Freelancing appears to be on the rise as well, with the gig economy booming. According to the Freelancers Union, nearly 57 million Americans freelanced in 2019, and the number continues to rise.
If you plan on freelancing at some point in your career or are already doing so, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to accept payments from clients.
Like anything else, some options are better than others.
Accepting checks as payment is one of the simplest ways to get paid as a freelancer. The most significant advantage is that depositing a check into your bank account is free of charge. This alone may make checks one of the best forms of payment for many people.
Accepting checks has disadvantages, such as the time it takes for the check to arrive in the mail and clear in your bank account. If you need money right away, electronic payment options may be preferable, but you can’t beat the price of checks.
PayPal is a popular payment option for freelancers. It’s free to open an account, and clients can pay you electronically once you’ve completed your work. The money appears in your PayPal account almost immediately, and you can transfer it to your bank account with ease. Transfers to your bank can take a long time unless you pay extra fees, but you can spend money from your PayPal balance right away with a PayPal debit card.
What is the most significant disadvantage? Fees. When you receive PayPal payments, you can expect to pay a 2.9 percent transaction fee plus $0.30 as a fee.
A small percentage may seem insignificant if you accept the majority of your payments through PayPal or other methods with similar fees, but it can add up to thousands of dollars per year or more.
Making a Purchase with a Credit Card
Customers may prefer to pay with card, and freelancers are able to accept credit cards. These payments are frequently processed through PayPal or another online payment system.
You can also purchase your own credit card processing equipment to accept payments from clients. A merchant account, as well as wireless credit card terminals and credit card processing software, are required. Because several vendors have hardware that works with your mobile device, you don’t need the bulky terminals you see at checkout counters.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of freelancers who accept credit cards are compensated via apps or other third-party service providers. You can accept credit cards using your PayPal, Google Wallet, Wave, Square, or QuickBooks account instead of purchasing expensive equipment.
Electronic funds transfers
Electronic funds transfers are a quick, easy, and low-cost method of receiving payment (EFT). Without the use of apps or credit card processors, payments are made directly from one bank account to another. The transfer of funds from one bank to another may take two to four business days. However, unlike PayPal, you won’t have to worry about transferring the money again once it arrives.
The disadvantage of EFTs is that they require your bank—or your client’s bank—to accommodate transfer requests. It can be difficult to transfer money from one bank to another (and expensive). As a result, clients who hire freelancers prefer to pay them with checks or through online apps. On the other hand, a client with a dependable payroll provider may be able to set up payments quickly.
In addition to keeping track of your income and expenses, your accounting software may be able to assist you in collecting payments. Furthermore, when billing and accounting are handled by the same service, revenue is automatically updated and linked to the client.
Invoicing software such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks can assist you in creating invoices and facilitating customer payment. They might also send you reminders and let you know if your clients have looked at your invoice. Check to see if your accounting software can also send invoices and process payments.
In addition to transaction fees, you may be charged an additional fee.
Cash App is a freelancer-friendly online payment option that works similarly to PayPal. The funds are transferred to your linked checking account or debit card instead of being transferred from your online account to your bank account. Unless you pay a fee for an instant transfer to your debit card, the funds will arrive in your account after several business days, similar to an EFT.
For personal use, sending money from one person to another is free. Clients can make payments without having a Cash App account by going to cash app
To make the payment process more efficient, try the following suggestions.
Keep it simple.
Always read and sign a freelancing contract before beginning work on a project. To avoid payment delays, make it as simple as possible for clients to pay you. Provide a variety of choices so that they can select the one that best suits their needs. On invoices, for example, include a “Pay Now” button, accept credit card payments, and include instructions for paying by check.
Invoices are issued frequently.
Don’t put off billing for the work you’ve done for too long. While invoicing may appear to be a distraction, it is also critical to collect the revenue you generate. If you wait too long, clients may require additional reminders, and they may get the impression that you aren’t in a hurry to get paid.
For freelancers, monthly invoicing is a popular choice because it allows you to keep track of your invoices and payments.
Just because you sent an invoice doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be paid. Set up a system to ensure that you’re getting paid, and communicate politely with late-paying clients. It’s possible they’re pressed for time, but it’s also possible they’re hesitant to pay.
If they’re just dragging their feet or have a problem with your service, communicate with them to avoid things getting out of hand (or billing process). This is something that some billing services will take care of for you. You may be able to select options with your service, such as “send reminder after 30 days,” if an invoice goes unpaid.