Ways to Help You Get Paid
One thing that often gets overshadowed for people who own and operate a studio/freelance is that it should be a business first, and if you're apart of this group we're here to let you know that you should get paid. Your time and talent is valuable, plus all the money and work you've put into perfecting your craft should all be taken into account. Yet, how much money right now is not in your account because you haven't been paid yet?
At any one time, 78 percent of small businesses are awaiting payments for longer than the agreed payment terms” Source
You're not alone, as that money could prove vital if you happen to run into any unforeseen emergencies. Maybe the car breaks down, an unexpected medical bill happens, or an unfortunate repair bill around the house leave you in a tight situation.
Majority of US full-time freelancers are not prepared for an unexpected financial trouble with 80% of them reporting an unexpected expense of $1,000 would be difficult to pay.” Source
Every freelancer has their own stories of spending weeks if not months waiting to get paid for a project they completed while hearing a line such as;
- I'll get it to you next week I promise
- I haven’t been paid yet this month
- We actually ran over budget
Many also fear that if they are too aggressive, or are constantly nagging to get paid that the client will never work with them again, or may have a bout of imposter syndrome feeling inadequate and that they shouldn't even be paid for their work. We're not saying you should only be in this job for the money, and in fact if that's your primary reason for pursuing audio you're in the wrong place, but remember, this is a business and businesses need to make money. So here are 3 ways to set boundaries and systems in place to make sure you get paid.
1. Agree to terms up front
Before you spend any time on the project, you need to come to an agreement with the client on how the project will be billed. We're not going to get into how to set your rates in this article, but make sure your client knows as the farther into the project you get without having the money talk, the harder it is to come to an agreement. The worst case scenario is if you've put weeks into a project only to have the client simply walk away because you can't reach an agreement on money. You've now just wasted your time, and lost that client with nothing to show for it.
Now you might be saying, what if I scare off the client at the beginning by bringing up payment? If that happens, then you're probably better off because that means the client only wanted to use you for their gain. Clients who actually understand the value you bring to the table will find a way to make sure you can get paid, and getting the money discussion out of the way from the start means you can focus 100% on making their project and bringing their vision to life.
2. Create payment deadlines
Along with agreeing to an amount, put an actual date for when you need to be paid and stick to it. Even if you agree to the amount, without a deadline to hold them accountable clients might not pay you for an extended period of time.
This doesn't mean you have to receive the entire amount upfront, as you can split payment into two 50-50 installments, or even work out a long term payment plan if necessary. But having a specified date at least lets you know when you should be getting paid which can help you plan for other aspects in your life, and can give you peace of mind that yes you will be able to eat and pay bills.
Record labels are notorious for paying late, and there is only so much that can be done about this, but whenever possible, even if you're working with a big brand try to set a payment due date as big brands are just as bad if not worse at paying contractors and freelancers in many cases.
3. Document your agreement
Once you have an agreement and payment schedule, make sure you get a signed and dated document proving that the client has agreed to your terms. Even if the client has agreed verbally or in principle, always, always, always get it in writing.
This document doesn't need to be complex and filled with lawyer jargon, but it should contain several key items;
- The amount/rate for the project
- Payment date or payment schedule
- What you are going to deliver to the client in return
- When the project will be delivered
If you are working with a larger business you may also need to ensure the person who has signed the contract is in fact authorized to sign for the company, and that the document also includes details such as;
- Contact details for the signee
- Account or department number
- Order number
This will help ensure that when it comes time to pay larger companies can't use the excuse that the contract doesn't have the right information, or they aren't the correct person to be fulfilling invoices. Plus, if worst comes to worse and you have to pursue legal action having everything in order from the start is your best chance to ever see that money as the first thing every lawyer will ask is "Do you have the agreement in writing?" because without a written or signed contract you'll be fighting an uphill battle the whole way.
If you don't already have something in place there are plenty of templates you can find online, or you can download the templates we've made for you located directly below.
Payment Agreement PDFs
How HitSend can you get paid, faster
Deposit and Approval Payments
Setup deposit and approval invoices for splitting payments, require all the funds up front, or on approval to meet the needs of your clients. If a deposit is required, clients must pay the deposit before they can approve the project, and optionally you can even restrict access to the player until the deposit invoice is paid.
Additionally, you can require the Approval invoice to be paid before a client can mark the project as approved.
HitSend gives you the power to control when clients can download files, and can automate the release of files once the approval invoice has been paid. This lets the system be the bad guy stopping clients from getting their files until they make the payment, and protects you from delivering files before receiving payment.
You can also setup a custom Deliverable package for the client to download once the project is complete so they will have all the necessary files.
Additionally, you can restrict downloads for a project without using any of the integrated payment systems HitSend has in place if you want to continue using another way for receiving payment.
Get paid your way
HitSend allows you to get paid through multiple payment portals making it easier for your client to fulfill the invoice, along with letting clients use payment methods they're comfortable and currently using. In addition to accepting every major credit card, clients can also use PayPal, Venmo, Stripe, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Microsoft Pay, Grab Pay, and WeChat Pay based on your account settings.
Additionally, clients may have access to PayPal's Pay Later program where you get the total amount upfront, and your client can then stretch the payments out over 4 installments.
Collect payments from around the globe
Not only can you get paid through a number of different payment platforms, you can create invoices in 135+ different currencies on a project by project basis, and accept payment from 200+ countries so you can work with the band down the street, or on the other side of the world.
Too many self employed creatives and studios have to close up shop because they can't make ends meet, or worse end up in serious debt. Just remember, a business needs to make money to survive and the best way to ensure you get paid is to have a signed agreement before putting any work into a project.
Disclaimer: HitSend (SessionFuse Inc.) cannot be held liable for any actions, breach, or loss of contract from using the templates provided.