One of the biggest problems in the freelancer world is that of late and non-payments. Work is commonly carried out before payment is taken and freelancers are left fighting for their fees.
Late payments cost the UK economy £2.5 billion each year, according to the National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses. Freelancers and the self-employed don’t seem to be taken seriously in many cases, and this can not only be distressing, but it can ruin someone’s business in the process.
Internationally, steps are being taken to provide more support for freelancers in regards to getting paid. New York became the first US city to enact a law giving freelancers the right to a written contract, timely and full payment and protection from retaliation. Due to the success of the act, more US cities are considering similar policies.
In the UK, freelancers are entitled to claim interest on late payments under the Late Payments Act which came into force in 1998. The issue with this act is that the only way to enforce the fee is through the courts. The freelancer must be able to prove a contract was in place and that the work was delivered. This process can lead to the freelancer paying excessive legal fees in order to get payment. In some cases, these legal fees can amount to more than the claim itself.
There are a few ways you can minimise your losses when it comes to your work.
– Keep up to date with the law. It’s constantly changing.
– Start taking deposits for work. Clients that are happy to comply with this are more likely to pay the remaining balance.
– Always draw up a contract between the parties involved. You will need this if you want to take further action.
– Don’t give up. Developments are taking place globally and one day we’ll get there.
Find out more about freelancing and the useful resources available in my book:
T K Williams-Nelson