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There are a lot of horror stories about writers not being paid. Make sure you get paid for your writing with these top tips.
I’ll admit it. I’ve had clients not pay. I think every writer at some point is going to end up with a problem client. This could be a client who doesn’t pay on time and requires multiple emails or a client who just doesn’t pay at all. There aren’t many who haven’t paid. In fact, I have one who was the standout client to make sure I set up steps to ensure I got paid. There was only one other after that, which helped me set up an extra step.
Don’t be one of those who has problem clients. You can learn from others’ mistakes. These are the steps I’ve taken and that you can do to make sure you get paid for your writing.
Ask for 50% upfront
I never take a person or company on their word, anymore. After one negative experience, I learned that it is common for freelance writers to ask for some of the fees upfront, rather than waiting for the completion of the project.
Some will ask for all the fees to start, but the general consensus online is to ask for 50%. However, I do start with the request for 100% upfront as this is simply what I prefer. After all, you wouldn’t expect to be able to take your groceries from a store without paying fully, would you?
There have been times potential clients haven’t wanted to pay this. I’ve thanked them for their time and sent them on their way. If they really want to work with me, they’ll agree to this reasonable term. There needs to be an element of trust between both writer and client.
Most of the time I have no problems with people paying at least 50% upfront. Generally speaking, if someone is going to pay 50% to start with, they’ll pay the other 50% at the end.
Get a contract
You can make sure you get paid for your writing by getting a contract written*. Whether you do it or get the client to create one is up to you and your client. I have a standard contract to send out but do find that some clients already have their own.
Remember contracts can be negotiated. If your client sends one and there are terms you don’t agree with, you can discuss better terms. This could be in line with your payment and how long the contracts run for.
I make it so my contracts only run for a maximum of three months. Your needs and your client’s needs can change. Having an option to look at fees and requirements in three months’ time is a great way to make sure you always get paid the best amount.
Your contract needs to detail your payment requirements. Will it be on the date of project completion? What about at the end of each month? This is completely up to you. Having this detailed in a contract will help if it comes to taking your case to court because you’ve not been paid.
This doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you get paid for your writing. It will give you a legal leg to stand on if the client doesn’t pay.
Research your client or company
This helps with both private clients and revenue share sites. Do your research into the individual or company names to ensure they have a reputation for paying on time.
Not all will have an online reputation, especially if they’re new to blogging. But it’s not just payment for other blogging services you want to look out for. Look for reputation on other types of payments, and watch out for any of their customer or client reviews for their products and services. If they have a bad reputation for customer service, there are high chances they will be difficult to work with and won’t pay on time.
If there is no reputation at all, proceed with caution. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, but you may want to only set up a small contract to start with.
This is really great for revenue share sites. When writers have been paid, they will let others know. It settles many worries, and often means writers can share their referral links with confidence.
It’s also worth checking in with other writers in Facebook groups. There are often times writers share their experiences with problem clients or will have worked with the good clients before.
Check the communication to get paid for your writing
How good is the current communication with the potential client? Are there any warning signs that this could be someone difficult to work with?
They may have a lot of demands to start with, and want a lot but not want to pay that much for it. This could be a sign they’re going to be difficult when it comes to paying. I generally find those that opt for cheap deals are the worst for this. They can want multiple revisions or refuse to pay.
You don’t have to work with someone. There is the right to refuse to work with anyone, and you don’t even need to give a reason. If you feel like the client is going to be difficult, save yourself the time and worry by saying no to a project.
If you have experience with a difficult client, there is nothing wrong with saying no to future work*.
Set up an escrow account
If there are worries with clients and you want to take the full payment, it may be worth considering an escrow account. This means that money can be put there and only released when the work has been completed. The client can’t get the money back without you agreeing to it. There is a higher chance of being paid for your writing.
Escrow accounts offer security for both sides, and I do know of some clients who prefer them. PeoplePerHour has an escrow service set within it, and Fiverr takes payments upfront from buyers and only releases them to sellers once the work is completed.
There are horror stories about writers not getting paid, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the victim of one. With the above five tips, you can create a process that helps you vet potential clients or sites and make sure you get paid for your writing.
What are you struggling with when it comes to writing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.