Are you having trouble getting paid?

Freelancers UnionIf you’re having trouble getting paid, you’re not alone.

And lucky for you, your union is doing something about it. (If you’re not yet a member of the Freelancers Union, you can join for free here.)

Here’s an update from Carolyn Silveira, our connection at Freelancers Union, who will be joining us in person for the first time at the Creative Freelancer Conference in Chicago, June 23-24, sharing more details about what your union is doing!

Recently a group of 60 members lobbied New York legislators to pass our bill, the Freelancer Payment Protection Act, that would make sure all freelancers get paid.

All together we were 60 people, a veritable sea of red “Squeaky Wheel” t-shirts. In fact, while one team sat in on the Assembly Labor Committee’s vote on our bill (it passed!), we overheard one Assemblyperson say to another, “Who are those people?” To which the reply was, “That’s Freelancers Union. They’re a powerful new union.” To which we can only say, Yeah, baby!

Read the rest here and join if you haven’t already! (It’s free.)

BTW: If you are having trouble getting paid, there is an entire chapter on the topic in The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money by Ilise Benun. And if you’re having trouble figuring out what to charge, check out Marketing Mentor’s Pricing Bundle.

4 thoughts on “Are you having trouble getting paid?

  1. WhyMeLord

    I’ve been at this for near 50 years. I have few problems getting paid. First I require a singed contact or letter of understanding. Second I require a deposit of 1/3 to 1/2 of the estimated cost of the project with a provision of progress payments if the project is long term or involves a lot of extra work, for example extensive revisions. Last I do not under any circumstances release the final work product or files until I have the final payment in hand. There are a few other T&C such as the usage rights do not transfer until full payment is received.

    I impress these sound business principles on my students and interns. Of those who have followed my advise few have been stiffed and even then not fully.

    I do have some clients that balk at those requirements but real world as most of those don’t intend to pay regardless so what have I missed?

  2. Dan

    I never get stiffed. I think that’s because I have contracts ready to go and get them signed — and understood — before the work proceeds. I also get about one-half of the money up front, with progress payments as the work proceeds. That one-half of the money is the design development/termination fee.

    I find that having a contract and a payment up front ensures that clients talk to their financial people before anything happens. Having a contract also gives both of us the peace of mind of just what has to happen for the project to proceed without rancor. Just like we’re sometimes afraid to talk about money with clients, clients are afraid to talk about money with their financial people. Interesting!

    Getting money up front is a great way to not have to run after anyone for money. If I’m going to be buying printing on behalf of a client, I get paid for that — with markup — before the presses roll.

  3. KC

    I am currently having trouble getting paid for work that I am doing for a few of my clients. I have been doing work for one client for over 5 years and the other client for a year. Their projects are regularly scheduled, but their payments are not. Both clients started out being very timely in their payments, but since the economy is still rebounding, so are their payments, at least that is what they are telling me. One client has been trying to play catch up which I appreciate but the other is asking me for leniency like I am a creditor. I understand everybody is in a pinch right now, but I believe that if you run a business you have to pay your employees first before you turn a profit. Am I wrong on this? Anyway, is it too late to write up contracts for these accounts or just grin and bear it? Any advice?

  4. Monica

    I have mixed results with clients over getting paid. The biggest problems are with ‘friends’ or my older clients that I naively didn’t create contracts for. I trust that they’ll pay me (they’re so in love with the work I do & they don’t know anyone else for the jobs), but it’s sometimes MONTHS before I actually DO get paid. Is there a professional and proper way to bring up contracts at this point in time? And how?

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