The Easy Way to Avoid Payment Problems

Here’s an easy and simple way to avoid payment problems with clients:

Separate your deliverable from a project’s completion.

Most writers tie their final payment to the project being complete.

So, they only invoice for the work (or for the balance owed) once the client confirms that the project is done. In other words, the client has the final draft and feels no more revisions are needed.

Problem is, that “project completion” date is unpredictable and out of your control.

Your client contact might be away on vacation when you submit your draft. Or the review team might be busy. Or your contact might get pulled into a new project and have to put your project aside for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, you’re sitting around waiting for feedback and revision requests. And because you agreed not to invoice the client until the project is complete, you’re left holding the bag until the client gets their act together.

What if it takes them six weeks to get back to you? Or six months?!

That’s why you need to separate the deliverable from the client’s ability to finalize the project.

Change your contract terms to specify that you’ll invoice the client when you submit the FIRST draft of the deliverable. 

Your payment terms could be net 15 or 30. It doesn’t matter. The point is that the clock starts ticking once you submit that first draft.

So if it takes them six weeks (or six months!) to finalize the project, that’s fine … but they have to pay your invoice in the meantime.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to include terms for revisions in your contract.

Give the client 30 days to submit any requested revisions. Limit them to one round of standard revisions and up to two rounds of minor revisions.

Why 30 days? Because it takes you a lot of mental and creative energy to get back into a project after time has elapsed. There’s a cost associated with that, and you should be compensated.

After 30 days, treat edits as a change order or separate editing project.

Don’t give your clients permission to treat you like a bank. Raise your standards and expectations. When you do, your good clients will follow your lead and respect your terms.



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