You’ve worked hours on this project for a client. It’s perfect. You are so proud of it, you can’t wait for the client to see it and reply. Days go by without a reply, then weeks. You haven’t heard a peep from them.
The worst part is, you haven’t seen a cent for your hard work either. Has this ever happened to you? According to Freelancer Union research 7 out of 10 freelancers have had difficulties getting paid. An average loss is about $6000!
How to deal with clients that refuse to pay you? Try and prevent it in the first place.
1. Do Your Research
Do you know who you are dealing with? Before taking any gigs with a new client, check them out. Look to see if this client has ever worked with freelancers on a freelancing website.
Google them to see if freelancers have had problems with them before. Dig into their businesses and make sure that the addresses and phone numbers are real.
If your client is a real person, with a legitimate business, they will be less likely to bail on your paycheck.
2. Get a Signed Contract
A signed, legal document is the best way to help guarantee you’ll be paid. Having a signed contract may help you to leverage legal actions against a person who refuses to pay for the goods or services you have provided.
Without a contract, you client has no legal obligation to pay you for anything you do for them. You can get a contract from our website and use it with every client you get so you won’t get hurt in the end or taken advantage of.
3. Ask for a Down-payment
Any client that is willing to pay 25% to 50% of the full price of your project will most likely be willing to pay for the rest once the job is completed. Asking for a percentage of the money up front will, in the worst case, guarantee you some money, and will weed out those who are trying to get something for nothing.
4. Don’t Give Anything Away
If a client is asking for free samples to make sure your work fits their style, you may be tempted to agree. But don’t give in! Clients asking for free samples will usually never come back again, which means you wasted a few hours writing that article, building that design, or editing that music to get no money out of it. If your client asks for a sample, make sure that it is a paid sample only.
5. Charge More
If you seem to be attracting the wrong sorts of clientele, try raising your prices. A little bit of a price hike will help to ensure that you can work on fewer projects for the same amount of money. Although it sounds a little counterproductive, the higher premium will make you look more desirable to the right kind of clients.
6. Keep in Touch
Make sure that a customer always knows where you are with their project. Keeping them in the loop of how the project is going will give them a better idea of the time involved in the project and will give you a much stronger personal relationship with your client.
Try and get your client to Skype with you or visit in person. The better the relationship you have with your customers, the more likely they will be to pay you on time and in full.
7. Keep Your Rights
Inside of your contract, make sure to have a few conditions laid out for non-payments. If the client insists on getting full-rights to your work, make sure that rights do not transfer to them until the bill is paid in full.
This will help you to keep your own work if someone should refuse to pay you for any reason.
8. Stop Work
Client promised they would pay you in intervals once a month? Is your latest payment running a little late? If a client seems to be short on cash, let him know that work will not continue until you have received your paycheck.
A little prodding in the right direction might help you get the money you need to stay motivated to continue your work.
9. Professional Invoices
Having a professional looking bill that you can send out to a client, either in their email or through the postal service, making sure the bill looks as professional as possible. The more professional the bill, the more likely you’ll get paid.
10. Offer a Discount
Offering a one-time payment plan at a discounted rate might be enough of an incentive to get you client to finally pay you. Offer a 10% to 20% discount off of the bill if they pay it in full right now. It will lower your income a little bit, but something is better than nothing.
11. Use the project for your benefit
Did your client decide not to pay for that awesome logo you designed, the music you made, the paper you wrote, or the graphics you illustrated? What are you going to do with the leftovers now?
If your client decided not to pay for your hard work, make it work for you. Take that article and sell it on Constant Content. Use the music in a new video, or post it to your portfolio. Try selling that illustration to someone new. If you have a backup plan, you might be able to make some of the money back.
12. Take it to Court
If you have an outstanding invoice worth hundreds of dollars that your client insists on not paying, you can take them to small claims court. Just so long as you have a signed contract, you should win.
However, if the bill is very low, it may not be worth it. Make sure you’ll make enough money off the settlement to make up for fees and cost of going to court.
Have you got ditched by non paying client? If so – how much money was the project worth?