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Pay delay as a contractor? 5 tips to help avoid this.

As a contractor, ensuring that you are getting paid for the work you are doing is a serious concern. When both parties understand payment terms, and you are being paid, problems feel a mile off, or if you are working for an agency this will often be taken care of on your behalf. But for many contractors, ensuring you aren’t waiting for money owed is the key to successful contracting. Below, we’ve detailed 5 tips to help avoid this headache.

Set your terms pre-contract

Before you enter into a contract, or certainly before completing any work, be sure to have agreed your payment terms upfront. This may require some negotiation if you aren’t working with an agency, and many businesses will assume 30-day payment terms unless otherwise stated, but state your terms, agree them, and then sign to that effect.

Do your research

As a contractor, it is your job to evaluate that the company you are contracting for are reliable and can pay or won’t be delaying payment significantly. Whilst some of this will be a judgement call, or reputational, it won’t hurt to conduct simple research into their financial history. This should be relatively cost-effective to do, and will give you an idea of credit scores, any cashflow problems or CCJs.

Get paid in advance

If you suspect the client may be difficult when payment is required, or the project has a set value/time-limit, it can often work to receive part of the value upfront. This may also be a negotiation, but asking for all, or a percentage, of the value, confirms the client’s willingness to pay, and protects you in case of late payment.

Late payment = no services

When creating a contract, consider including late payment breaches, including stopping of services. If you aren’t paid for your services within your timeframe, alert the company to the contractual obligation to pay or services will be temporarily withdrawn. This can prompt late payers to pay, or not be late in the first place.


If you are tired of previous agency models, working with clients without representation, or suffering from late payment, SCMS can help. At Skillbase Contractor Management Services Ltd (SCMS) we provide contractor management, compliance, legal, timesheet and payroll services for numerous contract workers to corporate clients across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

If you are an independent, contractor, freelancer or interim worker and require an agency, we can represent you at a very low cost, manage your contract to the highest level and ensure payment within 1 week of timesheet submission – a crucial piece of support to combat potential late payment. If you’d like to find out more about how we provide contract management across the globe, contact us here and a member of our team will be in touch.