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Freelancer Agreement

How Do Freelancers Get Paid?

Learn about the various payment methods freelancers use. Know details of invoicing, payment platforms, and direct transfers. The article highlights the flexibility freelancers have in choosing payment options and the importance of clear communication and professionalism in financial transactions.


A fundamental question about freelancing that many freelancers struggle with is ‘How exactly do I get paid?’ It can be unsettling to realise that, as an independent consultant, you won’t get paid unless you research your choices for freelancing finance and take action. This is particularly true if you’re accustomed to getting paid by your employer every week or two.

This is perhaps the reason why a lot of freelancers favour employing agencies and online platforms that act as intermediaries. Then, since you’ll be aware that your payment will come from the platform, you won’t have to worry about how to get paid as a freelancer.

Naturally, you’ll want to avoid the middleman to raise your writing income once you see how low that compensation is after the platform deducts its portion. So, what is the right way to get paid as a freelancer? Let’s learn below. 

How Does Freelancing Work?

Freelancing involves individuals providing services based on their skills and expertise, without being bound to a single employer or company. Freelancers are self-employed and manage their own work schedules, clients, and payment terms. They often find work through platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or local job boards, or via personal networking.

Who Can Be a Freelancer?

Almost anyone with a marketable skill can be a freelancer. This includes writers, designers, programmers, marketers, consultants, and more. The key is to have expertise in a particular domain and the ability to market oneself.

How Much Does an Average Freelancer Earn in India?

The earnings of freelancers in India vary widely based on their skill set, experience, and client base. However, as of my last update in 2021, an average freelancer might earn anywhere from ₹15,000 to ₹2,00,000 per month or more. High-demand skills like software development or specialised consulting can fetch even higher rates.

The Best Payment Options For Freelancers:

Money Transfer

Popular services like Wise (formerly TransferWise)

Money transfers have become one of the most sorted payment methods in the freelancing world. Services like Wise have gained prominence due to their transparent fee structure and real-time exchange rates. Unlike traditional banks that might add a markup on the exchange rate, Wise uses the mid-market rate, which is the fairest rate available. This means freelancers get more of their hard-earned money without hidden costs. Additionally, Wise allows for multi-currency accounts, which can be especially beneficial for freelancers dealing with international clients.


Traditional but still used by some clients

Despite the rise in digital payment methods, cheques remain a payment option for some. Especially with clients who have been in business for a long time or prefer a paper trail. For freelancers, it’s crucial to ensure the authenticity of the cheques. Waiting for the cheque to clear before delivering the final work can be a wise move. While it’s slower than electronic methods, it offers tangible proof of payment.


Widely accepted and easy to use

PayPal is arguably one of the most recognised online payment platforms globally. Its ease of use, acceptance in numerous countries, and integration with many online marketplaces make it a preferred choice for many freelancers. However, it’s essential to be aware of its fee structure. While sending money is usually free, receiving payments as a freelancer might incur transaction fees. Moreover, currency conversion fees can also apply if you’re dealing with international clients.

Credit Cards

Some platforms allow for credit card payments

With the advent of online freelancing platforms and invoicing tools, accepting credit card payments has become more straightforward for freelancers. Platforms like Stripe or Square allow freelancers to accept credit card payments directly, with funds being transferred to their bank account or stored for later use. It provides flexibility to clients and ensures swift payments. However, similar to PayPal, there are transaction fees associated with credit card processing that freelancers need to account for.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Direct bank-to-bank transfers

EFT is an electronic transfer of money from one bank account to another. It’s a method that’s been in use long before the rise of digital-only banks and payment platforms. For large sums or regular payments, many clients and freelancers prefer EFT because of its direct nature and often lower fees compared to third-party platforms. The speed of the transfer can vary depending on the banks involved and whether it’s a domestic or international transfer. It’s essential to provide accurate bank details and ensure that both parties are aware of any fees that might be involved.

Did you know that according to Upwork’s industry research, a staggering 60% of freelancers who transitioned from full-time jobs to freelancing ended up earning more than they did in their previous roles? In the United States, freelance professionals, on average, make $20 per hour, and those specializing in web/mobile development, marketing, legal, accounting, and other skilled services command an even higher average wage of $28 per hour. Surprisingly, at this rate, these freelancers are outnumbering more than 70% of all workers in the United States.

