If you’re considering becoming a freelancer or are already one today, one of the things you need to be aware of is the potential for people to try to take your services without paying. It happens more often than you think.
In fact, the majority of freelancers admit that they’ve been stiffed by clients at one time or another. In a survey of 416 freelance professionals in the United States, approximately three quarters stated that they had not been paid on time in the past. In the same report, it was shown that 59% of respondents were owed $50,000 or more for work they had already completed.
Freelancers are running their own small businesses, and having outstanding payments can be extremely harmful. That’s why having an airtight contract is so important. Even if a client doesn’t pay, having a contract in place will help you get the money you deserve from them if you have to go to court.
A good contract can go the distance in helping protect your income
As a freelancer, you need airtight contracts. They must be legally binding.
For a contract to be enforceable, you need to show that:
- Both parties consented to the contract.
- An offer was made by one party and accepted by another.
- There was something of value offered.
- Both parties entered the contract in good faith.
- The contracted item must be completed (if not, that is a breach of contract).
Breaches of contract can happen during any one of those steps and may put you in a position where you need to pursue a legal claim against a past client. It’s important for you to be able to show that your contract was binding and that you completed the services that you’re pursuing compensation for. If you can do that and show that the other party is simply trying to avoid paying, there may be multiple options for you to seek compensation and, potentially, damages as well.
If your client has not paid up, it’s worth looking into your options. You have a contract, and they need to abide by it.