The best ways for freelancers to accept client payments

I remember freelancing in the “old days.”

As a writer, I mailed a lot of letters with SASEs (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelopes). Contracts and deposit checks often came by mail, and if I was in a real hurry I could fax paperwork to my clients.

It was slow. It was inefficient. Marketing cost a lot of money.

Thanks to advances in technology, things are a lot easier. Building a business today is less expensive and payments can be processed in seconds.

It seems the options for accepting payments are endless. The choices are overwhelming. In addition to payment methods, freelancers also need to decide when they require payments from their customers.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-4-20-42-pmThis article is brought to you by our partners at AND CO. With a sleek app and a real-life human on your side, AND CO is all you need to take the headache out of billing as a freelancer. Our partnership has not affected the value or content of this article. Learn more at

The following tips will help you choose the best options for your freelancing business.

Customers like choices

Some of my customers still send checks in the mail. Others like to use a service like PayPal or Stripe, and still others want to pay with a credit card or ACH deposit.

Because I want to provide the best service possible, I allow my customers to pay with any method they choose.

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The only exception is my international clients, who pay via PayPal. If they use their country’s currency, I’m able to convert it to mine with the click of a button.

By giving my clients the power to make their own choices, it positions me as a service-oriented freelancer.

Communication is key

Part of your onboarding process for new clients should include an explanation of your payment policies.

Some freelancers require the entire project cost upfront. Others take a 50% deposit, with the balance due upon completion.

For longer, higher cost projects, you may begin with an upfront deposit and payments at certain milestones agreed on by both you and the client ahead of time.

Writers many times receive payment upon completion or publication. Other freelancers who complete ongoing client work use a monthly retainer and bill for the entire month ahead of time.

No matter what pricing schedule you decide, be sure to communicate the way you work with your client from the very beginning. This sets the tone for your working relationship and establishes you as a professional.

Electronic invoicing is a must

All my clients accept invoices electronically.

In the beginning, I only used PayPal. But as my business grew, I found I needed a solution that included invoicing, time tracking, and a way for my clients to pay instantly.

Use a payment system like AND CO (this article’s partner) for your invoicing needs.

You can accept all the payment methods mentioned above, as well as connect your bank account. Instantly turn time tracking entries into invoices, send recurring invoices for retainer agreements, and create invoices based on milestones.

Unlike other accounting software, AND CO includes human support in the form of a dedicated account manager to answer your questions about invoicing, time tracking, expenses and other features. The company also allows users to work in multiple currencies and languages.


Accepting client payments is an important part of your success as a freelancer. Don’t get hung up in the details, but do create a plan that works for your business.

Stay in touch with your customers, create a schedule that works for both of you, and take advantage of great tools like AND CO to help you with your business.

What do you struggle with when it comes to client payments? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.


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