Freelancers count on their clients to pay just as much as the clients count on the freelancers to provide quality services. Using contracts helps to protect both sides. In New York, a written contract is required for any project that’s worth at least $800, including when the cumulative total of work within a 120-period is at least that amount.
One of the most maddening things freelancers may have to deal with is having a client who isn’t reliable with pay. This could be because they’re always late making the payments or because they’re trying to obtain free services.
#1: Provide a gentle reminder
If the client is usually on time with payments, it may have just slipped their mind. Send a follow-up email or give them a call with a reminder about the due date of the invoice. This is likely all you need to do to get them to pay you. When you do this, be sure you document what they tell you so that you have the information if you need it for a lawsuit.
#2: Submit an invoice with the late fee
Most freelancers include a late fee in their invoice. The contract should include the due date, so the late fee would apply after that date. If there’s no due date, the invoice is due 30 days after completion. Resubmitting the invoice with the late fee included and a note that further action may be initiated might get you the money you’re due.
#3: Know when to cut ties
Having to chase a client about every payment is a huge waste of time, especially when you provide them with their projects on time. There comes the point when you need to cut ties with that client unless they start to submit payments on time. Be sure you do this in accordance with the terms of the contract you have with the client.
Freelancers in New York have specific rights under the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. If you have a non-paying client, learning your rights and how to enforce them is crucial. It is beneficial to work with someone familiar with this act and how to handle legal action under it.