5 Ways to Survive the Delayed Check

PaycheckIf you are a freelancer, you know the workload can sometimes be erratic.  One week you may have to put in a 100 hour work week to get everything done and the next week you may have a leisurely 20 hour week because you don’t have nearly as much work to do.  Such is the nature of the business.

While many freelancers learn to adjust to the erratic workload, another freelancing problem that is much more difficult to adapt to is the erratic income.  Some clients will pay you promptly, while other clients may delay payment for weeks or sometimes even months.  (And why does the client who owes the most always seem to be the one who waits the longest to pay?)

If you are facing a cash shortfall because you are waiting for a client to pay, you might consider taking the following steps:

1.  Have a no spend week.  Consider putting a halt on all unnecessary spending for a week or longer until you have the check in your hand.  Don’t grocery shop; eat the food you already have at home.  Don’t go to the movies; download a free movie at home instead.  You get the idea.

2.  Charge it.  If you find that you may not be able to meet some bills without the money you are owed, you may need to take more drastic measures.  You can always charge your monthly bills and make sure to pay the card off as soon as you get the money you are owed.

3.  Borrow it.  If the first two options won’t solve your problem, you may need to take more drastic action and get a cash advance as you can here.  Because the interest on a payday loan like this one can add up quickly, borrow no more than is absolutely necessary to float you through the month.

4.  Take on extra work.  You can always try to find additional freelance jobs to earn more money while you are waiting on the money owed.  Of course, this assumes the clients you find will pay you in a timely basis unlike the client you are waiting on.

5.  Threaten legal action.  As a freelancer, you walk a fine line between being too demanding and off putting to being too passive and being taken advantage of.  If you have not gotten your money for a reasonable amount of time and communications are deteriorating, you may need to threaten legal action.

Of course, before you get yourself in a situation where money is this tight, creating an ample emergency fund is recommended.  If you have at least a one or two month savings cushion, you shouldn’t find yourself in such difficult financial circumstances.  Also, make sure both you and the client sign a contract so that if worse comes to worse and legal action is required, you can rest assured you may eventually get your money.  (Even if it feels like it takes forever.)