Protecting yourself as a service provider isn’t selfish. It’s a great way to create boundaries while serving clients at the highest level. Here’s what we mean…
It’s every service provider’s worst nightmare. 😱
You put in your blood, sweat, and tears into a project to get it just right.
You spend so many hours fine-tuning every small detail to get it as close as you can to perfection.
With excitement and a touch of nerves, you send the project and invoice over to your client…
Only to have them straight up ghost you. 👻
Or worse, come up with some excuse about why they “just can’t make the payment right now”.
Leaving you to chase them for months on end for work you’ve already done.
Sis, we know you don’t have time for that!
We absolutely hate to think about any of our beautiful community members getting screwed over.
We’re all about helping you stay profitable and protected, so today we’re bringing you our best tips for making sure you get paid what you deserve.
1. Request Payment Upfront
Upfront payment is where it’s at! Or at the very least — get a deposit.
Many service providers or freelancers use “Net 15” or “Net 30”. But the reality is, there are no rules or standards you have to follow when it comes to this!
Just because it’s a popular method does *not* mean it’s the right method for you. ❌
It’s a better idea to always get paid in full upfront for work before you start. At the minimum, at least get a 50% deposit to protect yourself from doing work without payment.
The last thing you want is to do hours and hours of work for a client only to have them ghost you or not pay up!
Pro Tip: Use a payment platform intended for business (Stripe, Stax, Square, PayPal, etc.) instead of a platform intended for personal payments like Cashapp or Venmo, for added business benefits and protections.
2. Use Discovery Calls to Vet Your Clients
Remember: a discovery call/sales call is not a job interview. It’s not solely for your client to see if you’re “cut out” for the role.
In reality, it’s a two-way conversation! It’s just as much for you to see if it’s a fit as it is for your client.
Be sure to check for red flags and green flags!
- What are things that are non-negotiable when you work with clients?
- What are some warning signs that this client might not be a good fit?
- What are some indicators a client will be a great fit?
For example, one of your big red flags might be if they start trash-talking their previous employees or contractors on the call. Or maybe, you decide that you just can’t work with someone who shows up late to your meeting without a valid reason!
On the other hand, your green flags may be a client who you feel shares similar values, who you can feel trusts you as the expert and/or gives you creative liberty, or someone who is super organized.
Whatever you decide, your red and green flags are completely up to you! What might be a deal-breaker for some might be no biggie for others and vice versa.
3. Always get a client contract
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.
Getting a written agreement is the number one way to protect yourself.
Make sure to have a legally-sound contract in place to truly be protected.
(⚠️ WARNING: Contracts off Google/free contracts from a biz bestie might not be applicable or enforceable. Steer clear!)
Some key provisions you want to make sure are included in your client contract are:
- Clear payment policy & schedule (if not paid in full)
- Termination clause, in case the client decides they no longer want to work together
- Pausing of services policy, to avoid any prolonged projects or contracts
- Office hours, communication method, & response times, to avoid any unrealistic communication demands outside of your working hours
- Jurisdiction clause, to avoid being dragged to court in another city, state, or country, especially if your client is not local to you!
A solid contract with your clients will help you set standards and enforce boundaries as needed and with complete ease.
And they don’t have to be scary or intimidating either!
Get our simple and fun plug-and-play templates for entrepreneurs over in our Contract Shop.
It can be scary striking out on your own as a service provider!
But trust us…most clients are wonderful. 💛
And by putting these strategies into practice, you’ll make sure that if you DO stumble into a bad apple, you’ll be prepared and protected for whatever is thrown your way!
Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can upgrade your client contract while staying Profitable & Protected™✨
Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you. Grab our free Legally Launch Handbook to get the legal lowdown on everything in entrepreneurship, without the confusing mumbo jumbo. We’re serving it up straight and to the point. (Heads up: It’ll forever transform the way you view your client relationships!) Grab your copy now.
*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.