Signs That Freelancers Will Have More Access to Earning Opportunities in 2024

Better Online Platforms

A decade ago, freelancers struggled to find clients without online avenues. Platforms like Upwork now bridge this gap, connecting millions of freelancers with diverse job opportunities, creating enriching work experiences.

Easy Communication and Collaboration

Tools like Zoom, Google Drive, and Slack streamline remote collaboration. This shift enables businesses to harness global talent, breaking through geographical barriers for seamless teamwork.

Changing Perceptions of Remote Work

The events of 2020 reshaped attitudes toward remote work as workers embraced home-based setups. Businesses recognised the efficiency of remote teams, leading to a greater acceptance of hiring global freelancers for projects in 2023 and beyond.

Choosing How to get Paid as a Freelancer

The type of work you do and your client base determine the most appropriate payment method. Local clients may find direct bank transfers or peer-to-peer networks sufficient, while international clients may prefer payment processors like Stripe for smooth cross-currency transactions. Here are few factors to consider while choosing your payment method. 

Considering Business Size and Structure

Sole proprietors may find simple methods like direct bank transfers adequate, while larger freelance businesses might require more advanced payment systems like Stripe to manage transactions effectively.

Taking into Account Payment Amount and Frequency

For large, infrequent payments, bank transfers or checks may be suitable, while lower transaction fee methods like peer-to-peer networks may be preferred for small, frequent payments. Stripe’s adaptable processing system caters to various payment sizes and frequencies, offering flexibility for different billing needs.

Prioritising Client Convenience and Accessibility

Select a payment method that aligns with your clients’ preferences, whether digital options for tech-savvy clients or traditional methods like checks for those who prefer them. Stripe provides a seamless payment experience, accommodating various payment preferences, including credit cards, debit cards, and local options.

Understanding Fee Structures and Security Measures

Consider the fee structures of payment methods and their impact on earnings, including flat rates and transaction percentages. Prioritise payment methods with robust security measures, such as encryption and fraud prevention, like Stripe’s comprehensive security features.

Exploring Integration Opportunities

Choose payment methods that integrate seamlessly with other business tools to streamline operations. Stripe offers integration with accounting software like QuickBooks and CRM systems like Salesforce, enhancing overall efficiency.


There are many benefits to working as a freelancer, including the ability to determine your hours and compensation rates as well as who and when you work for. However, it can only be profitable if you have a secure means of payment. We hope the above article proves to be a valuable one in the long run. If you need any help related to the creation of freelance agreements, you can get in touch with the legal experts of Vakilsearch.

FAQs on Freelance Payments:

Do you really get paid on freelancer?

Yes, genuine platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, and others have systems in place to ensure freelancers get paid for their work. However, it's essential to be wary of scams and always work through the platform's secure channels.

Do freelancers get paid first?

It depends on the agreement. Some freelancers ask for a deposit or milestone payments, while others may work on a post-completion payment structure. Platforms like Upwork offer escrow services that protect both client and freelancer interests.

Do freelancers pay tax?

Yes, freelancers must also fulfill their tax obligations by paying taxes and filing income tax returns in accordance with the Income Tax Act,1961

How often does a freelancer get paid?

As a freelancer, you have the flexibility to set your own payment terms. While 30 days is common, you're fully within your rights to shorten it to one or two weeks if you prefer.

How much should I ask for freelance?

It depends on factors such as your skills, experience, industry standards, and the complexity of the project.

Why do freelancers charge more?

As a freelancer, you function as a business proprietor, which entails bearing various expenses. While individual freelancers may have lower overhead costs compared to agencies, they still encounter significant expenses. For instance, photographers must invest in expensive equipment like cameras and lighting.

Do freelancers get a salary slip?

No, freelancers don't receive payment slips since they handle their own tax payments.

Do freelancers get paid in advance?

A common practice among freelancers is to request 30-50% upfront with the remainder due upon project completion. However, offering an early payment discount can expedite payment. Additionally, providing complimentary add-on services can sway clients' decisions.

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