Getting your animation clients to pay you on time is a common problem for many businesses and individuals. If you’re new to the business, you may assume that you’ll automatically get paid after getting hired or completing a job, but, typically, that’s just the beginning of getting your paycheck.
If you want to receive your money within a certain amount of time, it will take some effort on your part. This is a reality of owning a business, freelancing, or doing one-off work. Don’t worry, though: getting paid on time and on your terms is not impossible!
Here are 10 strategies you can use to get your animation clients to pay up.
1) Set Expectations From the Start
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When presenting a contract or proposal to your animation client, communication is key. You should clearly define the total cost, terms of payment, how the payment will be sent, and any late payment penalties for your animation project.
Don’t let them find excuses not to pay you on time. You could give a late payment penalty to inform your client of an increase of 5% in the fee for every one week of delayed payment.
2) Customize Your Invoices
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In some cases, all you need to get clients to pay you early or in time is to design your invoice well. According to the study of QuickBooks and Due, invoices with logos mean that clients are 300% more likely to pay them.
Also, invoices with payment terms and due dates are more likely to be paid on time than invoices without them. Before sending your invoices, make sure it is addressed to the right person and has the correct address and contact details.
3) Automate Your Invoices
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Tough love time: sometimes, the reason for a late payment may be your fault and not your client’s. If you’re already juggling promoting yourself on social media, meeting and communicating with clients, and working on your animation projects, you might forget to send out your invoices on time.
It’s best to use automated invoice payment systems to schedule payment reminder emails to keep track of your accounts receivables. With invoice payment systems, you can also easily add your logo, contact information, special reminders, and a link within your invoice to pay easily.
This way, your clients won’t have the hassle of going to another app or website to send their payment. Saving even one step for your client makes it more likely that you will get paid on time.
An invoice payment system will ensure that your clients pay you on time and that you will have a long-lasting relationship with your clients.
4) Get Paid Upfront
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One of the most effective ways to get clients to pay you on time is to have them pay you upfront before you start working on any animation project. Unfortunately, not many animators know this, and some are afraid to ask for an upfront payment term.
Getting paid upfront is beneficial because you won’t have to make extra efforts to remind your clients to pay you on time. Plus, you won’t have to worry about clients cutting off contact with you and not paying.
This can benefit the client as well because they can get everything taken care of from the beginning and not need to worry about these things later.
It’s also an excellent way to filter out potential clients who are unprofessional in their payment schedule. It will allow you to build trust with your clients, improve cash flow, and keep your clients engaged with you while you work on their animation projects.
5) Give Your Clients An Easy Payment Process
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If you know your clients have a preferred payment method, whether that be traditional paper check, cash, online credit/debit, or mobile payment, then allow them to pay you that way.
Adjusting your payment method is much easier than a client not paying you on time. You can also try out some online payment solutions such as PayPal, Stripe, Due, and Dwolla to see which is more convenient and effective for you and your clients.
6) Send Gentle Reminders
If your animation clients signed a contract a few months ago, they might have forgotten that their payment date will be in two days.
Instead of getting angry and sending not-so-pleasant messages to your animation client when they don’t pay on time, kindly remind them of the due date of their payment via email, text message, phone call, or whatever form of communication you decided on. Remember, kindness pays!
7) Keep Communication Lines Open
Sometimes when clients get busy, they aren’t able to track if they have paid their invoices.
There could be a problem with the payment process in your animation client’s accounting department, which is why they couldn’t pay you. All you need to do is send a simple follow-up email or give them a phone call to know what went wrong.
In serious cases when your animation client hasn’t paid you for several weeks or your client always has been repetitively sending delayed payments, it’s necessary to be firm in communicating to them that their poor payment schedule has to change.
When taking a direct route like this, remember to maintain professionalism and offer an empathetic and understanding point of view while still being firm.
8) Maintain Friendly Relationships With Your Clients
Clients are most likely to pay you on time if they don’t feel like you see them as a living breathing paycheck. This is when building a relationship with your clients can really come in handy.
In order to form better bonds with your clients, try promoting the work you do for them on your social media, talk with them over a meal, or even send them a personalized card or gift on special occasions to make them feel valued.
Also, speak kindly to them. Calling them by their names and using “thank you” and “please” can go a long way!
9) Give Your Clients Incentives for Paying On-Time or Early
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Rather than punishing your clients for not paying on time, you could try to give them incentives for paying on time or early to encourage them to keep up their good payment habits.
You can give them exclusive offers that they can use the next time that they work with you, or you can give them discounts if they pay you a week after receiving their invoice. Just make sure to budget for this from the start: your livelihood comes first!
10) Cut Off Future Work
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According to Michael Janda, when it comes to handling clients who don’t pay on time, the key is to keep your billings and workload completed as close in harmony as possible.
It’s not fair to you if you’ve done 80% of the animation work for your client, but the client hasn’t even paid 50% of their total payment yet.
If you did all nine steps but still have no success in making your client pay you on time, you might have to cut off your work relationship with your animation client until they can send you their payment.
Stopping your work on your project with their client will prevent you from losing your time, money, and efforts to an untrustworthy customer. If a client can’t pay, you have to move on to new clients.
Wrapping It Up
As a freelancer, it’s not easy to get clients to pay you on time while dealing with other different areas of your animation business.
Managing your cash flow can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but with the help of automated invoicing payment systems, clear payment terms, a smooth payment process, maintaining friendly relationships, and giving incentives, you are sure to get your clients to pay you on time.
If you’re interested in learning more about tips and hacks about animation and its business side, make sure you join our free masterclass and get a copy of our free marketing handbook.