How to ensure clients pay you when you work freelance

One of the most common doubts before starting to work as a freelancer is how to ensure that clients pay you for the work done:

How do you know if a client is trustworthy? How much can you ask for as an advance? What if they use your ideas and don’t pay you for the final work?

These and other questions stop many professionals from starting out in the freelance world.

However, more and more people are getting used to this type of work, for which there are ways to ensure payment as a freelancer. Today we will see some tips to keep in mind so that you can start working and know how to guarantee that clients pay you for the work delivered.

1. Do your numbers before you start

On previous occasions we have talked about how much to charge for your freelance work . Knowing how to charge for the work you will do is essential to avoid losses, since that would be giving away your work.

Analyze operating costs and daily expenses during the time you are going to work. It includes mobilization expenses, as well as the supplies that you will use to carry out the project. Estimate the number of hours it will take you to complete it. Then, check and double-check your rates before sending an offer to the client.

A tip: 

To avoid wasting too much time quoting, ask the client what their budget is. If you think it doesn’t cover your costs, don’t accept the job.

Some clients are reluctant to say how much money they have. You can have a predetermined range of rates and give them an estimate, but you must make it clear that you must draw numbers to give a definitive price. Never present firm offers without reviewing prices.

2. Present a well-detailed offer

Make sure your offer clearly specifies what your services include and what they do not. Make it clear that any additional requirements will be quoted separately. That way, you won’t find that when working, the client asks for this or that additional thing for the same price.

For example, if you are designing a magazine, detail whether the client must provide all the images or you will include stock. If you are creating a website, does that include hosting or does it have to be paid separately. Remember to include in the conditions the number of times changes will be reviewed.  

A tip for a good offer is to use bullets or vignettes detailing point by point what is being offered and using the written words of the client in their request. Go through the things you asked for one by one and make sure you don’t miss anything. Here you can find some additional tips on how to make a professional job proposal .

Finally, remember to also specify the format of the deliverable that you are going to present. That is, what the client will receive as a final product and service.

Ensure your client is clear about the conditions and ask them to sign the offer to start working. Don’t start working just with words.

A good option to secure the employment contract is through a platform like, where there is an escrow or guarantee deposit system that ensures payment so that you can start working with complete confidence once you have been hired. .

Pay attention to this:

Always keep a record of the communication you have with the client and the progress you provide. SoyFreelancer has a work console where you can leave screenshots and files as proof of the progress of the work. At the same time you can mark the percentage of progress of the project. Once 100% has been marked, the client can accept the final delivery to release your payment in escrow.

3. Clearly establish your delivery and payment dates

When working freelance, there is a payment method in installments as partial deliveries of the project are made.

The most common ways are:

  • 30% advance, 40% advance and 30% upon delivery
  • 50% in advance and 50% on delivery
  • 25% in advance, two payments of 25% each (50%) and 25% upon delivery

Establish when the dates for delivery of advances and payment of installments are and strictly comply with them. Do not advance to the next step if the client has not made the next payment to you.

On the other hand, keep in mind that some companies or institutions are governed by refund policies. That is, 100% against delivery. You can adapt it to what is requested, but do not start the work without a written order or confirmation. Also, remember that this option is only for institutions. Do not accept work without a guarantee of payment for individuals.

On the other hand, if you are hired through a freelance platform, save the offer acceptance email that the system requests. The advantage is that, although in this case payment is made on delivery, it is guaranteed from the beginning that the money will be available once the work is completed.

4. Watermarks or draft versions

A very important point to ensure that your work is not used by unscrupulous people who take your ideas and do not pay is to deliver non-editable or low resolution versions or place it in a cloud service where you can edit access. For example, you can make a file only for viewing and commenting, but not for downloading.

Another good option is to watermark deliverables, whether images or Office and PDF documents.

5. Submit your invoices on time

One way to ensure your payments on time is to present invoices to the client with the time necessary for processing. If it is a natural person, 3 to 7 days is enough time for the person to have time to review it and process your payment on the date agreed upon in your offer.

A day before, send the client a reminder to pay the invoice you previously sent. This way you avoid any forgetfulness.

On the other hand, if it is a company, check before accepting the job which days they receive invoices and the deadlines for processing payments. Also ask what days they deliver checks. Some companies process checks only one day a week (Tuesdays, for example) and deliver checks on another single day (commonly Fridays).

Keep this in mind to avoid surprises when claiming your next payment.


Be careful to ask the customer for all the billing information, such as their address, company information, business name, registration number and others that you may need to issue an invoice.

If possible, it is a good idea to send them a scan of the invoice by email beforehand, so that if there is something to correct, you do it before taking it to them in person and it takes them days to realize the error. This way you won’t have to repeat and wait longer for your next payment.

Once again, here platforms like SoyFreelancer have the advantage that since the money is kept as a deposit, you do not have to worry about this point. Your payment will be available once the project is complete.

6. Make payments easy to make

One point to keep in mind when dealing with individuals and especially remote clients is to offer an easy way to make payment. If it is through account payment, try to use a bank that has a good presence in the city, where service is fast and where the client can go easily.

Another way is to accept payments through bank transfers. But remember that there is a commission for this, so keep that in mind when setting the price and don’t forget to detail in your offer the means of payment and whether or not that includes the commission.

However, this has a drawback, and that is that in the case of a client from another country, international bank transfer fees are usually quite high.

The solution:

Look for a reliable payment gateway to minimize fees, avoiding using direct bank transfer, which is usually much more expensive. Another simpler option is a freelance platform.

At SoyFreelancer, the usage commission is detailed from the moment you submit your offer and payment is made through PayPal, to which you can associate your bank accounts or card. The client pays the security deposit online very easily. Once the deposit is made, they forget about that problem.

7. Maintain good communication with the client and record everything

Once you have been formally hired by the client and begin working, make sure to maintain fluid communication with the client. Also, label and mark as important any email or message that talks about the project.

Remember to comply with the stipulated deadlines and send your invoices on time. You can use an email opening tracking tool to ensure that the client received the invoices or documents sent.

If you work through a platform, keep communication within the site. That way, if necessary, you will have backup that the work has been delivered. The advantage of this is that what you talk about with your client is not lost among huge email chains nor do you run the risk of sending it to the trash by mistake.


As you can see, securing payment from clients for your freelance work is now easier thanks to technology. The most important thing is to know how much you are going to charge, but it is also necessary for the client to be clear about what they are going to receive as a delivery of the final work and when they must pay.

Never be late in deliveries and payments. And stay informed of the payment process carried out by the client, especially if they are companies.

It is also important to protect your work with watermarks or other restrictions that you can remove once you have your final payment. offers you the guarantee of payment on delivery, as well as a work console where you can keep track of everything. It also allows you to present your offer directly to the client, including partial delivery and final delivery dates.

In addition, you can always find new projects to apply in your professional area.

About Author

My self Umer. I’m an Author and Founder of I’m from Pune and If I talk about my Education then I’m Graduate and complete my MBA (Finance & Accounts). I love to share my experience and knowledge to others, that’s why I’m here.

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