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Should I always get Paid Upfront?

As a freelance writer you have many important decisions to make. Quite a few of them are based around getting paid. Are you the type of freelancer who always asks for payment upfront? Or do you trust clients enough to pay you upon completion?

Most freelance writers agree that getting paid some money upfront is very important. In some cases this may be 50 percent, but in others you may be able to receive the entire payment before getting started.

With new clients, I always ask for at least half of the payment before getting started. This helps to protect me against non-payment, which has happened from time to time. At least if I get half of the money to start I am not totally out should the client decide to disappear.

What about with existing clients? This makes things a bit stickier. If you totally trust the client because they have paid in the past, you may feel comfortable waiting until completion to send an invoice. But even then, make sure you are careful about what you are doing.

In March, I completed a job for a client who has been sending me work for a year or so. While he always paid on time in the past, for one reason or the next, the money has yet to arrive for this project. If I would have requested payment upfront this would have never been a problem. Unfortunately, I trusted the client because they were fast and efficient in the past.

Whether or not you get paid upfront is your decision. At the very least, you should do this with new clients. Once you find payment terms that work, stick with them.

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Comments OffFreelance WritingJune 16th, 2010

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