As a freelancer, one of the hardest things to do is to get paid. You’d think it would be easy given that your clients signed a contract with you and these people are professional – right? Well, no, unfortunately not all the time! You have already set your expectations clearly and in writing, and so it stands to reason that you should expect to be able to get paid to the agreed deadline. However, that deadline has come and gone and here you are, still waiting to be paid and looking for help!
You need to be paid. You have bills to pay, rent to pay and insurance and freelancing costs of your own to settle. You could turn to a commercial collection agency to get your money back – especially if you have been waiting way beyond the deadline for payment. Not paying bills on time happens, but when it happens to freelancers it is much harder to recover from someone choosing to delay paying you. So, you need to know when to take action and how to do it.
- When you have invoiced a client for work done, you expect to be paid on an agreed date. If your client doesn’t respond to emails after the deadline to pay, and they aren’t picking up the phone to you, here are some tips that you can take on board to get your deserved payment!
- The first thing to do is know the law and know what’s ethical to get your cash back. Your goal is to get paid and you don’t want to be accused of anything untoward with getting your money back. You need to know whether you can charge late fees for payment, how to negotiate not charging them in return for immediate payment and how far you can go with it all.
- Write a script down. Sometimes, you can get tongue-tied trying to ask for your money back, so you need to get a script written to follow when you are on the phone. It’s also easy to get flustered and say things in anger, which you also want to avoid when trying to get money back. It’s natural but it needs to be avoided if you want to remain professional. The best case scenario here is that your client pays their bill and you can get back on track with your own finances.
- Don’t sit down when you’re making calls for collection. If you walk around when you are making calls, you’ll feel more authoritative as a result. This can make you more confident and this will help you to lead the conversation better.
- Be assertive in your tone but keep it as light as possible. You want to ensure that you come across as firm but friendly. Always assume a mistake was made first, then arrange a payment date. Once that date arrives, follow up and make a note of it so that your client is aware you’re waiting.
- Pause longer than necessary during the conversation. Once you’ve stated the purpose of the call, pause and wait for them to speak. Let them respond and don’t interrupt. You’d be surprised how effective this is!