We know that for many freelance members, chasing payments is a perennial problem, and there seems to be no end to the hoops and barriers to navigate before payment is received.
Do you need a purchase order (PO) number? How long does it take companies to provide PO numbers? Is there any ‘new supplier’ paperwork to fill in? Is there any paperwork around IR35 that you need to complete. If your VAT registered, do you need to provide HMRC paperwork confirming this? The list g0es on, and on, and on.
So, too, members tell us are times they are waiting to be paid for media advisory boards and other consultancy work — and and recently a number of members have raised the issue of the 60-day payment periods that some companies claim as their ‘standard’ payment times.
If you haven’t already voted on our home-page poll about 60-day payment times, please do so. However, it’s already clear that members believe 60 days is not acceptable — and they’re right.
Set your own terms
As the UK Government’s advice for small businesses states:
You can set your own payment terms, such as discounts for early payment and payment upfront.
Unless you agree a payment date, the customer must pay you within 30 days of getting your invoice or the goods or service.
It doesn’t matter what the company claim is ‘standard’. Check the small print of any paperwork you’re sent and add a line to your email confirming your fee to say your payment terms are 30 days.
We have made this post public as the more freelancers, small businesses and sole traders who realise they don’t have to put up with 60-day payments terms, the sooner this practice stops.
If you’re a member, please sign in so we can name and shame the 60-dayers — or give credit where it’s due, to prompt payers.How to get paid promptly: POs, 60-day terms and other freelance perils
Join the discussion 4 Comments
This post was triggered by an agency called Burson Cohn & Wolfe. It never crossed our minds to ask how or when we would be paid because most of these small payments are made automatically without invoicing. I always tell them I’m VAT registered just in case that causes a problem. I was in contact with them after the advisory board and mentioned in passing a couple of months later that I hadn’t been paid. Almost three months after the event I asked again and was told I would have to invoice if I wanted to get the agreed fee – and wait another three months…
The moral of the story is always check when you accept the job otherwise you risk not getting paid at all
Thank you Jane Symons for giving them a flea in the ear!
For a long time I used to avoid ‘making a fuss’ about late payments, for fear that I would lose work. Then I came to the realisation that it’s not worth working for companies that have to be chased for payment. The time spent emailing and calling is time that’s much better spent working for those who do pay promptly.
Would suggest we keep comments about individual companies to the password protected post — scroll back up to the story for the link.
Great posts. And I think Lois is right to name and shame the company!
The freelance branch of the NUJ has backed our campaign to stamp out 60-day payments