to try and dig out some information and have a good look over social media. It is also worth reaching out to people in your network to see if anyone has worked with them before to see if they have a reputation as good payers for example. Contract / Agreement – make sure you have an agreement in place that covers the scope of work and also what their payment terms are. Resources like Simply Docs are handy for template agreements. Clear invoices – make sure your invoices are accurate and make your payment terms clear and have your bank account details on. You can check out our guide here which has some template invoices. If you want to make your invoices look more professional you can use something like FreeAgent. Make it easier to be paid – consider being able to receive payments from paypal or stripe to give your clients more options to pay you. Early payment discount – some people offer an early payment discount for prompt payment – there are advantages to this with helping speed up your cashflow, but it means less profit to you so give this some careful thought before you try it out. Up front payment / deposit – it is a good idea if possible to negotiate to receive some money up front – perhaps a % of an overall project fee. Contact details – try and get hold of the contact details of not just your key contact for the project / work but also for the person who makes the payments or processes the invoices for the clients business – this would normally be someone in their accounts department, like a purchase ledger manager. Hourly rate / how much are you worth? This is the tricky one – how much to price your work at. Too cheap and your setting your standard too low for future engagements, but too high and it might be hard to get work. The more experience you have and the better your reputation the more likely you’ll be able to charge a higher fee. There is an excellent guide provided by Freshbooks called ‘Breaking the time barrier’ which helps you understand how to differentiate your work and charge higher fees and not to link your fees to an hourly rate so much. Bad debt – sometimes you will get to the point where you need to stop doing work for a client and get heavy. If you want to take it up to the next level you can issue a ‘letter before action‘.