Self-employed and not getting paid? Find out how to deal with late or non-paying clients

Self-employed and not getting paid? Find out how to deal with late or non-paying clients

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If you’re currently self-employed, you probably chose this path because you want to have more freedom over your work, maintain a better work-life balance and enjoy the life changing perks of being your own boss. However, you probably also know by now that being a freelancer isn’t all fun and games either. You need to find work, muster the ability to motivate yourself and, perhaps the worst of all… deal with late paying clients. Does this already sound familiar? If this reminds of that dreaded folder with overdue invoices, know that you’re not alone. Late payments are a common challenge that freelancers both here in the UK and all over the world are facing. In fact, one study shows that 50% of freelancers and independent workers are not getting paid for their work on time or not getting paid at all. The average delay on payments against outstanding invoices is 52 days, which is not only bad for your financial stability, but the economy as well. Other studies show that unpredictable income is the predominant concern among freelancers, after lack of access to affordable healthcare. When you work in someone else’s company, you don’t have to worry about not getting your paycheck because even if your employer somehow refuses to pay you, labour laws will protect you. As a freelancer, however, employment legislation does not apply . Seeing that a client refuses to pay the invoice after you’ve given your best effort to complete their task can be very frustrating, but it’s important not to lose hope. Never work without a contract Providing services solely on a contract basis is one of those healthy habits that you need to pick up as soon as you become a freelancer. The contract is a legally binding document that mentions crucial details such as who are the service provider and the client, what services you will be offering, for how long, and in exchange for what fee. It also mentions other terms such what happens when one of the parties breaches the contract. Getting everything in writing is the easiest way to protect yourself if a client delays paying the invoice because you have a legal document proving that they agreed to pay you. Even if drafting a contract might sound complicated, you can always find downloadable templates and fill them in. If a client refuses to sign a written agreement and asks you trust them, do yourself a favour and say no. Stand your ground Although things are slowly beginning to change, many clients still believe that “exposure” is a valid payment method. Well, it’s not, and you shouldn’t let your client assume that you are volunteering. Before accepting any task, set clear payment terms and always let your client know that you expect being paid on time, in the same way that they expect you to finish the work on time. There will always be exceptions and sometimes factors such as national holidays or family emergencies will delay payment for […]

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