businesses (or private folks, doesn't really matter) need to pay by the time the invoice tells them to pay. With my invoices that would be within 14 days.
With new clients who don't want to do upfront payment, I tell them that I won't do more than €200 worth of work until I invoice them, and I won't work any further until they pay. I do however offer a 2% discount on all of my invoices if the money arrives in my bank account within 5 business days from the day I sent the invoice. For new clients who claim to have a regular stream of work but still don't want to do upfront, I offer up to 5% discount for prompt payment, so I end up invoicing them let's say once a week, they need to initiate payment relatively quickly as it takes a bit of time to be processed while I might continue to work on their project but will hold back any further work until I see the money in my account.
Also my rates are higher for new clients who do not pay upfront due to the hassle described above.
It is very usual that small business owners ask for payment of 30 or 50 % in advance. I have not done that up to now (but would do that for large projects that will last over months). However, I often do some research about the company and about their credit standing. Especially in UK there is much information available online free of charge. In your case I would try to send invoices very fast and not only once a month. This way you can find out the company's payment moral. All my clients have paid so far but I have to chase some of them from time to time.
While we have different areas of expertise, I have a few private clients. I don't always do work for them on a weekly basis but I always bill any oustanding hours every week. As others have stated, for new clients this can give you a better feel for how they pay. I would have to work with a client a long time before I considered billing on a monthly basis.
I suppose that I have been pretty lucky and not had to chase down payments. I have one client whose business occassionally slows down and they may not pay promptly. They themselves are very concerned about it and will actually call to tell that customer X just sent us a check so we can pay your invoices on xx/xx/xxxx. I've worked with them for almost two years and know them well so I trust them. Long term relationships can be a different animal.
In my private business, I'm paid up front before I begin work. It's a completely different field than you're in, but it has served me very well.
I also do not start any work without a signed contract. If you don't have one, I strongly suggest you get one to protect you and your client. It saves a lot of heartache in the end.
@Tonya P wrote:
If you are uncomfortable with full payment up front, ask for 50% down payment. Then begin invoicing on a regular basis as you submit content.
In addition to this, you can even ask for an hourly contract instead so you are paid per hour that are guaranteed by Upwork.