Good Wednesday morning, my dear readers! Hope this week finds you well.
I’ve learned some fairly hard lessons on my road through the world of freelancing, and one of the hardest was getting paid (I discussed a specific case in this post).
Make sure you lock down your dues by following these simple tips!
1. Kick the client’s tires (Figuratively!)
When reading up on this particular subject, I’ve found the crew at Biz 3.0 had a lot of useful things to say to help freelancers ensure they get their dues.
The first item they mention is researching the client before you’re hired on. This is something I mentioned fairly early on in my blogging venture, but it certainly bears repeating.
One of the main criticisms I have working through Fiverr, Elance and PeoplePerHour (mainly) is the fact that clients and buyers are not required to submit a lot of information – at least as far as I can tell. on the other side of the coin, though, neither are freelancers, but I personally like to give as much information as I can to my potential and current customers to make sure they know what they’re really buying.
With that said, it can be tough for clients and freelancers alike to research each other and really get a feel for who they are and what they do. Whenever possible, though, it’s a good idea to even do a simple Google search on a client or freelancer just to double-check for bad reviews, Better Business Bureau complaints and so forth.
2. Don’t be an idiot with your samples
I’ve mentioned this time and time again – don’t work for free. If someone asks you for an extensive “pre-hire” tests or oddly specific samples, don’t indulge them. That’s basically working for free, giving them an opportunity to steal your work and never be heard from again.
So if your potential client says something like “We’re asking for samples from a number of people” or “We’d like to see your ideas first,” politely ask for a fee. As Cody Schatzle of FastCodeDesign says, “You don’t get to sample the steak before you eat it.”
3. Get paid up-front
Even if you’re working through a website that has an Escrow system, in which a client can deposit the full amount for a milestone of a project to a secure, third-party service, it’s a good idea to retain a non-refundable deposit.
Personally, I range from anywhere between 25 and 50 percent, depending on a number of factors. The reason I ask for partial funding is to ensure that if a project were to go belly-up, I’m at least partially compensated.
I recently worked on a website for a real estate entrepreneur in the States through PeoplePerHour. I wrote out all the content and had everything submitted in a reasonable timeline, and the client, to his credit, deposited 50 percent of the agreed-upon fee before I started.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, and the client still hadn’t released the Escrowed money to me. I asked him (politely) about it, to which he replied he didn’t remember hiring me and asked for my work in a different file format, which I supplied to him.
After that, there was still no response. To PeoplePerHour’s credit, however, they released the payment to me and “took action” against said client (for privacy reasons, I don’t know nor would I share what action was specifically taken). PeoplePerHour, again, to their credit, were kind enough to draw up an invoice for the remainder of my dues, which my client, to his credit, eventually paid.
I was content with just the deposit as I had, for a number of weeks, written the project off as a bust. However, the PPH crew were kind and vigilant enough to assist me in getting, so if I’d like to illustrate nothing else with this post, it’s that for as many bad clients as I’ve had and as many bad experiences I’ve had working through my numerous sites, there are 20 good clients and experiences. If you’re on a bad streak, don’t despair.
Oh, and also, yes, it’s a good idea to get a deposit to “insure” your work and payment.
Next week, we’ll turn things around and discuss how clients can protect themselves against fraudulent freelancers!
How do you insure you’re properly paid and compensated by your clients? Discuss in the comments below!
Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here!
Happy freelancing and we’ll talk again next week!