What's your payment process?

I’ve bitten the bullet and gone freelance. Or contract. Or something, I’m not entirely sure what people call it. One benefit of working for yourself is charging more money. But with that comes invoicing and with that comes a miriad of payment processes, hoops to jump through, forms to fill in and waiting for cash to hit your account.

I was fortunate enough to score a couple of short term jobs, just after making the move to contracting, and within days, I had a healthy looking cashflow forecast for the following month.

Unfortunately, that month rolled around, and no money arrived. My book-keeping system automates late payment reminder emails but these didn’t seem to improve the situation.

Being diligent (and a big fan of money), I chased up on my absent cash in person and on two occasions, was told that I needed to “fill in some forms so payment could be authorised” and “sorry for not realising sooner”.

After completing and returning all the various paperwork, I had to write-off my first handful of invoices and re-raise them. Fortunately, I use FreeAgent to manage my books and it’s a very simple process and was entirely painless. The process of having to wait another 30 days for payment, however, was not.

I’ve added an extra step to my negotiation process and it’s to always ask up-front: “what’s your payment process”.

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Guy Routledge avatar
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