Keeping Track of your Clients, Rates, and Pay

by Shenron on August 2, 2009

As a freelancer, you probably already know how tough it is to keep up with multiple clients and jobs that you have going on. When work comes in, you’re eager to get to work and get it finished so you can move on to the next one but when you get caught up in the rat race of trying to get everything done for so many clients, it gets tough to keep track of the money side of things. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “No way would I ever forget how much I’m owed or how much I’ve gotten paid.” Well the sad truth is, we’ve all done it. It’s a sting that we don’t always recognize but we’ve all gotten paid less than we agreed to for one reason or another and there’s no reason for that to happen.

Clients Keeping Track Keeping Track of your Clients, Rates, and Pay

The ideal step to take in this direction is to make a spreadsheet in either Excel or an equivalent (a web based software like active collab) and put down all of your clients’ names in a single column. Next to them you’re going to want to keep track of what your current job for them is, what hourly rate or per word rate you’ve agreed to and when you have to turn it in. Maybe even throw in some contact info for the client so you know when and where to reach them should you have any trouble. From here you can organize the spreadsheet into any fashion you want so that you know what you’re doing and for how much.

Your clients are invaluable to you and without them, you can’t survive. Remember that. But also remember that they need you just as much as you need them. I’ve dealt with some greedy clients in the past that agree to pay a fair rate on the front end via a phone call or email exchange but when it comes time to pay up, they either flee or swear on their life that they agreed to a much lower rate. Cut this out from the very beginning. If possible, record any and all conversations you have a with a client beforehand, be it through email or on an instant messenger conversation. If they try and swindle you out of a lower rate, show them the conversation regarding pay and go from there. While not always possible, get some type of “pre-pay” ahead of time so that after you’ve designed a page of their website or written for them, they pay you to show in good faith that they’re willing to continue with that hourly or per word rate. This cuts out any possible confusion about rates and pay. If there’s a problem, don’t be afraid to bring it up to them. Remember, you’re not trying to be mean but this is business after all.

Clients Keeping Track 5 Keeping Track of your Clients, Rates, and Pay


  • Make a spreadsheet or document with your rate, job, and client info for each job.
  • Check off on the sheet when you’ve been paid and how much they still owe you.
  • Record all conversations regarding pay rates if possible so you don’t get stung agreeing to a lower rate come time for payment.
  • Get a payment on the front end as a show of good faith.

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