This is an open letter to clients everywhere.
I am a freelancer. What does that mean? That means that I do not have a regular, steady income. It means that I have to budget carefully because my next contract may come next week or it may come next month. In the meantime, I have to pay bills and put food on the table. I have to pay estimated quarterly taxes and pay additional taxes because I am self-employed. In other words, that amount of your tax bill that your employer covers, I have to cover that as well. In addition, I have to pay for advertising to attract your business. I have to pay for incentives to keep your business. I have to pay service fees to process your business. Did you know that if I am lucky, I’ll only have to pay 3% of that invoice that I charged you for processing and service fees. In other cases, I have had to pay up to 40%. In the end, cash in pocket is very little. Most of what I earn goes right back into attracting new business and buying supplies needed to conduct business.
There are benefits that make freelancing worth the trouble. I can choose my clients. I can choose my workload. My schedule is flexible and I can be my own boss. But the bottom line is that it is not easy. I work way more than 40 hours a week. That fee that I charge is well earned and many times, I give you a break. You may not know it, but if I quote you four hours to complete a job and it takes six, I only charge you for four hours. When you call on the phone, you get a real person. When you want something customized, I do it. If you send me a job close to closing hours and you need it the next day, I stay up to get it finished for you on time. I do not charge you more for after-hours work. If you need for me to drive 45 miles to meet you for a job, I drive there. Yes, I could take that mileage off on taxes, but I could easily add that fee to your bill. I don’t. My goal is to make you happy. If you aren’t happy, I make it right.
But after I do the work and you refuse to pay, you are hurting me financially. Your payment may be my grocery money for the week. Your payment may be the money I was counting on to pay a bill. This is how I earn my living, how all freelancers earn a living. We are honest with you up front. We do good work for you. We are not big corporations who can more easily absorb the losses. We are individuals who accept you as a client and do our best to make you happy and meet your needs. We are flexible for you. We go the extra mile for you. Please be responsible and pay us on time.