Being a freelancer has plenty of great perks: you are your own boss, you set your own schedule, and you are working on something that you are passionate about — however, there are some downsides to being a freelancer, such as the lack of stable income. And what’s worse: when a client won’t pay.

So what should you do when a client doesn’t pay for your freelance work? Here are some things to do when you have not received an answer after sending that friendly email reminder.

Check-in with their supervisor.

If you have been sending emails or calling the same point of contact, perhaps you are talking to the wrong person. Go up the chain by copying your client’s supervisor into the email and see if you can find out the contact for their accountant or finance department. Describe the job type in the body of the email, and include the invoice.

Bill a late fee.

If you do not hear back promptly from any of the persons mentioned above, create a new invoice and add an increment of around 5%. Send over the new invoice in an email and explain it. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for them that they cannot keep dragging this situation any longer. They may not pay you the new amount, but what’s important is that you get your full check for the original amount of your work.

Stop doing work for them.

If you are continually doing services for them, or have any ongoing projects with this client, stop the work. Send an email mentioning that you have decided to put a stop to your services until you receive your payment. It does not matter if you sound a bit threatening on your notice as long as this is some form of wake up call for your client that they cannot continue to have you work for free.

Why suing is not the answer.

Notice this blog does not mention to send them to court. Suing costs a lot of time and money and may not be worth it, considering how much they owe you. Also, you may have to present yourself at the court where your client is based, which can be very difficult if they are located in a different city or state.

Preventing the problem.

To prevent not getting paid by your clients, create a new contract which both of you should sign as you decide to work together, change your billing practices, and stay in touch to report your work progress.

At Beckerman and Anderson, we believe it is vital that companies have someone on their side to negotiate and draft the important contracts that may control their business for years to come. Should you ever need a consultation, give us a call at 949-409-4299!