Vicky Knysh | Minushka
Designer, Illustrator, Curious Person
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When a client doesn’t pay on time

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It's even weird to think about it myself but this year is big because it is 20 years since I work as a designer. I started quite early and since my mom is an artist I always kind of knew I will be doing something "similar".

Half of this time I have worked as a self-employed, I made short breaks and worked in two agencies when I relocated to Dublin and after a while I'm back to work for myself.

While you work in the office you never think about being paid by your clients because you are being paid by your employer. But trust me, your employer does think about being paid on time by their clients, so they can pay you.

The moment you become a self-employed you realize that when you have your own clients, sometimes they forget to pay you. This is super frustrating and actually there are few things you can do about it and some of them I use myself.

  • Most importantly, if you have a client who pays on time - stick with them, it's a rare find.

  • You can charge 30-50% of your total budget in the beginning of the project and the rest can be paid at the final step.

  • If you work with large budgets, you can divide them on 3-4 payments. The "trick" here is that psychologically it's easier for your client to pay you smaller amounts over some time than a big sum at once. (Remember how handy is to pay on lease?).

  • You can offer a 5% discount to your client if they pay you during the first week since the invoice was issued.

  • Always include your "terms and conditions" sentence inside your invoice, saying that your invoice should be paid within X days.

  • If you live in the UK or Ireland you can work with insurance companies who would pay you the amount your client owns you in case it's a big one.

  • There are also agencies who would chase your client and ask them to pay.

* I never used these last two by myself but it's good to know such things exist.

My last advice would be to think twice if you want to work with a client who doesn't pay on time when they approach you again. 

If you have a new client, try to make your research (whenever possible) and see if it's a secure company to work with. 

Choose your clients wisely, time is the most precious thing, don't give it away for free unless it's a cause you believe in.

Aside from velcro, time is the most mysterious substance in the universe.

― Dave Barry

Please get in touch if you have more tips of your own, I would love to hear them.

Wish you happy payments on time!

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Vicky Knysh