Being a freelancer is amazing. You work when you want, how you want, and for who you want. But there’s one little thing, one tiny, insignificant niggle that seems to bother most freelancers: getting paid on time.
A lot of clients are good and will pay when they’re meant to. There are even rumours of seemingly magical ones who pay (dare we say it?) early. However, there are far too many who let the payment due date slide by unacknowledged. For freelancers, this can make life incredibly difficult, but it can also be pretty soul destroying when instead of doing actual work, you’re chasing up clients again and again and getting nowhere.
This is bad enough no matter the time of year, but during the summer holidays it can be massively exacerbated by people being off work or working remotely more often. So, we’ve put together some suggestions on how to make sure you get paid between July and September, regardless of the summer hols.
- Get ahead of the game
If you know you have a payment due soon you could always send a reminder email. It doesn’t have to be pushy. Just something along the lines of: “Just a reminder that payment on my invoice is due this Friday. I know this is a busy time of year so please could you confirm you have everything you need from me?” It may just prompt someone to get your payment processed.
- Push back
Almost every freelancer has been told at some point that the person who handles payments is off so you’ll have to wait until they get back. During the summer holidays, the likelihood of this increases.
It’s perfectly reasonable for you to push back on this. Assuming your invoice has given a respectable lead time, you’d be within your rights to enquire why payment wasn’t arranged before this person’s holiday. If they claim ignorance, then it can be time to move on to the next suggestion…
- Invoke your late payment terms
On your contract and/or invoice, you should have terms for late payment. The standard under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 is as follows:
- Once 30 days has elapsed after the date of invoice you can charge a fixed fee on top of the original amount:
- £40 for amounts of £999.99 or less
- £70 for amounts between £1,000 and £9.999.99
- £100 for amounts of £10,000 or more
- You can also charge statutory interest on the original amount of 8% plus the Bank of England base rate. UK has a good breakdown of how to apply this.
It’s amazing how many clients discover that Karen from accounts isn’t the only person who can make payments when you invoke this act.
And, in the meantime, don’t worry it’s only a matter of weeks before everything returns to normal. And you can rely on Kingsbridge for your contractor insurance no matter the time of year.