Regional Director of Page Personnel, Hong Kong.
Freelance hours and pay are attractive, but they may come with a cost
I am considering quitting my school job and starting up a freelance teaching business. However, while I am sure I will have no problems getting work, I’ve heard horror stories about freelancers chasing up clients for fees. Some wait months to get paid. Is it worth jeopardising my job stability to go freelance? Is there any way of getting clients to pay promptly without sounding threatening? And if they don’t, what options do I have?
It is a brave move going into freelancing. In more recent times, it has become quite popular and more common in certain industries, such as education, media and creative industries. Freelancing is definitely a lifestyle choice for many people and whether you choose to do a freelance role or a more stable, permanent role, you are the best person to know whether this is what you are looking for. With freelancing, it does come with the risk of uncertainty around pay, however you usually do get a higher income for the risk you take.
With regards to payment for your services, you will come across all sorts of clients. Some will be great to work with and will pay promptly, and of course, you will come across some of the more difficult clients, who will not be prompt in paying their dues. Here are a few suggestions in dealing with payments:
● make sure you have solid contracts in place between yourself and your clients, which clearly state the payment terms
● ensure each contract is signed by both parties and you have it documented
● once you have completed your services, make sure your invoices go out on time - the earlier you send out invoices, the earlier they will be processed and paid
● follow up invoices as promptly as possible - communication is key and if done correctly, you won’t sound threatening.
It is vital to make sure you have the relevant legal contracts in place and continue to develop your relationships with clients and communicate effectively with them for the best results.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as The risks of freelancing.