As part of your work policies, you should consider the following factors:
What payment mode will you use – cash, checks or credit cards?
How much should the client pay as a down payment?
Will you begin the work without any payments?
How many days you will wait before the client pays?
Are you going to impose penalties for late payments?
When will the client receive the final work – before or after making payments?
Keep in mind that these policies are not written in stone but only act as a guideline. There will be occasions where you will be forced to be flexible and make changes to your policies to accommodate a client.
3. Stick to your policies
Clients do not like surprises. Let the clients know about your policies, including your pricing structure. They should also be informed if any changes are made in the policies.
Clients can refuse to pay or might be inclined to make late payments if they are surprised by any information on your invoices. As a freelancer, you need to develop trust with your clients, thus making everything crystal clear on your policies will not only bring you more trust to clients, but also more jobs to you.
4. Think about your charges
You have heard the first rule of pricing is never to undercharge. This is so true. Your prices need to be in line with that of your competitors. Do not quote low prices in order to attract clients.
The reason is if you under-price your services, you are more likely to attract cheap clients who give you long and tedious jobs and then disappear without even paying a cent. Also decide your pricing method. Determine whether you will fix your pricing on the basis of the job done or per hour, inform the client so they have no doubt on how you charge.
5. Include services and charges
All of your invoices should clearly indicate the services rendered and the amount charged. This makes it easy for clients to understand what they are being asked to pay for. This will also help you and the client monitor what has already been paid and the amount outstanding, thus maintaining an up-to-date record of payments and completed tasks.
Besides, note that majority of freelance graphic designers prefer their clients to pay upfront before beginning project. Thus, when creating an invoice clearly indicate whether the payment is for the entire or part of the project.
6. Accepted methods of payments
It is important to clear what payment services have been rendered. Some of your clients may be comfortable paying cash, while others might be willing to write checks or make credit card payments. It’s okay as long as you choose a method that is acceptable to you and your clients. For most freelancers PayPal is their favorite choice as it’s convenient, fast and secure.7. When are the payments due?
Many freelancers fail to receive payments for projects done since they do not inform their clients when payments are due. Make sure to include a due date on every invoice you send to reduce the occurrence of late payments.
Note that including due dates on invoice is helpful even if your clients always make their payments on time.
8. Include your contact details
When creating your invoice, do not forget to include your full name, address, phone number and email. Some of the invoices you send will pass through several people before getting paid. It is much easier if the person receiving the invoice knows where it is from. In addition, they might need clarification on a few items and including your contact information makes it easier for them to reach you.
Failing to include your contact information on the invoice might result in payment delays. Clients might also need your contact information as part of their record keeping policy.
9. Number your invoices
As a freelancer, you will have to deal with many clients and in the process, you will send out lots of invoices. Thus, you need to come up with a way of monitoring and organizing your invoices.
A good numbering system allows you to monitor payments and keep track of late payments or clients who have defaulted. It simply saves you time and effort searching here and there, or ended up invoicing clients who have already paid.
10. Keeping a record of invoices
Always remember that backup is the savior of all business troubles. It is so essential that if you fail to do it and you lose your record of invoices, there will be no way to track which clients have been billed, and which are not.
Always do a backup of your invoice record. You can photocopy them, print them out or download them into your computer’s local storage, as long as you have a copy of them. Store any email and letter related with the invoice so when anything happens, you always have an extra reference, and you will thank yourselves for keeping them well.
11. Make follow ups
Not all of your clients will respond to your invoices on time. As the due date approaches, politely inquire from the clients whether or not they have sent their payments. Yes, be polite when doing follow ups because while certain clients are willing to pay, they could have simply forgotten the payments.
Lastly, you need to be systematic when dealing with invoicing issues raised by your clients. Responding in time to your client’s concerns portrays your professionalism and will increase the likelihood of them giving you more projects.
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