What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Money money money

My list of clients who are late in paying me -- past 30 days -- is getting a little long. And that's mighty frustrating. These are reputable companies with long histories. They are repeating clients. And they (well, all but one of them; maybe two) generally give me what seem like valid excuses, or maybe I'm just gullible.

As a freelancer, what leverage do I have?

I saw another freelancer's website the other day in which per claimed 20 percent markup for invoices paid after 30 days. Now, unless you have a spouse who is an attorney from hell who doesn't mind doing collections work, what are you supposed to do? Say it's 35 or 40 or 60 or 120 days, and the check comes in for the invoiced amount. What do you do? Return the check? Or just deposit the thing? And when that client calls the next time, what do you say: "Oh, sorry. I won't work for you anymore because the check didn't include the markup"? Uh-huh. These are the policies of someone who doesn't need the money. I can only imagine the laughter I would get on the other end of the phone from some of my clients if I were to suggest a late-pay fee.

Having said that, I'd love to institute a 3- or 5-percent-off incentive if it's paid within 10 days. Let's see: on an $800 job, would I take $760 for a quick payment? Yeah, I probably would. Maybe I'll experiment with some invoices and see if I can get anyone to take the bait.

A pet peeve: Some of my clients don't give me FedEx or UPS numbers to ship jobs back to them. So I pay for Priority Mail (or my old favorite: DHL Ground, RIP) and then add the amount to the invoice. So what happens? I'm reimbursed for the shipment as part of the regular check, so naturally it appears as income on the 1099. So I'm paying income taxes on the amount they are refunding me for shipping a job to them.

I know these companies have UPS or FedEx accounts. I can't imagine them not having such accounts. I have just finished proofreading a job for one of these clients, and I'm tempted to say, "I'll ship it back to you when I get an account number. There is no reason for me to be paying taxes on the shipping refund." To me that makes perfect sense.

One particularly enlightened client pays me for printing out jobs on my end, as opposed to them printing the job and sending it to me. And they cut me two separate checks. Somehow, I suspect that the check for the printing is not included in the year-end 1099.

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