55% of UK freelancers not paid for work they’ve completed

Over half of freelancers in the UK have done work that they have not been paid for, a new study by freelancing platform YunoJuno has shown.

Late payments can cause issues for businesses at all levels, but when you’re a freelancer that late payment could mean the difference between being able to pay your rent and bills or afford your weekly shop.

Shockingly, only a third of those affected by payment issues have stopped working with clients who consistently pay late, with 10% admitting they take no action at all when clients pay late.

The average invoice was found to be two and a half weeks overdue before being paid. This time frame can add increasing pressure on a freelancer who has financial responsibilities.

But many freelancers simply don’t know what to do about late payments. 53% said they weren’t aware of their own rights when it came to dealing with non-paying clients and 34% said they didn’t understand how late payment charges work or what they should charge.

A lack of knowledge isn’t the only hurdle for freelancers though. One in five also admitted fearing the repercussions of being seen to chase clients, to the point where they did not have the confidence to do so.

Only 7% of all freelancers added late payment charges to their contracts, but of these 25% admitted they never implement them but use them to try and encourage prompt payment.

The CEO of YunoJuno said: “The culture of late payments needs to stop. Chasing overdue invoices not only wastes time, but causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for freelancers.

“This research shows that there is not only a lack of care by some clients to pay their workers on time, but there is an underlying fear among the freelancer community that they’ll lose the client, or lose respect, if they chase for their hard-earned money. It’s this latter part that is most worrying.

“There would be an uproar if a business was late paying staff wages – and the same should be true of freelancers.”

What should you do if you’re in this position?

If you are struggling with clients who won’t pay on time, there are steps you can take to encourage prompt payment without risking your relationship.

Take a look at this blog that explains how to stop late payments threatening your business. The tips can be applied to any type of business, and if conducted in a professional way won’t cause any tensions with your client.

You can also review your current invoicing proceed. Making sure your invoices are correct, clear and in line with best practise can make all the difference to getting paid promptly. Here are 14 ways to improve your small business’s invoicing.

Have you ever had an experience with a client who didn’t pay on time? How was it resolved? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

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