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What to Do If Your Client Won’t Pay for Your Freelance Blogging Work

As a freelance blogger, you will find yourself working for clients with different personalities. Consider this as part of your job – it is your responsibility to treat them in a professional manner, regardless of how they conduct themselves.

By staying professional all the way throughout, you build a reputation as a freelancer who delivers on all projects given to you. This will help you gain more clients in the long run.

However, there are times when you start questioning your professionalism and just want to stoop down to your client’s level. I’m referring to clients who does not pay you for the blogging job you did for them.

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There isn’t anything more frustrating than a client who, after finishing the project and completing all the requirements they asked from you, either stops responding to your emails about the remaining balance of your pay or refuses to hand you the full payment because they weren’t happy with the articles and posts you’ve written without saying why.

It’s easy to fall prey to these clients, who may appear trustworthy and professional enough that you will expect them to deliver on their end of the bargain.

If you haven’t encountered a client like this, then good for you. But if you’re curious on how you should deal with clients like these once you do encounter one, read on.

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Before you accept the job from the client…

If you have been working through a job site like Elance, Upwork, and others, you are protected from clients not paying you in full after completing a project. For instance, Elance freelancers are guaranteed of the available funds indicated in the job offer before they start with the job through the Escrow Payment Protection for freelancers. Corollary, clients will only pay for completed work that they have reviewed and signed off as indicated in the Elance Escrow Protection For Clients.

For those working outside these job sites, you need to come up with a plan to protect you from the possibility of clients running away with your work.

Before finalizing the offer, you must draft up a contract that clearly defines both your roles and expectations from the project you’re planning to accomplish. For this, you can use the Contract Creator at Freelancers Union and Krit Ink to write up a contract that will cover all the details of your working arrangement.

As a freelance blogger, you should always safeguard your services by demanding part of the full payment to be deposited to your account. This alone should determine whether the client will lowball to you or not for your services. If they accept and pay for half of the services to be rendered, for example, then you have incentive to do the job. The other half will be paid after the project is completed. These can  be mentioned in the contract.

Also, be aware of the schedule set by you and client for the project. Make sure that you agree upon a date for the project that you know you will be able to deliver, regardless of what happens. At the same time, define the date on which your client should be able to send the remaining balance of the payment, assuming that the work you submitted is cleared and approved.

After you have done the job for the client…

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If the client refuses to pay you even if you have complied to every single item in your contract, then you have great cause to instigate legal action against your client for breach of contract. Email them of your intentions to file a suit against them and follow through with your lawyer.

Bear in mind that pursuing legal action is costly – probably more than the amount they owe you – and does not necessarily guarantee success even if the cards are stacked against them. Even though you are fighting for the principle of not getting screwed by the Man, you need to think this through and see if you can weather the storm.

However, the real problem is when the project is just a handshake agreement. You have no grounds for a case against the non-paying client. After a week of not hearing back to your client, you need to keep reaching out to him or her using the available contact details. Contact your client via email, using the Contacts page from his or her site, phone number, or other means of communication. There’s just a chance that the client was not able to open his or her email or phone, which would explain why the client hasn’t replied yet. Contact your client every 2-3 days after you last reached out to him or her.

When drafting your email or message, keep it strictly professional. Tell your client that you have completed the project according to his or her specifications in your agreement. Use the email thread and correspondence to list these down, if necessary. Don’t make threats and unreasonable demands for it will only aggravate the situation and give the client reason to not pay you at all.

In relation to this, do not implode. Don’t go all crazy on social media bashing your client who hasn’t paid you. This will put your freelancing career in jeopardy since you risk yourself of being remembered as the freelancer who bashes client whenever you don’t get your way. As a result, prospective clients will shy away from working with you. Again, always practice restraint as a professional.

Lastly, if all else fails and you still haven’t received your payment, put your blogging skills to good use. Write an entry in your personal blog that explains your experience working with the client. Take screenshots of your email correspondence as proof to your story. Use your experience with the client as a reminder for other freelancers that they need to be more discriminating of the clients they will work with in the future.

As courtesy to your client, send them a copy of the draft first and give them the time when you plan on publishing the post. If they don’t respond, proceed with your plans of publishing the post. Share the post on social media as way of promoting it.

By doing this, there is a chance that they will respond and send you the balance of the payment. They don’t want their name to be dragged down by your post that will prevent them from doing business online so you might oblige to your requests.

Final thoughts: Dealing with this type of client is inevitable, despite your resistance. By reading this post, you are more equipped to deal with them while maintaining your integrity as a professional freelance blogger.

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About Author

Content marketer during the day. Heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice (It's still real to me, damnit!). Family man all the time.

1 Comment

  1. Good article, and especially good advice on keeping it professional, and on being proactive by having a contract and clear expectations of payment deadlines.

    Another solution that can work really well (and allow you to keep your professional cool) is to hire a collection agency. Yes, they take a percentage but partial payment is better than none and you risk nothing more than you’ve already lost. Plus, there’s no legal system rigamarole. You just sign the contract and set the hounds loose. I have only had to do this once, but it worked like a charm. ;-)

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