Freelancing Tips

The Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make With Their Billing

Billing…it is probably the worst aspect of being a freelancer. Tallying up the hours, creating an invoice, tracking down non-paying clients, it can be such a pain. Is it any wonder so many of us keep it to the very last minute, and rush things to get through it? Being creative is just so much more fun.

Unfortunately, avoiding it doesn’t make it go away. Neither does going through it as quickly as you can. When you don’t give billing the proper attention it deserves, small (or big) things are missed. When things are missed, you lose money. You may even lose clients. No one wants that.

Do yourself a favor, and avoid these huge mistakes freelancer’s frequently make with their billing.

Not Establishing Clear Late Fees In Contracts

Some clients need a bit of incentive to pay on time. They might suspect that if they don’t take care of the invoice, there will be nothing you can do to force them. After all, you aren’t a big business. But the freelancing world has changed, and the most successful of us know how to use a contract to keep ourselves covered.

But what good is a contract if it doesn’t lay out the clear consequences of defaulting on a bill? Create a section in your contract that specifies your grace period, your fees, and that you will seek legal action.

Not Tracking ALL Time Spent Working

“Oh, I just need to pop on real quick and work on this tiny thing. I don’t need to track the time, it will only take a couple of minutes.”

Sound familiar? This wouldn’t be a problem if you did it, say, once per project. But you probably do it quite a bit more than that, and those minutes add up. I once did an experiment and every time I thought I shouldn’t start my time tracker, I actually turned it on and made a note indicating it had been one of those times.

By the end of the project, which was a long one, those tiny bits and pieces had added up to almost three hours! How much money had I lost over the years because I didn’t feel like writing a quick memo?

If you aren’t going to track all your time, all the time, switch to fixed rates.

Always Charging The Same Thing

Some projects require more work than others. Sometimes, you are in a more dire financial situation. These are perfectly acceptable times to change up what you ask for. Occasionally¬†you will charge more, and at other times you will charge less. Don’t let anyone give you trouble for this…part of being a freelancer is having the power over your own income.

Before you send a proposal, take some time to consider all of the aspects of the project before landing on a final quote. Have pricing sheets ready, custom made for each job.

Send Your Invoice Right Away

You have finished up the project and it is finally time to bring in that sweet, sweet moolah. But first maybe a cup of coffee before you generate and send the invoice. Oh, and you have that text waiting, you should answer that. Oops, phone call. Woah, Netflix has the full series of Breaking Bad now?!

What I am trying to say is it is easy to get distracted and forget to send invoices. If you don’t send invoices, you don’t get paid. If you don’t get paid, you have no way to pay for that endless diet of coffee and Hot Pockets. Send the invoice when you finish the job, not a minute later.

Don’t Screw Yourself Out Of Getting Paid!

There are plenty of clients out there more than happy to jerk you around. Don’t make it harder on yourself by giving them the ammunition to do it, or by shooting yourself in the foot. Avoid these common billing mistakes, and start getting more consistent pay with less frustration.

Want to make this all much easier? Motiv has the tools you need to make billing a breeze, including quotes, invoices, payment integration and notification, contract and proposal templates, time tracking, and much more. Sign up for free!

Photo Credit: MiguelB

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