Naturally, being paid in full and in a timely manner is the ideal situation, but in the freelance business, sometimes you have to think quickly on your feet when provided an opportunity that may seem to be a scam to start off, but end up truly being an opportunity… just like the client promised you, but not with “rich friends”, “exposure”, or possible “lots of money later”… at least not without the mentioned contract!
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Extended or deferred payment can assure you of a legally binding way of recovering fair payments down the road. This can include:
Invoicing for the full fee, with the intention of claiming the unpaid fee as a tax loss for a tax break (check with an accountant for how much you can legally claim on your taxes – accountants, like lawyers, also never seem to work for free.
Every freelancer has heard the pitch from clients about “no money now, but there will be later”, “help start my business and you’ll be my ‘go-to’ person in the future”, or “when things get going, you can charge more and make up your lost fees”.
These promises are of course lies! Every business has money. The trick is, getting them to part with it. Here are some handy ways of creative billing and other methods for turning a cheapskate into a great client… who pays your invoice!
You’ll know whether the prospective client is just cheap, or doesn’t actually have any money for design within the first few moments of your first meeting. If they are cheap, They’ll tell you why you should be working for free. Whatever you say next in defense of your need to be paid will be met with one of these two reactions:
An angry threat that they can get an art student to do the work for free.
They will be interested in what you have to say because they truly do respect you as a freelancer and never thought of other ways you could be paid a fair fee for your work.
Investment credit and a percentage of the company:
If you argue about having to provide thousands of dollars to use your design work to help build up a startup, you might demand a percentage of the company itself, just like those who have invested financial funds. And you will have these benefits:-
Bartering a fee may include:
Trading work for office space. This is fairly common. Many freelancers want an official office space that has a conference room, receptionist, better address for a more professional appearance, and other people around.
Trading for hard goods, such as groceries, office supplies, equipment or any goods the company manufactures or sells. Trading work for “exposure” is one of those lies many free work-seeking clients use. You have to weigh how much exposure is gained/work you might get vs the work required of you.
Chasing clients for late payments can get uncomfortable. It can also have a huge impact on freelancers' cash flow, as freelancers work from project to project.
Some tips can help to ensure getting paid faster without engaging in awkward conversations with your clients.
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