Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
version 3, draft 3

How to Deal with Freelance Writing Clients that Don’t Pay

Freelance writing is envied as a career which allows you to work flexible hours in the comfort of your own home. However, this business is fraught with a myriad challenges, including clients that don’t pay. Clients refuse to pay for different reasons. It could be due to a legitimate reason such as poor quality of work. At other times, they might just be out to scam freelance writers. However, there are situations where the client simply forgets.

If your client fails to make a payment, here is what you should do:

Check your contract

Remind yourself of the terms of payment which were outlined in the contract. For instance, the contract might indicate that payment will be made within 7-14 days after project delivery. If you begin demanding for payment only two days after project completion, you will only end up irritating the client. This could eventually result in the loss of repeat business.

Give a gentle reminder

When payment is due, send the client a gentle reminder via email. You could attach a copy of the contract or invoice. Once you have done this, wait a few days for the response


If you don’t get a response within 7 days, call the client. If he guarantees that you will be paid, ask for a specific date. Let them know that you are holding them accountable to their word. If the payment is not made on the agreed date, keep calling the client at least twice every week. In case this does not work, it would be advisable to take a different course of action.


Send another email to your client and inform them that you are seeking redress elsewhere. If the person works for a company, send a copy of the letter to the head of accounts, his supervisor, and even the CEO.

If despite all your efforts nothing is forthcoming, you could take the following courses of action:

Freeze any projects you are currently undertaking

If the client has not paid you for past work, it is highly unlikely that they will pay you for future jobs. It would, therefore, be advisable to put all work for that client on hold until payment is made

Suggest a payment plan

If a long-term client claims to be short of funds, you could suggest a payment plan. For instance, if they owe you $500, it might be easier for them to pay $100 per week instead of the whole lump sum.

Report them

Warn your client that you will report them if they don’t pay you. You can report them in sites such as , Better Business Bureau as well as different writing communities. If they are concerned about their reputation, they will make an effort to pay immediately.

If you have delivered some work to clients, you deserve to be paid. Don’t accept to be mistreated by a client in the name of maintaining a good relationship. Failing to deal with this issue will not only hurt you, but also other writers who might work with the same client.


Image: iStock

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'





How To Deal With Difficult Freelancing Clients

Every freelancer comes across some clients who are causing them sleepless nights. In most cases, problems can be solved through effective communication and by laying the...

How to Handle Freelance Writing Clients

Clients management is very important when it comes to freelance writing. Your success will be determined by how you deal with your clients. Here are 5 awesome tips for...

The Key to Negotiating Raises With Freelance Writing Clients

As a freelancer, getting clients is important to maintain. Sometimes you have to bid lower than your regular rate in order to secure the work. During this time you can...


Becoming an established freelancer is as satisfying as it is rewarding. Indeed, taking a deliberate step away from the safety net of the Rat Race to generate an income as...

diversity time

Most freelancers ensure they have at least a few clients in the pipeline before they make the big decision to ditch the Rat Race and work for themselves. This makes...

How to Choose a Freelance Writing Community

Every freelance writer should be a member of at least one freelance writing community. Such forums offer a great opportunity to ask questions and generally share ideas...

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'
G up arrow