I am currently working for an MNC but due to some financial, I also had to pick a side job. In this side job (freelancing) client is not paying me on time. The pay date is the 3rd of every month but I have to follow up until the 15th.

He has cut the hourly rate, asking me to spend more hours. Honestly, I can quit this job anytime I want (the contract is pretty flexible) but then I will be losing the money.

He is happy with my work, his boss also knows that. They said that to me many times.

Question: Late payments are crushing the morale, it is very frustrating to follow up every month. What can make him consider the payments as the first priority?

  • How hard would it be to find a new side job? Having "crushed morale" is probably affecting your main job as well as your personal life. Is it really worth it? Mar 9, 2022 at 14:29
  • @DJClayworth I think it is hard to get another client in "Automation Testing", no matter how skilled you are. Also, I do not how good/bad/worse the next client will be. I always get payment but there is always a delay.
    – paul
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:33
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    He is happy with my work, his boss also knows that. Does his boss also know that he doesn't pay you on time? And that you might quit over late payment? Mar 9, 2022 at 17:04
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    It is always important to be able to walk away from any client. If you can't walk, then the client has control over the negotiations and can cut the rate, increase the work without paying, etc. I've walked away from clients who owed many thousands but the value to my sanity was priceless. That cost / benefit ratio gave me freedom.
    – David R
    Mar 10, 2022 at 15:59
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    @paul - One thing you should bear in mind is that late payments like this may mean your customer is having cashflow problems and cashflow problems may end up with the company failing and defaulting on their debts. Mar 10, 2022 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


Probably the most effective thing you can do is to cease work on the 3rd and restart when you get paid. You'll lose a little money the first month but you'll send a strong signal that you're the boss of your consulting business, not him.

Do not accept a cut in hourly rate. In fact clients who pay late and are otherwise difficult over contract details should pay more than market average. We call this the "a$$hole tax".

  • 4
    Agree, it is important to raise the rate to something more than initially agreed upon, with an open invitation for the client to walk away if needed. You could always do the work prior to being paid, but not publish it until the payment is received but bill for the hours spent. Future work, with this client, should require a retainer.
    – Pete B.
    Mar 9, 2022 at 13:43
  • @PeteB. Holding the work until payment, does that mean absence on client calls. If Yes, the client might forfeit the whole payment and I won't even get a penny, not even for the work that I have done.
    – paul
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:36
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    Client calls is good -- every time he calls, you say "Where's my money?" Mar 9, 2022 at 17:06
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    @A.I.Breveleri I find it more efficient to frame it as a statement, not a question: "No money, no work done, nothing to talk about. Come back when you figure it out".
    – Lodinn
    Mar 10, 2022 at 21:02
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    @paul - If you stop any additional work, that first time your client is late, then you limit the amount of work you performed without being paid. Your concern of “not being paid for work that you already did”, is actually happening today. Your client is already taking advantage of you.
    – Donald
    Mar 11, 2022 at 11:27

In this side job (freelancing) client is not paying me on time. The pay date is the 3rd of every month but I have to follow up until the 15th.

You have two choices to handle this situation:

  1. Drop the client.

A client that cannot consistently pay on time is usually not worth the hassle. Either they are having financial troubles or they are trying to take advantage of you. You mentioned that they are cutting your hourly rate ( does your contract allow them to unilaterally do this? ) and asking you to spend more hours working at a lower rate so it seems the reason is likely the latter.

  1. Stop all work until you are paid.

If you have not received payment on the 3rd. Send a reminder that payment is due and notify the client that no further work will be conducted until payment is received. After that, do not do any work until you are paid. The customer needs to understand that you will not be giving away your time for free. If they swear on the call just politely remind them that you have not been paid. If this pattern continues I would seriously consider dropping the client anyway.


Been in your shoes in the past.

The day they tried to force their upper hand halving the pay rate, I stopped working and only resumed worked once they agreed with me on the initial agreed rate.

Also, about being paid, some processing delays are usual. Nevertheless, bills need to be paid. Occasional delays are usual, if they happen again and again, stopping working as advised can be a tactic.

About the swearing, I would drop the customer, but that is me.

As for the final delivery of work, I would not do it without being 100% paid. The customer does not seem trustworthy.


You need to stand up for yourself. The client can't arbitrarily cut your hourly rate if there is a contract in place, and the contract should also have the payment schedules in it.

  1. If there is no contract, walk away.
  2. If there is a contract, send an email to your client and his manager, and walk away

In either case, send a final invoice for all work completed. Your morale will thank you.

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