How Often Should You Pay a Freelance Writer?

You went through the tough decision of hiring the perfect writer, now you just need to understand the right payment schedule. The wrong schedule can ruin your relationship with your new writer, and they’ll look for work elsewhere.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the different frequencies that you can pay a freelance writer. I’ll include some information that should help you make a decision and find the perfect pay period for your freelance writer.

Why Does the Payment Schedule Matter?

The simple fact is that people who work for you need a predictable schedule, so they know when they’re getting paid. This idea is no different in the freelancing world.

Since freelance writers don’t have a boss that pays them a salary, they are reliant on timely and scheduled payments from their clients. A payment schedule matters just as much as the payment type for the writer’s work.

Not only that, but it also helps build a rapport between you and your writer. If you pay them on time and use a schedule that you both agree on, then they’ll be more willing to help you. Speaking of which, who decides the payment schedule?

Who Decides the Payment Schedule?

The schedule will be agreed upon between you and the writer. In general, neither party will dictate the schedule without the other person agreeing. The only difference is when it’s a non-negotiable schedule set by either you or your writer.

It’s really important to have an honest and open dialogue about payment schedules. If your company gets money a certain time of month and you want to build the schedule around that, just tell the writer.

A good manufacturing writer will work with you on a schedule as long as it’s not outrageous.

Different Payment Schedules for Freelance Writers

Now that you know a little more about payment schedules, let me tell you the different types. In general, there are four different schedules that you’ll find. You might encounter an odd exception that isn’t covered here, and then it’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you.

Weekly

A common payment schedule (which I personally use) is a weekly payment. In general, you’ll pick a day of the week that invoices will be sent out.

It’s great for projects that involve a lot of work or a ton of smaller submissions.

Weekly payments are great for freelance writers. I’d highly suggest this method if your company has enough liquid cashflow to keep up. If you feel like your budget is straining, either you can change the pay period or it might be too early to bring in a writer.

Pro tip: make sure you set up a weekly cap so your freelance writer doesn’t write more than you can afford.

Bi-Weekly

If weekly isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe bi-weekly is right for you. This means a payment every other week.

For example, you might give payment this Friday, nothing next Friday, and then one the following Friday (and so on).

Keep in mind, you’ll be paying more each time you get an invoice so just be ready for the sticker shock.

Monthly

One of the more common options is to pay a writer monthly. Why is this so preferred? It all has to do with having enough time to submit work and revisions.

A monthly schedule lets your company bring in enough money for payment and gives your writer enough time to put together a lot of content.

It also makes things easier for you to budget since your budget will often be done monthly.

The only problem is that the freelancer has to wait a long time between payments. It might make it tough for them to pay bills or business expenses toward the end of the month.

At any rate, many writers are comfortable accepting monthly payments.

Upon Milestone

The last category of payments falls into per-milestone invoices. What’s a milestone? A milestone is a major step in your project.

If your writer is making articles for your blog, a milestone might be the submission of a full article or a re-submission after a revision and after getting approval from you.

This method is great if you’re expecting large submissions or infrequent work. If you have dozens of articles and you’re accepting them 5 at a time, a milestone payment lets you pay in irregular intervals.

Alternatively, if you only have one or two articles that you need each month, you can arrange for a milestone payment whenever the articles get submitted.

This category is also the right type for anyone that has unique needs for their project. If batches of content build from one another, a milestone payment might be right for you. You can’t start Batch B until Batch A is done, so you’ll pay when Batch A is submitted.

What About Payment Terms?

I think it’s fitting to briefly talk about payment terms. In the world of accounting, every invoice comes with a payment term. This term dictates how many days you have to pay the invoice.

Common payment terms are net 15, net 30, net 45, or upon receipt. What do these terms mean?

  • Net 15: You have 15 days upon getting the invoice. An invoice sent on 2/10 will be due on 2/24.
  • Net 30: You might have guessed it, but net 30 means you have 30 days to pay. An invoice sent on 2/10 will be due on 3/11.
  • Net 45: Do you see the pattern yet? You’re allotted 45 days to pay after receipt. An invoice sent on 2/10 will be due on 3/26.
  • Upon receipt: The money is due before close of business on the day that you receive the invoice. If you receive the invoice on 2/10, the money is due before midnight on 2/10.

All of the “net X” payment types include holidays, weekends, and days off. They simply count how many calendar days fall between the invoice being sent and when it’s due.

If you don’t pay within the payment term, you’ll have to see what the contract says. Some contracts will add a late payment, others will result in a pause in work until complete payment is received.

In rare cases, missing the payment term could cancel the contract and end your work with your writer.

Why Choose CTB Writing?

At CTB Writing, I have a lot of flexibility when it comes to payment schedules. I have clients that I invoice weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and on a milestone basis. In other words, I can work with you to pick the right payment schedule.

The last thing you want to do is overextend and make payments that you can’t afford for a writer. I understand this, so I’m here to help make things easy.

If you want to learn more about me or see the services that I offer, take a look around my website. If you have any questions or want to get started, you can contact CTB Writing today.

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