1. Home
  2. »
  3. Growing
  4. »
  5. What to do if your invoices are not paid?

What to do if your invoices are not paid?

Collect overdue invoices and ensure your stable income with our tips!
Freelance Business Community
| January 19, 2023
Freelance Business Community
January 19, 2023

Working as a freelancer on different projects can be liberating, but it can also lead to fluctuating earnings and difficulties in calculating your income. And you know what doesn’t help? Delayed payments on your invoices. The recent Ferovalo report states that 50% of senior freelancers have problems receiving their payment.

To help you avoid this, we have collected steps you can take to make sure you get your hard-earned payment.

1.   Check the customer’s VAT

It is a good practice to check the VAT number of your potential customer, before you start working with them, to make sure they are a registered business. You can use the VIES VAT number validation portal. 

Most countries have public registers (like the UK and the US), where you can check the information of registered businesses. Alternatively, you can use a website like Company Check, which will look for information on the business. In Belgium, you can check this website to find out if the company is in good financial standing.

2.  Start with contract and payment terms

Agreeing on payment terms at the start of the work relationship is usually the best course of action. You don’t want clients to feel confused about how to pay you. Simplify the process as much as possible. State how much they need to pay, when do they need to pay (maybe pick a day in the month), and in what way. Outline all of this in the freelance contract.

Having these details covered at the start will put both you and your client at ease. It will not only make the payment process simpler, but will cover you legally in case you need to pursue any other course of action. You can find more about contracts here.

If you are in Belgium, you may want to check these free or affordable legal services.

3. Request deposits

If you work on a large project, you can request your client pays a deposit either before you start the project, or at set milestones during the delivery. This works best when you and the client both trust and feel comfortable with each other.

Not all clients will agree to a deposit, especially if it is a small or recurring task, but it is always worth trying to ask.

4. Don’t be shy! Follow up!

You may stress about appearing pushy, but if the invoice isn’t paid in a reasonable timeframe, you should chase the client! Remember: this is not you being annoying, it is your professional obligation.

You can further automate the process by creating and scheduling reminder emails for your clients when they have not paid the invoice.

5. Turn to institutions and debt collectors

If, after several reminders and follow-ups (usually two), there is no response to your payment requests, consider asking for the help of debt collectors. Some banks offer help in certain cases, where they follow up on your outstanding invoices and enforce payment.

In Belgium, for example, KBC Bank offers the Go Solid service, accessible right from the mobile application. Go Solid helps to recover unpaid and undisputed B2B debts without going to court. And it is free of charge for the business owner.

In some locations, such as the UK, you can involve debt collection agencies. They will chase the payment for you and usually charge the client a fee for their services (but always double-check their terms and fees).

6. Involve the community!

Freelancers love supporting each other and exchanging tips and advice. Some communities have a black list of companies/individuals that are not paying invoices, and where memebrs collect nightmare clients you should avoid. Many professionals and businesses are worried about falling on lists like that, and the threat can push them to pay what they owe. If you are looking for an awesome community to join, see our Slack community here.

7. Be careful when involving a lawyer

This is the ultimate step when it comes to chasing payments, and we would advise you to think it through before escalating. Lawyers are expensive, and there is often no guarantee that you will win a case against the client. Even a consultation can cost you a few days’ worth of fees.

Of course, lawyers can be necessary in serious cases, where more than an outstanding invoice is the problem, but for most cases, there are other things you can do before involving them.

Whether it is a genuine oversight or a shady attempt to skip on paying for your services, delayed payments are always frustrating. Remember, you are not powerless – there are always steps you can take. We keep our fingers crossed you won’t need to ever use our guide. Happy freelancing!


Recent Posts

The List of Freelance Events 2024

The List of Freelance Events 2024

Freelancers may work independently, but they still want to be part of a community. Here is where freelance events come in. Both digital and live, the tradition of friendly and educational events for the freelance community has existed long before the Covid-19 pandemic...

The List and a Comparison of Freelance Communities

The List and a Comparison of Freelance Communities

Throughout history, humans have naturally gravitated towards forming groups. From the earliest civilizations to modern times, the desire to belong has been ingrained in our social fabric. Group affiliation not only ensures safety, as seen in ancient tribes providing...

How To Grow A Freelance Business: Community, Advice and Support

How To Grow A Freelance Business: Community, Advice and Support

Elina Jutelyte, Founder of Freelance Business, sat down with Travis Bennett, COO of Doerscircle to talk about the organisation's remarkable growth and to learn what attracts freelancers to Doerscircle. The growth of Doerscircle's community for freelancers highlights...

Freelance Business Community

Freelance Business Community

Our goal is to help the freelance professionals, independent specialists and self-employed to become more visible and help them develop skills to thrive in their business.

You might also like

The List and a Comparison of Freelance Communities

The List and a Comparison of Freelance Communities

The article provides a comprehensive overview of more than 30 diverse freelance communities catering to professionals worldwide. Each community is meticulously detailed, outlining its name, description, offered services, membership fees, geographical focus, and unique features. From lobbying organizations advocating for freelancer rights to educational platforms providing resources and networking opportunities, the spectrum of offerings is vast.

How To Grow A Freelance Business: Community, Advice and Support

How To Grow A Freelance Business: Community, Advice and Support

Delve into the dynamic world of Doerscircle with an in-depth exploration of its COO, Travis Bennett. Uncover the secrets behind Doerscircle’s extraordinary growth, skyrocketing to an impressive 60,000 members. Discover the common challenges compelling individuals to join this thriving community. Learn about the exclusive benefits offered by Doerscircle Premium membership. Plus, get an insider’s look at the ambitious expansion plans set to propel Doerscircle into the future. Don’t miss the chance to unravel the success story and future endeavors of this innovative platform

Unlock Your Earning Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Freelance Fees Benchmark

Unlock Your Earning Potential: A Comprehensive Guide to Freelance Fees Benchmark

For graphic designers, artists, copywriters, and all freelancers, setting your freelance rates is a crucial aspect of your business strategy. It’s a common practice to assess your freelance market and consider benchmarking your prices against others. Many freelance business experts often emphasize the importance of aligning your rates with industry benchmarks. However, the reality is not always as straightforward as it seems. In this article, we’ll explore the complexities surrounding the elusive concept of the freelance fee benchmark and why it is not always recommended to consult with any benchmark reports out there.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This