How to Make Sure You Get Paid as a Freelancer

Angela Tague
4 min readMay 25, 2023

Freelancing is such a stupid word.

After all, we don’t work for free, and we certainly enjoy seeing payment notifications pop in, am I right? So today on the blog I’m sharing advice to help ensure your clients follow through and pay you for your services and products.

As a freelancer (AKA a small business owner) you’re responsible for not only doing the work but also following up on the accounting end of things. Although everybody likes to get paid, and some freelancers share information about their many streams of revenue, there’s often an awkward silence when it comes to negotiating payment terms and fee schedules.

Well, it’s time to speak up. Here are a few ideas to think about when evaluating your next freelance partnership.

1. Ask How You’ll Be Paid

Your contract should state how your payment will be sent to you and in what currency. For example, will there be a direct deposit transfer made to your bank account number xxxx in US dollars, do they use Paypal or will a check be mailed to your address on file?

You might think this is a silly tip to share until you find out that there are people out there who will try to pay you with rewards points, gift cards, online currency or foreign currency.

The bottom line: Never assume when it comes to finances.

2. Agree Upon Payment Times

In a recent #FreelanceChat conversation on Twitter, a few friends mentioned always getting the full payment upfront before starting freelance projects. Others talk about getting 50% upfront, and 50% at completion. Some request 100% of the payment at the time they submit the finished project. It’s also not uncommon to have payments distributed at various milestone steps of a longer project or work on a retainer.

You can do whatever works best for your business, but be sure to outline it clearly during the onboarding process so both you and your client understand exactly when you expect to be paid.

3. Keep Your Accounting Professional

Sending notes back and forth about payments via DMs or text messaging looks sloppy and unorganized. Your…

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Angela Tague

Angela Tague writes marketing content for businesses and feature articles for magazines. Learn more at WebWritingAdvice.com.