Freelance Tips: How to Get Paid as a Freelance Proofreader

As a freelance proofreader, you rely on your clients for your income. But how can you ensure that you’ll be paid fairly and on time? In this post, we’ll look at how to get paid as a freelance proofreader. We’ll take you through the different payment schedules you can offer and how to choose the best one for your clients.

Upfront Payment

Upfront payments can provide financial security for freelancers. This option avoids the risk of a client refusing to pay for work you’ve completed. Plus you can cover any project costs in advance without needing to dip into your own savings.

However, it’s important to know exactly what sort of work you are agreeing to take on. If a document is more complex than you expected, or you spend longer on it than you invoiced for, you may find it hard to get paid for the extra work.

What’s more, many potential clients may be put off by the prospect of having to pay in advance. New clients are especially unlikely to agree to such terms, so this option may not be the best if you’re just starting out.

With a Deposit

If you don’t want to intimidate potential clients by requesting the full amount upfront, you can ask for a deposit. The exact amount is up to you, but it’s common practice to request 20–50% of the total fee.

Asking for a deposit promotes trust between you and your client. And it ensures you will receive at least some income, even if the client unexpectedly pulls out at any point.

However, deposits don’t guarantee that you’ll receive the full fee when you complete the work. And for projects with a tight deadline, you or your client may see setting up a deposit as an unnecessary delay.

In Installments

If you’re working on a large project for a client (e.g., a novel manuscript), you may want them to pay in installments. This can also be a good approach when you’re proofreading multiple documents for a client or performing more than one round of editing on a document, for instance.

This works somewhat like a deposit, but your client pays in smaller, more manageable amounts as part of a payment schedule. Most clients will be happy to agree to this, as they’ll pay for work as and when you complete it and avoid having to pay a large amount in one go.

Installments provide you with a regular income and make it easier to renegotiate the brief if certain tasks take longer than expected.

Make sure you have set rules about when payments are due, though, or you may experience delays in receiving them.

After the Fact

Asking for the full payment after you’ve finished a project can be risky. Clients who have received completed work have less of an incentive to pay you on time – or at all.

But there are some circumstances where this method of payment can be the best option. When working on small projects, for example, sorting out payment plans could take longer than the job itself. In these cases, it would be more efficient to get on with the work and send an invoice upon completion.

And for clients you work with regularly, trusting them to pay after you’ve completed a project can help build a strong working relationship.

What Next?

As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all way to get paid as a freelancer. You might end up having a preferred method that you use for every project. Or you may want to adapt your payment schedule for projects of different scopes and sizes.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to make sure both you and your client agree on the details of how you’ll get paid before you take on any work. This could be in the form of a freelance contract, which should clearly outline how and when you expect payment.

When the time then comes for your client to pay, whether in part or full, you’ll need to send out an invoice.

And if, despite your best efforts, a client is late paying or ignores an invoice, don’t panic. There are many ways to chase up problem clients and ensure you get paid for your work.

Becoming A Proofreader

Before you start taking on projects, make sure you’re fully trained and prepared for the world of freelance proofreading. Sign up for a free trial of our Becoming A Proofreader course today.

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