So, you want to be a location independent freelancer, do you? Excellent.
One of the questions I’ve been asked recently is this: How do you get paid on the road? So I thought I’d spend a few minutes addressing this question (which was one that gave me several sleepless nights before I left).
My strategies are as follows:
1. Send checks directly to the bank.
My lovely bank (Wells Fargo) offers a free service to its business customers (and possibly its individual customers as well…but I’m not 100% sure on that one) that allows them to have checks sent directly to the bank and deposited into their accounts. It’s a pretty simple process that involves clients A) mailing the check to the care of a bank manager at the bank’s address and B) writing your account number in the notes area of the check. The downside is that it can sometimes take a day or two for the funds to show up in your account. The upside is that it’s 0 work and 0 fees for you.
2. Accept electronic funds transfers.
Clients can also pay me electronically by wiring funds directly into my account from theirs.
3. Use PayPal.
PayPal, as you may already know, is a pretty easy way to pay and get paid online. The catch is that they take a hefty commission (something like 5%) if you want to transfer more than $500 from your PayPal account into your bank account in a month. Thus, I only use PayPal for publication clients who pay me per article. I rarely do more than $500 worth of article writing in a month, so I am able to avoid the fees.
4. Designate a representative (or get yourself an assistant with a fixed address).
Before I left, I asked a dear friend (who I feel comfortable trusting with checks and financial information) to act as my backup for any time that I couldn’t use (or didn’t feel comfortable using) any of these other options. That way, if I wanted to avoid a bank mistake in the case of a particularly large check or the client wasn’t able to transfer funds electronically, I’d always have a way to get paid. I have yet to use this person…and I’m hoping I don’t have to bother her. But she’s there. Just in case.
If you don’t have someone in your friend/family circle who you can ask, another option is to contract a trustworthy assistant/accountant to spend an hour or two each month receiving, documenting, and depositing checks. It’ll probably cost you less than PayPal.
Anyone else out there using another method? Please, do tell!