Upfront payments are one of the hardest things to ask for as a freelancer. No matter how you phrase it, from your end it will always sound like a lack of trust. Despite the uneasy feelings surrounding Freelancer Payments, sometimes it is smart to be upfront with a client.
3. On A Long-term Project
Long-term projects take up a significant amount of your work time. This leaves you unable to work on other smaller projects. Because of this, a freelancer’s livelihood becomes attached to the duration of a single project. In the even something goes wrong, the freelancer doesn’t get their time back or the option to reapply to the smaller projects they passed on. And if the client has payment issues of any kind, you are in a horrible position to make demands.
Long-term projects pay a lot more, so should be handled differently. Asking for a percentage of the money upfront is not only necessary, but expected for a project that will suck up a large amount of your work time. Along with the upfront payment, freelancers should consider payment milestones based on the percentage of work finished. That way, even if the project goes sideways, you’ll be paid for work completed.
2. When Additional Materials Are Required
A project that requires additional materials can eat into your final pay. This is why materials that are crucial to a project are covered by the client. This is of course on a case by case basis, since some clients will prefer freelancers to already have the materials on hand. If the project is clear that the freelancer is responsible for the extra materials, then that will come out of your pocket.
However, if the client floats the idea of covering the materials themselves, always get payment for those extra materials upfront. Even if it’s in the contract, spending money for a job only to get reimbursed at the end of the project is a huge gamble. At any point and time, the client can cancel the project and leave you with the cost of materials you’ll never use again. Also, it is important to ask whether the purchased materials need to be returned at the end of the project. This is a small detail that could end up costing you a lot of money.
1. Travel Costs
Any time travel is required for a freelancer, the cost should be covered by the client. This is one of the few times you should consider upfront payment mandatory. The most obvious reason is that travel costs are hard to calculate. The upfront payment should always be flexible, with a small lump sum to covered an agreed upon travel amount. At the end of the project, there should be an additional sum to cover all travel related expenses. Travel costs are tricky for both sides, so accurate documentation is needed.
Honesty is important in any professional relationship. Payment disputes will always affect the quality of the work being done. Get your thoughts out in the open, and both sides will be happy with the outcome.