Being self-employed can be difficult as in many cases there is never a guarantee of how much money you are going to make. Often there is no fixed income, and always a fear as to whether you will achieve enough money to meet your requirements. This fear increases when a client chooses not to make your payments on time, or even worse ignores paying you for the work you have done. 
Unfortunately, late payment is a common problem self-employed people have to face all over the world. Everybody deserves to be paid for the work they have done and it is important to know what your rights and options are when a client decides not to pay you. 
Below are some of the tips, which may help you if and when your client starts ignoring your calls and claims for payments owed to you using various excuses to do this. 
1. Call your client - Sometimes a simple phone call is more effective than several emails. So, after doing your homework call your client and let them know what your situation is. During the phone call, you should be friendly but firm and give your client time to explain themselves and hear them out before responding. If you feel there is a genuine reason behind the delay in payment, you can then give them a few days' extension to settle your account. 
2. Be consistent – The client should know you are serious about your work so make sure it meets the quality and time scales in the contract. You should deliver the work and raise your invoice on time in accordance with the contractual agreement. Always keep a complete record of all the works and services you are providing so there are no valid reasons for non-payment. If you feel that the client is avoiding your calls and emails keep a record of times and dates made and continue calling them regularly. Persistence can often put you to the top when prioritizing payments. 
3. Ensure everything is in writing – Before commencing a contract ensure you have a signed agreement clearly stating your role, duties, remunerations and payment dates. Although very time consuming having records of all activities, communications and payments will help protect you from a client who chooses to ignore your payment requests. Also keep copies of any issues that are raised in connection with your work as these may be used against you when a client decides to withhold payments due to you. If it is a large contract it may be divided into smaller stages so that payment is made after the completion of each stage. A contract is a legally binding document and if not honored by the client you are able to take further actions to recover monies owed including legal proceedings. 
4. Offer rectification of work – If the client is not paying because they feel that the work is not of the desired quality they were expecting then offer to re do the work or rectify the points of issue raised. This may take more time, but it will prevent your client from refusing to pay on substandard ground. 
If all these measures fail to achieve payment then it maybe time to take professional help and the use of a No Win No Fee Debt Collection agency may be the answer to recovering your monies without paying out high legal fees. 
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