I recently accepted an offer to do some writing for a new website on higher education that is run by a marketing company in Arizona. I live in New York and this is only the second long-distance online job I’ve accepted (the first ended in failure – an assignment for a new magazine for which I was never paid because the magazine went belly-up).
Anyway I turned in my first assignment. A week has passed and the folks at the marketing company have not responded to the assignment. I told them I would wait and see if they had any questions before I submitted an invoice. The person who hired me said she would let me know if they want any changes after the president of the company has read it.
How long do I wait before the president of the company gets around to reading it before I can submit an invoice? Should I just have submitted the invoice after I turned in the article and not said I would turn it in after they approve the article?
I did sign a contract with them but I don’t think it said at what point I should turn in the invoice.
If you have any advice on this, I would appreciate it.
If it had been me, I would have submitted the invoice with the work, knowing I might have to send an additional invoice if I had to do some rewriting. Since you haven’t gotten any questions, I’d go ahead and submit the invoice now.
Each one of us has to be our own advocate – there’s no one else really. You have no idea how important what you wrote is to the president of the company. There’s nothing unprofessional about asking to be paid. In fact, that’s the professional thing to do.
If you signed a contract you should have a copy. Read it now. It may spell out how the invoicing and pay work. Chances are they are expecting to pay you 30 days or more after you present the invoice. That’s the sort of thing that you can negotiate up front… ask for 10 days, but you can only negotiate if you know what the contract actually says. Or, do as I do and ask for immediate pay.
Another approach is to estimate what the whole job will cost and ask for an advance. One third to one half isn’t at all unusual. I set my prices so that if all I get is the advance I won’t feel totally ripped off. That’s the way I now avoid not getting paid if a company goes belly up, which happens and has even without an economic downturn.
You might also want to read: How to Create an Invoice for Your Freelance Writing Clients and Invoicing For Freelance Writers and Editors.
Now, let’s ask others what they do:
Got a question about freelance writing? Ask it in comments or send me an email with Q&A in the subject. I’ll probably answer it here.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu