Since 2017 there has been a culture of calling issues out, especially in the workplace, and long may it continue! With #MeToo and the gender pay equality still hot topics, we turn our attention to the #FairPayFairPlay campaign, launched by FSB Scotland, which caught our eye this week.

Not sure what we are talking about? The #FairPayFairPay campaign works to end poor, or no payment, practices to small businesses and freelancers in the UK. Unfortunately, it’s something that many have faced throughout their career.

When you Google ‘self-employed or ‘freelance’, or go to a business start-up networking event, there’s a lot of focus on the benefits of going it alone. The freedom, the choice of who you will work with, and directly reaping the financial rewards of all that hard work. But there is also a taboo subject in the community, finding it difficult to talk about the nitty gritty of the financial side of things.

For a small business or freelancer, it can be tricky to navigate through the murky waters of payment. A contract has been signed, you’ve done the work, you’ve sent the invoice and yet, you’re still waiting to receive your money. Whether you’re a big or small business owner, employee of a company or self-employed, everyone deserves to be paid on time. Nobody wants to wait 2-3 months for a job they completed ages ago, especially when they have bills to pay! But how can we stamp out poor payment behaviour?

If you’re not already doing so, here’s some of our top tips to help you start off on the right foot with a new or potential client;

  • Invoice on time

The longer you take to invoice, the longer it takes to be paid. Try to setup an automatic, electronic invoice system if you can, or at least aim to send out the invoice on the agreed date between you and the client.

  • Keep track of payments

Setup a system that helps you easily identify when payments are late so you can contact clients promptly.

  • Consider rate packages

Rather than negotiating pay by the hour, can you offer a client a rate for a number of fixed hours for days a week or month? Just remember to log your activities & time for your client to keep track of your workload.

  • Be clear in the contract

Be sure to include any, and all, terms & conditions regarding payments. Such as ‘payment to be made within seven days’, or ‘50% of the agreed amount up front’.

  • Get paid faster

If you have a client on retainer aim to look at setting up a direct debit, which will be easy to keep track off. This also reduces the time spent on the menial task of chasing for payment.

  • Work hard & efficiently

If work has been agreed for a certain time, do so promptly. Respect is a two-way street, so don’t expect to be paid for a half-arsed or late job. Be confident that the work you have completed is to the best of your ability when you go chasing for payment.

Hopefully as a small business, or freelancer, you will rarely have to face this, and ultimately sometimes it can come down to choosing great clients (your gut feeling will help with this) and building a good working relationship with them. Therefore, you can talk open and honestly about money and the financial situation of both businesses.

However, if it does go pear shaped, don’t ever be afraid to send that second follow-up email, or give them a phone, remembering to conduct yourself in a professional but kind manner. Everyone is human, and an understanding on both sides of the collaboration can help to end this process of crappy payments.

Find out more about the FSB Campaign here.

(*We do not work with FSB – paid partnership, client, or sponsored post for example – we just really support this campaign!)
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