There are a lot of trials involved with working as a contractor. Whether your area of expertise is construction, writing or web design, getting by is seldom easy for independent contractors. Not being able to rely on a regular paycheck is among the worst things about working as a contractor, as this ensures that you’re constantly on the hunt for new clients. Further complicating matters is the fact that some clients fail to process payments in a timely manner. Any contractor for whom late payments have become a frequent problem would be wise to heed the following tips.
Promptly Submit Invoices
Although there are exceptions, most companies require contractors to submit invoices after completing jobs. This is particularly common when contractors are paid by the hour instead of per assignment. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to promptly submit your invoices. The sooner your clients receive them, the sooner they can process your payments. In order to make your invoices look as refined as possible, take care to download this professional estimate for free. Additionally, don’t wait around for your clients to request invoices, as submitting them is your responsibility.
Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out
When payments aren’t processed on time, many contractors are hesitant to reach out to clients in response. In many cases, these contractors believe that such inquiries will be seen as a nuisance and ultimately diminish their chances of receiving work from certain clients in the future. While this trepidation is certainly understandable, you should never be afraid to contact a client in regards to a late payment. More often than not, late payments are the result of simple oversight and clerical error as opposed to a conscious effort on the part of a client to stiff you. Instead of admonishing you for making a perfectly reasonable inquiry, your client is more likely to be genuinely apologetic and express a desire to fix the problem ASAP. Odds are there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the lateness.
Set Payment Dates
If you have clients that you contract with on a consistent basis, talk to them about setting up payment dates. This entails being paid for all the work you complete for them in a given month on a predetermined date. For example, the money for all the work you complete this month will be deposited in a checking or savings account on the first of the following month. It should be noted, however, that this type of system works best with clients who pay by assignment instead of by hour.
While there are some definite upsides to working as a contractor, it can’t be denied that the lack of a regular salary can prove very stressful. Since most contractors can’t depend on regular paychecks, it’s only natural that they’d want to receive their payments in a timely manner. In the interest of making late payments a thing of the past, all contractors are urged to put the pointers discussed above to good use.