The gig economy is alive and well in America today, and a lot of creative freelancers rely entirely on their skills and services for an income. Unfortunately, getting some of their clients to pay on time — or pay them at all — can be a problem.
If you’re a freelancer, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with these kinds of issues:
- Prevention is easier than collection. You have the right to decide that you don’t want to work with someone if they don’t have a good reputation for paying their debts. Before you accept work from an individual or business, do a little digging. See if they have a good reputation in the community, and steer clear of clients who don’t.
- Remember, contracts offer protection, A contract can help you prevail in court if you do end up in litigation over an unpaid bill. If you are providing intellectual property, your contract should also make it clear that you retain the rights to everything you create until the client finishes paying you.
- Ask for a financial commitment. If a client wants to book your services, ask for a non-refundable deposit so you don’t have to worry about cancelations from people who aren’t really ready to commit. If a project is large and will take some time, ask for a deposit and additional payment at each stage of completion.
- Try gentle (but insistent) reminders. Some people are just disorganized, so don’t be shy about sending a client reminders that you need to be paid. If a client doesn’t respond, stop working.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to seek assistance to collect the debts you are owed. You have every right to stand up for yourself in court.