All of us have been there at one point. We get a client and we're not sure if they're going to be legitimate, especially if they have a large workload for you to finish. Projects that cost upwards of $1000 can be especially risky if you don't know your client on a personal scale.
It's even worse if these projects are long-term. Not getting paid for a long-term project isn't just a waste of your time. It also hurts your mental state.
Therefore, there needs to be a sense of security when you get paid for your jobs. How do you ensure that these projects are worth your time and possibly your money?
To get started with big clients, always have a contract that states your client is obligated to pay once you finish the project. On top of that, make sure that the contract states you can take legal action against these clients if they refuse to pay.
That way, if you have a $1500 compensation for a project and a client refuses to pay up, the contract will give you the ability to sue and threaten legal action.
On top of that, it shows clients you're legit and that you're not just a one-time thing--that you have the ability to stay professional and provide quality service every single time.
Furthermore, a contract will almost always get rid of the scammers. The threat of legal action will scare away those who are looking to cheat you out of a project because they don't want to pay.
Another full-proof way to make sure that things don't go south is by asking for compensation up front. Don't ask for the entire paycheck before you start but rather, ask for half of it.
Half of the paycheck will at least give you some compensation in the case that your client ghosts you. While it may suck that a client ghosts you, getting paid at least half will lessen the damage. (Plus, a contract will also keep most clients from not paying.)
There are two reasons clients don't pay on time. Either they're busy and they forgot to pay or they're outright trying to scam you.
If it's the former, chances are, sending another invoice will mitigate all your troubles. However, if it's the latter, then you have a whole different problem. If the 50/50 isn't enough and they don't care about your contract, then try to keep billing them before threatening legal action.
I guarantee you that ten invoices in, the clients are going to start feeling extremely annoyed and might end up paying you your compensation just for the fact that you'll stop bothering them.
One of the easiest ways to get this method done is by having a tool such as Send That Invoice which saves all of your data from past clients. Then, copy-paste that data into the system which you send your invoices with--PayPal, Square Up, etc.
One thing I don't recommend you do, though, is to start sending these invoices within a three day period. Try sending each invoice within a one week period if they still haven't paid up what they owe you.
If, by the third week they still haven't paid you what they owe, then sending an invoice every three days is something you can do.
This is one of the lesser-known options when it comes to ensuring that you get paid as a freelancer. Use a middle man. Some companies offer a service where they're the middle man.
Both sides are required to sign some forms and then the client pays the middle man the money while the freelancers are obligated to deliver the project on the due date.
Of course, a middle man requires a contract and you can create this contract on your own. It also requires a fee for their services. Therefore, if you're looking to be more autonomous and save a few extra bucks, the other options might be a better pick for you.
Your client's history plays a big part in knowing if they're legitimate or not. Try to dig up past experiences they've had working with other freelancers. There are many ways you can do this but I'm going to limit it down to the top three.
The first way is to evaluate them through a platform. If you found the client through something such as Upwork or even Reddit, checking how active they are and how long they've been on the platform can give you an idea of what to expect.
The more active and older they are, the lower of a chance you'll be scammed.
The second way is to check for testimonials when it comes to that specific company. One easy way you can do this is by going into Google and searching up, "[company name] testimonials." Some sites will show you reviews of working with specific companies and you can use this to determine if they're legit or not.
The final way is to check out their website or whatever form of social media they have. The more established they are, the more of a guarantee you'll have of getting paid.
If their website tells you exactly who they are, what they do, and the services/content that they provide, then chances are, you're working with an established client. Not very many companies get far scamming freelancers and if they look like they're a developed business, then they probably are and won't scam you for your time.
Freelancers will tell you that the most stressful part of the job is getting paid because they don't know if clients are going to scam them. As long as you take the necessary precautions, though, this shouldn't be a problem.
You can do anything from establishing a contract to checking client history to using the 50% upfront 50% when finished compensation method. All of these methods have saved freelancers from countless scams in the past and it can save you too.
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