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The Problem Behind Getting Paid as a Freelancer

By Send That Invoice on January 2nd, 2019
Overhead shot of a freelancer worrying about how to get paid for his work.

The field of freelance accommodates a variety of niches, some of the most common ranging from website design to content management. That being said, aspiring freelancers won’t find it difficult to take their passion and monetize it.

In fact, the field of freelance is relatively easy to get in. With sites like Upwork and Freelancer, getting started isn’t a problem. The problems lie in getting paid.

For one, clients aren’t exactly going to pay you much since you haven’t built up a portfolio that can back your demands—unless you worked for a top company in that respective field. Second, the different payment options all have their respective problems.

Why is It So Hard to Get Paid?

For most companies, they have a specific person assigned to billing their clients for their services. Thus, the head of the company can focus on other areas such as expanding and growing their business. But when you’re a freelancer, it’s not that simple.

You’re in charge of basically everything. You land the clients. You finish the projects. And most importantly, you bill the clients for the price of the project. No one else. Just you. Landing the clients is hard enough but managing to get paid for your services is also tricky.

There are different ways to bill your client whenever you’re a freelancer. They can write you a check, transfer to your bank account via electronic funds, or use PayPal’s built-in invoicing system. Most new freelancers tend to opt with the PayPal invoice system.

There are more options than the three listed above but these three usually tend to be the easiest to use. However, despite being the easiest, they all still have their own problems at hand. For example, while the electronic funds transfer doesn’t charge you a fee for every payment, your bank needs to be okay with these transfers.

If they’re not, then that can be a major problem that holds up your entire company. Checks also provide their own benefits. For one, they don’t have fees but at the same time, because a check is physical, you need to either wait for it to arrive in the mail or meet up with your client.

PayPal solves the issues of electronic funds transfer and checks but comes with its own set of problems. PayPal is compatible for almost all payments, meaning your bank doesn’t have to accommodate the transfers. Furthermore, because it’s electronic, it doesn’t take as long to receive the payments.

On the other hand, PayPal’s invoicing system requires quite a bit of data to be filled out and as of now, the invoice doesn’t save anything unless you change the frequency of how many times you send that invoice.

This invoice frequency can only be limited to one client though and if you want to bill a new client, you have to restart with all the usual information. Therefore, even though PayPal is efficient in most of its methods, it still has a few flaws in its system.

So, how do you pick the payment option that’s right for you?

Finding the Perfect Payment Option For You

In order to determine which option is best for you, you’re going to want to first figure out which of the payment options offers the least number of problems. This all depends on which type of business you’re running.

For example:

Checks: Checks are best for freelancing businesses that work locally. For example, if you’re a one-man window washer that works for neighborhood pizzerias, then this is going to be the ideal case as it’s extremely easy for your clients to write out a check to your name which you can cash in minutes.

Electronic Funds Transfer: EFT is ideal for the freelancers that have a bank account already set aside for finances and client monetization. These are usually the freelancers that have been in the business for a while now and can afford to open up a bank account.

You should go for this option if your business is alive and thriving. Other than that, you should probably stick to another method of payment.

PayPal: PayPal is by far the most versatile of the three when it comes to new businesses. Because it’s so easy to set up, PayPal is usually the go-to option for most freelancers. But with a fee that can cut out a decent chunk of the profits and a tiring invoice fill-in information sheet, PayPal has its limited benefits to some businesses.

PayPal works best for those freelancers who are looking to just get started up. These freelancers are the ones who aren’t interested in making a profit just yet. They’re interested in getting the clients and making sure that they get the work needed in order to keep their business running.

Other Help

There are other services out there that make payments easier for freelancers. Most freelancers choose to send invoices to their clients. One service that helps make this process extremely efficient is Send That Invoice, a system that saves the information of previous clients so that sending invoices only requires the click of a button instead of having to manually fill out everything over again.

Furthermore, you can also choose to hire someone to do your invoices for you but that comes at a cost and for starting freelancers, this may be a cost some can’t afford.

Overall, the field of freelance is one that is full of opportunity. It provides liberation from the work-force and you work on your own schedule. But freelance also puts more responsibility on your own shoulders and the responsibilities you face can range from landing clients to closing out meetings.

But perhaps one of the most unique responsibilities freelancers face is finding the perfect payment option for themselves. Without a good payment option for their business, they’ll find that they are losing money rather than gaining it.

Once a freelancer finds the payment option that fits their criteria, then everything else related to capital becomes handywork and they can focus on the bigger picture of scaling and expanding.