As a freelance worker, you may be charging less than your salaried counterparts since you may have a cheaper overhead, eat your meals at home, and don't spend on corporate attire or daily transportation.
However, keeping a steady cash flow is vital to sustain your freelance business. Even the most experienced freelancers confess to having feelings of reservations when asking their clients to pay up, but in my opinion, if you want to be taken seriously, you must never allow your reluctance to get the best out of you.
Now, you should also make an effort and take time to set up a payment system that is organized yet flexible. I've mentioned before that it's a standard within the freelancing industry to charge a flat rate and a down payment that ranges from 30 to 50 percent of your price quote for the project.
Never start a project without your client settling this rate with you. If you're thinking about setting up an effective payment plan, I strongly suggest the following foolproof methods:
(1.) Ask to be paid in cash after you negotiate with your clients.
This is ideal if you're renting office space or have your own home office where you entertain clients to talk about possible projects. The only downside to this is you might feel the need to have your freelancer's contract written out right on the spot.
When this happens, clarify all terms and conditions, get everything down on a notebook, ask for the flat rate and down payment, and immediately proceed to type the contract the following day. As soon as you're through, email a copy to your client and begin working as soon as your client approves.
(2.) Require your client to make a deposit.
If your contact with your client is only through email or phone, it would be best to get paid through a savings account in a reputable bank. Ask your client to deposit the required amount.
A word of caution, though. Never disclose your bank account number negligently. If you're going to provide it through email, make sure your password is secure.
In my next post, I'll provide the remaining three excellent ways to collect payment.