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Freelance

9 tips to get your freelance design invoices paid faster

Learn invoicing best practices for freelance designers. Craft, present, and uphold your freelance design invoices so you get paid on time.

4 min read

November 23, 2021

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Getting your freelance design invoices paid quickly is the backbone of your success. Whether you use Bonsai for a freelance invoice or create it yourself, your process and approach to invoicing determines how fast you get paid.

Ideally, whenever a client receives a freelance design invoice from you, the payment should be quick. Here are nine things you can do to get things moving as fast as you deserve.

Thanks to our friends at Bonsai for sharing their expert insights in this article!

1. Be clear about payment terms

First off, make sure your clients know exactly what is expected of them by clearly defining payment terms. Ensure the client reads the payment terms and agrees to them before you commence work. Your payment terms should include details about:

  • Rates
  • Billing method(s)
  • Timeframes
  • Notice periods
  • Fines for late payment

Being clear about the payment info is the foundation of getting paid in full and on time, so we strongly recommend a freelance design contract for all your projects.

2. Ask for an upfront deposit

Don’t be afraid to ask for upfront payment when starting a new design project. It’s common to ask for up to 50% (if not more), and genuine clients will have no qualms about this. On the plus side, this also helps to weed out any would-be freeloaders.

3. Create visually-attractive invoices

If it’s a freelance graphic design invoice, it should definitely look good. Not only will it be more professional, but it will stand out compared to dull, monotone invoices. This can help your freelance invoices trigger a quicker response.

4. Include itemized costs

Even if you are on a retainer, it’s good practice to include a breakdown of itemized costs on your design invoices. This way, you can be more transparent and share a summary of your freelance time-tracking
 sheets or explain your fixed pricing policy, allowing clients to see where their money is going. It will also reduce the chances of any payment disputes.

5. Send your invoices quickly

Get into the habit of sending your invoice immediately after the project is completed or after a key milestone is reached. Clients will pick up on this urgency, and it can encourage them to follow suit by paying you faster. When you have a simple invoice template saved, you can prepare each invoice faster, expediting recurring payments.

You can also use Bonsai to get paid on time. Create, send, and set up automated invoices all from one easy-to-use platform.

6. Opt for short payment timeframes

Some freelancers opt for a 30-day payment period but this is by no means mandatory—especially if you have hired other designers for your agency who must be paid. However, the more time you give a client to pay, the more likely it will be that your freelance design invoice gets buried in the ‘later pile’.

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7. Make payments easy

By keeping things simple, you can facilitate quicker payments. Give clients several payment methods to choose from, such as:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Wire transfer

Also, ensure you include all the necessary details so they can pay without a hitch. You can read up on how to get paid as a freelancer to learn which payment options will work best for you.

8. Set up a late payment sequence

If clients are dragging their feet, don’t be shy about sending a friendly follow-up. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick reminder and you’ll get paid.

You can set up an automated sequence of email reminders for late payments:

  • Start with the first reminder 24 hours after the due date
  • The second 2-3 days after that
  • A third within the week

Don’t forget to include clear warnings about additional fees for late payments.

9. Create a memorable experience for your client

Everything from how you design invoices to your communication skills will help shape your brand. If you excel at your work and present a consistent, memorable brand experience, clients will be more inclined to work with you again. For that to happen, they first need to understand that prompt payments are essential.

invoicing for freelance designers

Invoicing for freelance designers doesn't have to be hard

In most cases, late freelance payments don’t have to do with malicious clients. These clients may just be busy doing their taxes or they’re just a little forgetful. It happens. However, some clients will always pay late, or sometimes not at all.

As a professional, you don’t need this hassle. Look out for any red flags with new clients to make sure you avoid any troublesome relationships. Ultimately, with a solid freelance design invoice and the tips in this article, you can maintain a steady, reliable cash flow that helps you grow your career.

If you’re serious about nailing the invoicing process, sign up for Bonsai to help. With Bonsai, you can create a professional invoice and customize it to your needs, as well as automate late payment reminders. You won’t regret it! 

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