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When to invoice - quick replies if poss

(16 Posts)
MaverickSnoopy Tue 09-May-17 09:34:44

I am in the process of setting myself up as a freelancer. I have a call with a potential client this morning about some ongoing work and have just realised that I'm not sure about when I should be invoicing.

In a past life I used to deal with freelancers with ongoing work and they just used to invoice monthly. Is this still the way it works? Should I be charging and upfront fee? If so how would I calculate it? Do I assume hourly rate x number of hours for week 1 upfront or should I not charge any upfront fee?

I want to start as I mean to go on but I'm very much testing the waters at the moment.

Thoughts welcome.

poisonedbypen Tue 09-May-17 09:38:59

You wouldn't usually charge for a conversation about possible work. I would say you can't charge anything until you have a contract & that will then state whether there are any up front charges, retainers or whatever, & that is up to you & the client to agree. I'm sure it will vary hugely by industry though. I invoice monthly for work done based on the hourly rate in the contract.

Badbadbunny Tue 09-May-17 09:57:15

Surely it has to follow your agreement as to how the fee is being calculated.

If you charge "by the hour" then monthly would be the norm, but maybe weekly if you were doing a lot of work every week.

If you charge "per task", i.e. building a website on a fixed fee, then it's either upon completion, or you may be able to negotiate instalments based upon milestones, i.e. 25% up front, 50% when you present the working test site and final 25% upon going live and glitches sorted.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 09-May-17 10:04:05

Sorry I probably wasn't very clear. I didn't mean that I was expecting to charge for the conversation - I am assuming that they might ask me about my charges in which case I want to be prepared to lay out my position during the call. I'm just not entirely sure what the done thing is re some payment in advance. I had been planning to invoice clients monthly after work is completed but then woke in the middle of the night panicking about things like charging in advance etc.

poisonedbypen Tue 09-May-17 12:26:40

It's up to you to negotiate that. in the industry I'm in it would be usual to charge monthly for work done, as mentioned above. Some people negotiate retainers. Are you prepared to say what field you work in? That may help someone to advise you.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 09-May-17 12:29:49

I think you need to say what field. I don't charge a retainer per se but will often negotiate monthly invoicing (I'm a copywriter). So I have one agency where I invoice them for everything at the end of the month, which is easy for them -- but they pay me right away because they realise that means I'm sitting on invoices for a few weeks.

I have another where it's a quarterly project but I've negotiated a monthly call-off invoice (cash flow is king).

Others I invoice on delivery, but I never let anything go longer than a month.

flowery Tue 09-May-17 12:34:29

You need to decide when you quote for the work, and it probably depends on exactly what you're going to be doing and how long you anticipate it taking.

Our HR consultants charge monthly if they are on a retainer, if they're doing a project they usually charge 50% upfront with 50% on completion. if it's a project that may last several months they might charge monthly during the project for cashflow reasons.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 09-May-17 15:37:35

Thanks all for the advice. It's just useful to hear what other people do. Whilst I know it's up to me to decide, but very new to this I don't really know where to start! I have a background in project management but other varied admin experience so am planning to offer both.

I attended a session on setting myself up as a freelancer a few years back but I can't find my notes so am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment!

senua Tue 09-May-17 15:41:01

It doesn't matter if you charge upfront, weekly or monthly if they don't pay you.shock Don't forget to include payment terms!

MaverickSnoopy Tue 09-May-17 15:47:13

Yes that bit I know. Thankfully I'm not that overwhelmed. I was planning on invoicing monthly but was just unsure if I should expect new clients to pay something upfront. I don't need them to but I want to do what others are I can try to pretend that I know what I'm doing....!

purpleprincess24 Tue 09-May-17 16:02:20

I work as a freelance consultant, carrying out very specific research projects and delivering the report within the time frame set in The Contract.

I generally provide a fixed price, with 50% paid prior to the start of the project and the remaining 50% within 14 days of project completion.

You need to research basic freelance contracts, there are several online

GrumpyOldBag Tue 09-May-17 17:40:29

If I am on a retainer or a project lasting more than a couple of months I invoice monthly, at the start of the month for work completed the previous month.

If it's a one-off project that's going to be completed in a fairly short time frame, I invoice at the end of the project.

I make it clear that payment is expected within 30 days.

GrumpyOldBag Tue 09-May-17 17:41:34

I never ask for payment upfront.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 09-May-17 19:22:19

Great thanks all. I feel a bit more comfortable now because I didn't want to ask for upfront payment but wasn't sure if it was the done thing these days. I'm so out of the loop!

user1494028852 Sat 13-May-17 14:32:21

I need too some app for invoices? smile

greengoose21 Wed 24-May-17 17:56:06

Hello OP, I'm just in the process of setting up in a very similar field. PM me if you like and we can compare notes smile

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