pawan@prepawan.com

Onboarding New Clients and Get Paid On Time [A Freelancer Guide]

onboard new clients

The best news for freelancers is: “When their proposal got accepted.”

So much excitement, right?

Onboarding new clients can be a tough job if you don’t have a proper system. A process makes the entire process easy and saves a lot of time.

In my early days, I didn’t have any onboarding process and I used to struggle with managing clients and get paid on time. Then I talked to some pro freelancers and then I created an onboarding process.

Wondering why you need an onboarding process?

  • It makes you look good.
  • Shows the client you’re professional.
  • It’s a filtering process to weed out bad clients. 

“Okay Pawan, it makes sense. But how can I create an onboarding system? Do I need any software or tool?”

No, you don’t need any fancy software or tool. You just need to create a simple process. In this article, I’ll show you how can you onboard new clients and get paid on time (It’s a repeatable process).

You can adopt this process entirely, or take inspiration to create your own process.

Let’s start… 

1. Create a New Client Form or Project Form

What questions do you ask when you talk to a new potential client?

What’s your business? What type of content do you need? What’s your budget? Etc. And you ask these things over and over again!

This process wastes a lot of time. You don’t need to ask these general questions personally. Instead, you can create a simple form and send it to every lead you get. Google Forms is a quick and free medium.

Ask the basic information that you need from every new client. Put all the questions in the form:

  • Your Name?
  • Your Email?
  • Your Phone?
  • What’s your company name?
  • Website URL?
  • Project detail in brief
  • Budget
  • Expected timeline

Check out my new client form that I created in Google Forms. Take inspiration from these and customize it according to your niche.

This form will save a lot of time and makes a great impression. And if client is not providing the basic information after sending the form, you’re filtering out a bad client.

Must Read Article: How to Find Your First 3 Clients

2. Schedule a Quick Call With Client

The client filled out the form and submitted and everything is looking good to you.

What’s the next step?

Schedule a quick call with him/her (first, send an email to take an appointment), discuss the details they provided, and ask some questions.

Here’s a quick email that I use for taking appointment:

Hey [Name],

Thanks for filling the form. I reviewed the details and I’m interested in learning more about your project.

Would you be open to a quick call on [Date/Time]?

Talk Soon,

Pawan

Once everything is settled, ask them that you’ll send them a project proposal within 24 hours and if the proposal looks good to them, just sign it.

3. Create and Send a Simple Proposal

You don’t need to create a fancy project proposal. Create a simple proposal in word document or Google docs.

What elements your proposal should have:

  • Who you are?
  • Your expertise?
  • Social proofs or testimonials
  • Client requirement
  • Brief about what you’re offering them
  • Expected timeline
  • Cost
  • Payment terms
  • How many revisions allowed

And send it to the client and ask them to sign it if they are fine with the proposal. 

4. Get Advance Deposit Before Starting the Work

Freelancers frequently asked a question, “I delivered the work, but client refused to pay or I never heard from the client”

Sound familiar? It happened to me in my early days.

So how can you get paid on time?

I always request 50% of payment in advance before starting the work and 50% after completion of the project. I don’t start a new project until I receive the advance.

I create a simple invoice in Google doc and send it to the client. I typically accept Internet banking, cheques, and mobile wallets. Receiving an advance payment is a good sign the client is serious.

Read this article: How Much Money You Should Charge For a Freelancing Project?

What’s Next?

I hope you find this information valuable. Got any questions? Just drop your views in the comment section and I’d more than happy to answer your queries.

In the next article, I’ll share some of my favorite tools and resources that will help you in your freelancing journey. Stay tuned!

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