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Protecting yourself from invoices not being paid and having already done the work

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Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
1 of 16

Okay, so I have some work that is expected to materialise come 1st June. It's outside of Upwork.

 

The work will be writing X number of news articles for a site per week. I plan to invoice them every month.

 

While I have zero reason to believe non-payment to be an issue, it's something that I'm concerned about, as I've not worked with this client before.

 

I don't want to put myself in a position of having not been paid and having to pursue the unpaid funds through the Small Claims Court (and that's only for clients within my own country, if I'm working for foreign clients, I don't think there's much I could do about it).

 

How would you (or do you) remedy this issue?

 

Is it reasonable to ask that the client pay the first invoice before any work is done and to be protected from me not doing any work via PayPal's buyer protection or their bank's fraud department? I doubt so, but...

 

Or could I do a relatively small amount of work and invoice them for that one time, with standard monthly invoicing following suit?

 

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on this topic.

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Sandra T Member Since: Nov 26, 2014
2 of 16

Upfront payment.

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Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
3 of 16

@Sandra T wrote:

Upfront payment.


 My initial thought exactly, but I'm not sure how receptive the client would be to that, especially as I'm under the impression (I could be wrong, though) that businesses tend to pay all pending invoices on a particular day or time of the month, rather paying them straight away.

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 16

"News site" and "several each week" tells me the site owner has a limited budget and he's just throwing fluff at search engines. This will bite him in the butt, so highly suggest getting your money upfront. I do it off Upwork too. Gotta pay me up front or no deal.

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Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
5 of 16

@Jennifer M wrote:

"News site" and "several each week" tells me the site owner has a limited budget and he's just throwing fluff at search engines. This will bite him in the butt, so highly suggest getting your money upfront. I do it off Upwork too. Gotta pay me up front or no deal.


So, with that in mind, do you recommend me invoicing (and having it be paid in full before the articles have been written) on a weekly basis, then? We haven't discussed workloads in detail yet, but I'm hoping to write about 20 per week (£160).

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 16

@Daniel P wrote:

So, with that in mind, do you recommend me invoicing (and having it be paid in full before the articles have been written) on a weekly basis, then? We haven't discussed workloads in detail yet, but I'm hoping to write about 20 per week (£160).


 Yeah, he's churning out content and it's gonna bite him in the butt sooner or later. When his site crashes, he will not only tank in earnings (I figure he's Adsense?) but he might even blame you for it. I would ask for upfront. £160 is not a lot of money, so it's not like you're asking for 10 grand upfront.

 

It's not a huge risk for either of you, but if you're churning out content for a whole week, you want pay. It'll hurt you more than it'll hurt him to lose the money if something goes wrong.

 

If he wants to see your quality or whatever first, then for me I don't mind doing 1-2 with an upfront payment to test it out first.

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Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
7 of 16

@Jennifer M wrote:
Yeah, he's churning out content and it's gonna bite him in the butt sooner or later. When his site crashes, he will not only tank in earnings (I figure he's Adsense?) but he might even blame you for it.

 

£160 is quite a bit of money. Geez, I'd hate to have worked for a week and not be paid. I guess the value of £160 really depends on how well off you are.

 

Why do say that? I mean that sincerely, I'm not arguing with you.

 

I did mention these are news articles, right? I wouldn't define one writer writing 20 news articles per week as "churning out content" (not in a negative way at least--that just me doing my job as a responsible journalist to the public/consumers). How many news articles do you expect a site to publish per week?

 

I imagine most big sites having a helluva a lot more news articles than that published on a single day by its whole staff. 20 per week for me isn't even full-time work.

 

Checking their site **Edited for Community Guidelines**, it generally looks as though they're looking for a refresh, as nothing's gone up in the news section for a while (as far generally news frequency standards are concerned) and most articles look to have been written by the site's owner/founder from the few recent-ish ones I clicked on.

 

While the site's not as professional as it could be--there's a WordPress banner for everyone to see and some articles titles on the main page have glitched out, showing the URL, not the title--these aren't things that bring up major red flags.

 

Like I said, I don't have any immediate concerns myself (especially as they're the first to agree to a rate that isn't an absolute joke--most just ask for and get volunteers without bothering to scam people by saying they're going to pay and don't). Time will tell, I guess.

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 16

At 20 articles a week for 1 writer, this means that you are rewriting news from someone else. You aren't writing it firsthand and doing interviews, gathering information from sources, and then putting together a well made post that is original. 

 

Rewritten content from other news sources will get his site in trouble sooner or later. Google does not consider second hand, rewritten articles from other sources as quality or "news."

 

You don't have to believe me, but this business model died after Panda.

 

Unless you are playing these games and writing from your own experience with a full depth post based on your own review of the game, it's not going to last for him. I know the game. He's throwing fluff at search and this bites people in the butt sooner or later. WHen people do this, their traffic skyrockets and they think they have it made, but in 3 months or so, the algorithms catch up to it and the site drops like a stone.

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

How do I know that? Through Google. This will catch up to him.

 

It's better to have ONE awesome, great completely killer article a week than 20 mediocre articles a week. He should pay you the entire 160 and tell you to sit down and play the game for a week and come back with images and reviews from your own experience.  Actually, for that I'd charge someone a full week's pay and he'd have to give me the $1800 upfront, but hey that's me!

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Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
9 of 16

I don't do reviews. It's not something I care for and would totally take the enjoyment out of playing the game for me.

 

Again, this is news. I'm not quite sure why you talk about it like I'm writing reviews.

 

The news I do is usually about 150 - 300 words long and information is almost always taken directly from the source (be it a developer's blog post, a press release, a leak on Reddit or NeoGAFor whathaveyou). Where it isn't, it's simply because another outlet got information from an insider source about a particular topic/story or game, which is secondary reporting.

 

I can't vouch for how other writers source their coverage, however.

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
10 of 16

The content on the site will affect you though.

 

Like I said, 160 ain't a lot of money but to you it is apparently. So, since it's a lot to you and doubtfully a lot to him (at least, I hope) then get your money upfront.

 

You're the first one he'll screw over when the site takes a nosedive. Don't ever bank on these "news" sites that rehash content from other places. Be especially careful of ones that have user generated content that isn't well sourced or edited. If you get your money upfront, then all you have to do is write and do your thing. 

 

Anyway, though. Totally up to you! You asked for opinions, so just giving mine.

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