Don’t work for nothing – get paid!
Do your clients pay you when they feel like it? Do your clients not pay you at all? Unfortunately some don’t pay at all before they go into liquidation – a mistake I have made and learned from. But sometimes you can’t always see that coming, and sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We know we should get paid up front or make sure we at least get paid for the last lot of work before starting the next – but they’re nice people, they said they would pay, they’re desperate to get on top of their situation. It’s easy to get caught up in the whole thing because you want to help. Besides, you’re a nice person and don’t want to seem to be money-hungry so you make sure everyone else is paid before you!
Don’t associate asking for money as being “money-hungry”. And don’t under value yourself and your service. It’s not your fault that the client is struggling financially. The reality is that everyone expects to get paid after they’ve done a job. Do you think your client would work for nothing? And if your client is struggling financially it’s likely not just because of your bill!
Get a system – get paid!
No matter what your systems or processes, there may still be times when you don’t get paid. Take that as an opportunity to learn for next time. But there are some things that you can do to hopefully avoid those situations:
- Money can often be a bit of a touchy subject but it is important that the ground rules are set – if you’re upset because you missed out on a job because they didn’t pay you up front, imagine how you’d feel if you spent many hours working for nothing!
- Get paid up front for large jobs. There are many hours work and possibly materials outlaid in these jobs and you MUST be paid for them. Charge the client for a number of hours up front before starting the work, and only work for the hours that you’ve billed. If the job’s not completed by the end of those hours, charge them some more hours and start the process again. Ensure you’re clear in your invoice – “provision for …..”. There is a specific process for this in MYOB so please let me know if you need help with this. If the client refuses to pay for this work upfront, changes are they won’t pay when the work is done. Are you willing to take that chance?
- Where clients have not paid or have taken an awfully long to pay in the past, charge up front for next time.
- For regular work, put direct debits in place. This can be difficult to implement once they’re already a client, but be strong and upfront for all new clients – if you can show this is the way you work and have direct debit authorities ready for signing at the time of your initial engagement client’s generally have no difficulty signing. What happens when you join a gym – part of the sign up process is completing a direct debit authority. Do you question that? No, because they’re told you that’s how they expect you to pay.
Respect yourself and your time and get paid!
If you don’t do that how do you expect your clients to?