Tag Archives: clients

When You Don’t Get Paid

Work as a freelance writer long enough and you will have some kind of issue with getting paid. Since writers often work on a tight schedule–and budget, this can be more than a mere inconvenience. There are some things you can do to try and rectify the issue. Try these:



  • Screen clients when possible. Try to check out a client ahead of time if you can. If you don’t feel good about taking them on, then don’t. Sometimes your gut instinct is right.
  • Give a little time. I can’t tell you how many checks came two or three days after I was ready to pick up the phone and call. Try to build in a grace period if you can.
  • Follow up politely. Often a missing check is just an oversight, and one that can be fixed quickly. Don’t have an attitude when you follow up. It won’t get you anywhere.
  • Ask when you can expect payment. Once someone has followed up on the issue, be sure to nail down a time frame within which you can expect your check.
  • Get it in writing. Do your follow up by e-mail whenever possible. This gives you a solid record of all communications. Even if you don’t plan small claims court action, people tend to feel more nervous about going back on something they put in writing.
  • Be persistent. I once had to follow up…you won’t believe this…twelve times before I got paid. I think they just got totally sick of me and wanted me to go away. I sent reminders on a regular basis.
  • Add a late fee. If you are coming up with a project bid, tack on a late payment fee.
  • Go over the person’s head. I only recommend this in cases where the person you are dealing with doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Do a little investigating and see if you can come up with a contact that is higher on the food chain.

If you have had success at getting a payment from a client who initially didn’t make it on time, please feel free to share your techniques here for others. After all, we’re all in this together, right?


Searching For Writing Work?

I’ve been trying an experiment whenever I need to pick up some quick cash in the slow times. I try to find work in the most out of the way, unusual places. Just for laughs I have set up account at freelance sites I’d never otherwise bother with, like those places where you have to be the lowest bidder on work that pays peanuts to begin with? I’ve set up accounts on several for when the real work dries up.

Some of my fellow writers ask me why I bother doing this, and my reasoning is simple–I’m not in it for the work. I am actually looking for relationships with people who are willing to pay for writing. That first job offered on the bid-for-work sites may not pay you what you’re really worth, but when that client comes back to you again and again as a satisfied customer, that’s worth its weight in gold.

Continue reading Searching For Writing Work?