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How to Get Paid on Time if You Are Self-employed

Get paid freelancer

We read daily about how difficult it is to get paid on time when you are self-employed. Many times the excuses of companies are that they must first pay larger companies or that they get a lot of taxes this month. In the case of the self-employed, it is even more important to charge on time for their work, since they live exclusively on this income. In today’s post, we will see some recommendations to get paid on time.


When you start to work as a freelancer and you have your first clients, you usually “wait on” them and do what they ask for so they continue to need your services. The fact is that many times it is better to set certain limits and previously define how far you would go in case they do not pay you or do not pay on time.

You may think that in your situation you cannot do without clients, even if they pay you late, but consider the following points:

– If the company / professional is late in their payment, you are already thinking of it to see when they will pay you. If you do not tell them anything, you will have to insist by calling again and “asking for explanations”.

– Being aware of the non-payment causes you to lose some time every day that you could use to find other clients or improve processes in your company.

– The concern that generates you not to get paid and not knowing when you will do it, when talking to potential clients you go with a point of disbelief: “let’s see if this one is not going to pay either”. This type of negative energy often causes you to lose business opportunities.

– If you live exclusively from your income as self-employed (or you pretend it), this can disappoint you and even make you decide to stop trying to establish yourself as self-employed and look for employment, thinking that there you are more protected and will get paid easily.

On the other hand, doing anything for your first clients involves not signing any type of service contract or even a document of payment agreement, with which after some time, there are companies that deny that you have done the work for them, so they don’t have to pay you. It may seem incredible, but there are people like that!

To protect you and start properly your business relationships, we have compiled some suggestions. Some may not work for your business, but read them anyway, because they may give you some ideas.

1. Set your basic rules and how far you would go. That is, charge from 1 to 10, and wait until 15. If they don’t pay until 15, no more jobs are done.

2. Learn to say “no”. If they do not agree with your basic rules, do not try to adapt and think that “only for this time” and the next ones you tell them that there is no deal. You cannot please everyone and there are clients that simply are not worth the investment of your time.

3. Have a firm contract and the terms established with an agreement signed by both parties.

4. Ask for a 50% payment in advance, before the work begins. That way you can be sure of at least the half part if there is finally a non-payment.

5. You can include offers for customers who pay early.

6. Make sure you send the email with your invoice to the correct email address and with sufficient details about the payment method. Ask for confirmation that the email has been received to avoid delays.

7. Offer at least two types of payment to give several options, for example, bank transfer and credit card payment.

8. If they are late in payment, don’t be evil-minded from the first moment. Get in touch with your client in a calm way, since in many cases it is due to a genuine mistake in the remittance of domiciliation, etc.

Finally, and this advice is valid especially for those self-employed whose client is some Administration, arm yourself with patience! We all know that the Administrations take a long time to pay, but they ask for work to be done on time. If you are starting, do not devote all your time to work for the Administrations, because it is possible that you delay in charging and enter the loop of frustration.


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