Don’t be shocked if your invoices aren’t paid on time around the holidays. Be prepared.
Holidays can affect the flow of money and peoples’ concern about making payments. I know this firsthand.
Last year, the week after New Year’s, I received an email informing me that a payment I should have received at the end of December was set to be mailed on Friday. The delay was caused by the holidays and the lack of staff in accounting.
Basically, the company’s employees were just as wrapped up in the holidays as everyone else. Paying freelance invoices wasn’t anyone’s priority.
Do You Realize: Invoices Aren’t The Same As Money
Once the holidays were in the rear view and people were prepared to take work seriously again, someone decided to get around to paying me later that week. But clearly, there was no sense of urgency and no genuine concern about the problems that late payment could cause me.
By the time, I received the money, it was nearly two weeks later than usual.
I have had payments delayed before that were due between Thanksgiving and New Years, so last year it didn’t catch me off guard or create a financial crisis for me.
But we all know that after the 1st of the year, a lot of people are hanging on by a thread. I’ll bet you there were other freelance writers out there waiting on that money to pay rent, a car payment, credit card bills, whatever. And by the time they got it, any grace periods they had for those payments were gone bye-bye.
That meant they would either need to find another source to pay their bills or prepare to slice off a larger portion of those delayed checks to pay late fees and interest.
What a way to start a new year.
A lot of times, we place too much trust in our clients, especially when the prove to be consistent. It’s an excellent way to get burned. And, if you do it long enough, you will get burned.
I urge freelancers to create a money cushion so they aren’t relying on an incoming payment to make an outgoing payment. Living hand-to-mouth in this business is so, so dangerous. And holiday seasons increase that danger.
The Thanksgiving to New Year’s stint is our longest, most intensive holiday season. But be cautious around other holidays too.
Be aware of occasions that you may not observe but your clients may, such as Jewish holidays or Muslims’ observance of Ramadan. And, if you have clients in other countries, know what their major holidays are and be aware that they could also cause delays of your money.