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A guide to client management for freelancers

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Last editedMar 20222 min read

There are two keys to successful client management as a freelancer – time management and communication. Your ability to communicate effectively, however, often depends on your ability to manage your time. With that in mind, here are some tips to help.

Automate your payment process

Even if you only have a few clients, managing payments manually can eat up chunks of valuable time. It can also be a recipe for stress, frustration and lumpy cash flow. That’s where GoCardless comes in.

Direct Debits are an ideal choice for freelancers looking to get paid in full and on time. That’s because Direct Debits are a “pull-based” system. In other words, you choose the date you want to get paid and the GoCardless system takes care of the rest. This works for both one-off and recurring invoices.

GoCardless integrates with major accounting packages including Xero, Quickbooks and Sage. When used with an integration, GoCardless will charge the customer on the invoice due date (or the nearest working day afterwards). It will then confirm the charge with your accounting package so it can be automatically reconciled.

If you’re in the UK or Germany, you can also use the Instant Bank Pay service (powered by Open Banking) to take one-off payments quickly and easily. This is great for those time-sensitive projects. GoCardless also supports international payments in the Eurozone, Sweden, Denmark, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Set expectations clearly upfront

At a minimum, you need to define:

  • the scope of the project

  • anything you require of the client (and when)

  • milestones, deadlines and targets

  • contacts, communication channels and a communication schedule

  • cost, payment method and payment due dates

Over time, there is a good chance that you will be able to automate a lot of this as well. Usually, the best place to start here is with communication. Many project-management tools will record when you take an action (such as marking a task as done) and can inform the client. Many of these tools integrate with other apps that can send digests of completed work.

One important point to note here is that email still tends to be the tool of choice for communication between organisations. For this reason, make sure that your client has your domain safelisted. If you use a free email service, make absolutely sure they safelist your address as spam filters tend to come down heavily on these.

Also, make sure that they safelist the domains of any tool you use to email them. For example, if you’re using Trello to manage the project and send notifications, make sure your client has Trello safelisted.

By the same token, make sure you do the same for your client’s domain (or email) and any tools they may use to email you. Even so, make a point of checking your spam folder regularly, just in case. Likewise, if you use instant messengers such as Skype, check in case you have missed notifications.

Make the most of your website

You can run a freelancing business without a website, especially if you only have a few clients. That said, having a website can really make your life a whole lot easier. If nothing else, it can be a place to put the sort of key information most (potential/new) clients are likely to want.

For example, you can list your services, availability, core working hours and contact information. You can even integrate customised forms to pre-qualify clients and add a chatbot to assist them when you are not around. If you want to go a step further, you can run a blog and use it to target relevant keywords.

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about client management for freelancers, get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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