You work hard. Make sure you get paid.
It’s a freelancer’s worst nightmare. You’ve delivered great work, met the deadline, perhaps even foregone other opportunities to get the job done. Only to find that you’re now stuck playing debt collector with a client who is dragging his or her heels on coughing up your payment that is now way past due. This is a persistent concern, particularly as you grow your business and land new projects. How can you avoid getting burned by a delinquent client?
Sure, you could require full or partial prepayment to ensure you have money in your pocket before you start work. However, this just pushes the risk back on to your client, who will understandably be reluctant to send you payment sight unseen. Other options include sending reminders, billing late fees, even trying to shame the client on social media. But once you reach that point, you’re already fighting an uphill battle and have little real leverage.
A growing number of freelancers around the world have figured out how to safeguard their payment while building confidence with their clients at the same time. By leveraging a secure escrow payment service, freelancers can guarantee that they get paid and their clients can ensure that the work is delivered to their satisfaction. Escrow payments, where a third party holds funds until the work is delivered, is now offered by many freelance marketplaces as well as by dedicated payments companies.
The process is typically conducted through a simple online process. After you and your client finalize the terms of the project (ideally with a formal proposal or contract), your client will transfer funds into a dedicated escrow account where the funds are securely held. Once you deliver the project and the client approves, funds are released and transferred to your bank account. Both sides are protected, and satisfied with the outcome.
For larger projects, many freelancers employ a milestone structure. They break down a project into separate deliverables and then have funds released in chunks over the course of the project. Again, both you and your client are protected, and you’re not waiting until the end of a long project to get paid.
One of the most stressful aspects of freelancing is making sure that your clients actually pay you for your hard work. You (and potentially your family and employees) depend on timely payment for a job well done to put food on the table, pay the rent, and keep the lights on. By taking advantage of an escrow payment service, you can confidently build your business and avoid getting stiffed by flaky clients.