How to Get Paid Well as a Freelance Illustrator: 5 Methods

How to Get Paid Well as a Freelance Illustrator

Managing finances without a stable income can be a daunting challenge for every freelancer, especially for those who rely solely on their freelance illustration work. One of the most frustrating aspects of freelancing is dealing with payment issues from clients. 

While some clients may hesitate to pay upfront before the work is done, others may delay payments even after the completion of the project.

In this article, we will discuss how to get paid well as a freelance illustrator! Also, some essential strategies to protect yourself and ensure that you are paid well and on time for your freelance illustration services.

How to Get Paid Well as a Freelance Illustrator?

ways to get paid well as a Freelance Illustrator

Below we’re going to add 5 methods to get paid well as a freelance illustrator

1. Request a Deposit Before Commencing Work

As a freelance illustrator, you have the autonomy to establish rules for your business. It is entirely reasonable to ask potential clients for a deposit before starting any work. This not only demonstrates your professionalism but also places you in control of the project’s terms and payments. When approaching clients, confidently pitch the idea of a 50% deposit and provide them with a contract to sign before initiating the work. This practice enables you to filter out clients who might be unsure about payment commitments.

While securing deposits is generally straightforward, editorial work may present challenges due to tight deadlines and immediate turnarounds. To navigate such situations, research other illustrators who have worked on editorial commissions to gain insights into their experiences. Reach out to them for advice and friendly discussions on payment practices in the industry.

2. Establish Clear Payment Terms

Clarity is key to maintaining a healthy relationship between freelancers and clients. Just as you observe payment clarity while working on freelance illustration jobs through platforms like Dormzi, it is essential to discuss and agree on payment terms before starting any project independently. Outline your preferred payment schedule and discuss it with your clients to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Typically, requesting payment within 30 days is common, but you can negotiate for shorter periods, such as 14 or 7 days. Smaller agencies and companies are usually more flexible with payment processes and may agree to your terms. However, larger firms might have stricter payment policies, paying within 60 or 90 days. In such cases, securing a 50% deposit or setting up payments in 2-3 stages can help you manage your finances effectively and maintain a steady cash flow. Ensure that the agreed payment terms are documented in a contract and approved by the client to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Obtain Payment Information Early On

To streamline the payment process and avoid delays, request relevant payment information from clients during the negotiation phase. Gather all necessary details while discussing project requirements and designs. Ask if they have a Purchase Order (PO) number, a crucial reference for transactions indicating client approval. If this number is missing from your invoice, you may encounter difficulties in receiving payment.

Some clients prefer to make regular monthly payments, so it’s beneficial to inquire about such preferences while invoicing them. Obtaining payment information in advance ensures a smoother invoicing process and minimizes potential payment delays.

4. Create Professional and Comprehensive Invoices

A well-structured invoice not only reflects professionalism but also facilitates prompt payments from clients. Ensure your invoice includes essential details such as your registered business name and address, logo, client’s company information, payment details for each design or project, the total amount, due date, invoice number, and the all-important PO number.

Several online accounting and invoice software tools are available to help you create professional invoices effortlessly. Alternatively, you can find free templates by searching relevant terms online. Utilizing a proper invoice format ensures that all necessary information is shared accurately, reducing the risk of errors that could lead to payment delays.

5. Set up a Payment Reminder System

To avoid payment delays caused by forgetful clients or bureaucratic processes within larger companies, implement a payment reminder system. After sending your initial invoice, set up a series of friendly and professional payment reminders to nudge clients about upcoming or overdue payments.

Start with a polite reminder a few days before the payment due date, ensuring that the client is aware of the impending payment. If the payment deadline passes without receiving payment, send a follow-up reminder, reiterating the due amount and the importance of timely payment. Depending on your agreed payment terms, schedule additional reminders at appropriate intervals.

Using email automation tools or invoice management software, you can streamline the process and save time. Remember to maintain a friendly tone in your reminders, as the goal is to encourage prompt payment without straining the client relationship.

By implementing a systematic payment reminder approach, you demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to managing your finances responsibly, while also ensuring that clients are consistently reminded of their payment obligations. If you’re interested you can also read – how to start a career in supply chain management.


As a freelance illustrator, securing timely and fair payment is vital for sustaining a successful career. By requesting a deposit, establishing clear payment terms, obtaining payment information early on, and creating professional invoices, you can protect yourself from payment-related frustrations and maintain a positive relationship with your clients. Embrace these best practices to thrive as a freelance illustrator and ensure you get paid well for your exceptional artwork and creative services.

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