Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How to: Get paid on time | Freelance news

For anyone who is freelance these days, it's a depressingly familiar
scenario. You pitch the idea, win the commission, write the piece, get
it published, submit the invoice, wait 30 days and then - nothing.

Unless
you are a particularly successful freelancer, it is likely that you do
not have a sufficiently large cash flow to get by without getting paid
on time. After all, you have bills to pay and mouths to feed; all of
your creditors expect to get paid on time, so why shouldn't you?

The
good news is that with just a few simple steps, you can help speed up
delivery of payment of your invoices, and avoid acromonious run-ins with
your clients.

Define your terms

It is
important to define your terms and conditions for payment on your
invoice and, ideally, in any written contract you have with your client -
such as a commission form. Confirmation of commission forms are also a
good idea to clarify your position on the allowed usage of your
material, to assert your copyright, and to clarify the details of your
commission such as rates. Although they are more commonly used by
professional press photographers (the smart ones at least), there is no
reason why freelance journalists should not be designing their own
commission forms and supplying them to publishers (rather than having
terms imposed upon them by publishers' own documentation).

The
wording on your invoice should state your payment terms and also define a
deadline by which your client has to put, in writing, any queries they
have about your invoice. The latter will put you in good stead if your
client later decides to dispute the invoice. The terms should also
include the rate of interest you will charge for overdue payments;
legally you are entitled to eight per cent per annum above the Bank of
England base rate (ie if the base rate is four per cent you can charge
12 per cent PA).

Make your terms the boldest item on your invoice. It is also a good idea to include the actual due date.
You can find more here  How to: Get paid on time | Freelance news: How to: Get paid on time

John Thompson offers freelance journalists some tips on dealing with late payers