So I have a couple of new clients who I've recently done work for. I invoiced them a couple weeks ago and they've gone pretty quiet ever since.

When I was working for them, they didn't seem particularly concerned about the economic effects of the virus and made out like business would be carrying on as normal.

I am concerned that they may end up using the virus as an excuse not to pay me. If this does turn out to be the case... do I just treat everything as I normally would? e.g. after a few reminders then I threaten legal action?

I've only ever had to do the above a couple times in about 8 years or freelancing, so I'm hoping it won't come to that.

But with everything that's going on at the minute, with people getting ill and going out of business etc, it's difficult to know how to proceed.

But I don't want people using this current situation as an excuse to simply not pay their freelancers.

  • I invoiced them a couple weeks ago and they've gone pretty quiet ever since. - Have you reached out to them since you sent your invoices? What are your payment terms? What's in your contract regarding payment?
    – joeqwerty
    Apr 8, 2020 at 1:54
  • I'd ring them and have a chat, even just to check they're physically okay (why would that be a bad thing?). If they're having real problems then unless you're tight for money it's probably best for your long term business with them to let it slide for a bit, and probably your conscience if they do hit the wall. Considering there's a lot of government backing for businesses though, you'd be within your rights to chase them.
    – ian
    Apr 8, 2020 at 4:38

3 Answers 3


Worst case scenario if you cannot get paid, google make a court claim for money. They will advise you to communicate with who owes you money and provide the next steps plus any appropriate wording. I have been in similar situation and sometimes you get left with no option. If all else fails, this is the best option. On every occasion that I used this it has worked effectively. Most will settle prior to any legal process initiating as the costs are added on. But you must be in an actionable position to begin with, that is you must have contract with clear terms that can thus show that there has been a breach of contract, and not have everything only on a word of mouth basis. I am not giving legal advice, just suggesting a remedy which I found to work.


This is always a concern for freelancers. Not just during a pandemic. There is no simple answer. We probably spend 30% of our time chasing down money. Nurture your client relationships. We have some clients that pay on a payment schedule. Some (bigger) projects require retainers upfront, have partial payment milestones, and even sometimes complete payment before final delivery. The pandemic has added a new challenge. We are requiring even more upfront deposit for ew clients for exactly the reason you state. We also use an online invoice system that has automatic payment "reminder" emails. This has actually worked better than I expected. It is also a nice middle man to blame. Instead of me personally harassing clients I can blame the "automated messages in the system". Good luck!

  • thanks, I used to used Freshbooks the last time I was freelance and also found the invoice reminders to be very helpful! need to get back on there once I get more busy!
    – user15733
    May 5, 2020 at 21:07

Corona virus has impacted the Global Economy in a huge negative way and all the business have been impacted by this. Cash flows to the business have been impacted because of which business are not able to pay for the liabilities.

Please do not chase for debit as of now and let the circumstances become normal for everyone after which you can chase and send reminders for payments. It will take some time definitely for things to become normal. Try to understand from business perspective also regarding the circumstances they might be facing due to the impact of Corona virus and resulting impact on business cash flows which might have impacted payments as well as receipts for business.

  • 1
    Welcome to Freelancing.SE! This post looks like a personal recommendation, not a full-featured answer. Admittedly, the question itself is poorly worded as it looks like asking for a personal (hence opinion-based) recommendation. A good answer to this question should, nevertheless, contain objective criteria helping freelancers to choose their long-term strategy and short-term tactics. Best if such answer contained references to reputable sources, not just your personal feeling which may not apply for all.
    – bytebuster
    Apr 4, 2020 at 23:39

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