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Freelance Writing: Should you get paid in Advance?

After my post on dealing with angry clients, in which I talk a bit about getting paid in advance, I have had some inquiries as to whether or not this is a good idea. If you want to check out that post, head over to http://www.chrisblogging.com/dealing-with-angry-clients/

Anyway, there are two ways of looking at getting paid in advance. Whereas there are many benefits of this, there are also some downfalls that may or may not bother you. And in some cases, you are going to have to work with your client to find a happy medium that is mutually beneficial.

First off, let’s talk about the benefits of getting paid in advance. Obviously, it is nice to have the money up front because you know that you will not get scammed in the long run. For a lot of people, this is the number one reason that they like to ask for an upfront payment; and I do not blame them. If you have ever completed a large freelance writing project, just to get stiffed in the end, it can be a huge disappointment. Not to mention the fact that it can greatly affect your income.

Another benefit of up front payment is that you have the money available to you if need be. If your freelance writing career has yet to take off, the more money that you have access to the better off you are going to be.

On the other side of things, you need to be aware that getting paid in advance for freelance writing has some downsides as well. For instance, what happens if you get paid in advance, and the client hates what you send them? Sort of like what I chronicled in the blog post listed above. When this happens, you are sitting in a bad spot. It is nice that you have the money, but if your client is angry you will be forced to work things out with them. And if you do not, they are going to want refunded right away. Again, this opens up a whole new can of worms. Should you have to refund the entire amount? What if you already spent the money?

A lot of freelance writers are in the habit of wanting to ask for payment in advance. Personally, I play this by ear. If I have been working with a client, and am confident that they will like my work, taking prepayment is something that I will feel comfortable with. But with new clients, I usually like to hold off until the job is done.

I have found over the years that breaking payments down is a great way to agree on terms with your client. If you have a $500 job, ask for $250 up front and then the rest upon completion. This will keep both you and your client safe, and will start the relationship off with mutual trust.

As a freelance writer, you need to decide whether or not prepayments are something that you want to deal with. It is not a decision to take lightly!

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Comments OffFreelance WritingJune 23rd, 2007

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