5 mistakes freelancers make on their first invoice
It isn’t uncommon for people in the creative industry to often do freelance work; in-fact here at MIN Creative Co we encourage our team members to take on some side work every once in a while. MIN Creative Co itself started off as a freelancer company. We have noticed however that there are common mistakes creatives often make when invoicing/contracting clients. We’ve tried to help by giving guidance on the 5 most common mistakes freelancer make on invoicing their clients.
- Limit the number of revisions
When a creative make their first step into the industry, there are many things that they may naturally miss. Assigned with helping a client to find the best possible solution for their business, idea, or brand. It can sometimes be tricky. The cost of service is measured by how long and how much effort is required. Often clients would like a bit of freedom to tweak or even change things; which is fine. But Ensuring that there is a formal agreement on the number of revisions is essential. It helps a client be more certain about what they want, while also allowing the creative to charge more money beyond the number of revisions agreed on. Ensuring that neither one or the other, wastes their money or their time.
2. Request a deposit.
It may seem normal as a freelancer when you first start, to feel you can trust a client you are working with. Experience has taught us too often that can be done but not paid for. The truth is that should never be the case. It is vital to agree on a deposit that is paid even before any work can be done. This legitimizes the partnership. When both parties have something to lose, if the deal falls through, then they tend to be more invested in ensuring a successful partnership. Often working without requesting a deposit, means you may end up working for free. The deposit may even help the client to manage their budget better if they don’t need to pay the whole fee all at once.
3. Charge a late payment fee
Money isn’t always lying around and people often overstretch their pockets. Having done all the work yet not get paid on the agreed date isn’t unique to freelancers, it happens to our company too. Not including interest or late payment fees is one of the big mistakes a freelancer is likely to make. Without adding the interest fee on late payment, it means the creative won’t have much control over when they will receive the money that they worked for. When there is a penalty attached, it ensures the client will be encouraged to pay on time. If they don’t pay on time, the longer the delay, the more money they’ll have to eventually pay the creative.
4. Sign off on quotations
This one is one of those which may seem like an obvious no-no. Nonetheless, it is the no-no that almost everyone is likely to fall victim to. It is though, a mistake you cannot afford to make too often. Truth is not getting the client to sign off on the quote means that there is no official agreement between the two parties. Not everyone is honest, and some people are sneaky and want to renegotiate an agreement at the end of the project.
5. Have everything in writing
Communication is a vital skill to have when you work with people. Just know that no matter how smooth the conversation goes, a verbal agreement is just another discussion. Yes, it may lead to an official agreement but make sure that you don’t make the mistake of not recording it. Writing things down and getting the other party to sign, is the easiest and most effective way to do it, but this can’t work for every little change. After every conversation, send an email that sounds a bit like this; “as per our telephone discussion, we have agreed upon the following changes, in x amount of time, for x amount of payment”. Clients change their minds all the time. They might agree to an idea and give you the go-ahead, but people often take lightly what they say in conversation. The last thing you want is “he said she said” situation where it’s your word against theirs.
Now that you know what not to do on your invoices, go forth and thrive in the world of freelancing. We trust that your journey to getting your money right will have less hiccups and more smooth projects. As a bonus tip, make it easy to get paid by making sure that your banking details and payment options are visible on your invoices.