“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
LOL. Love the Harry Potter reference. When I made the switch from working at an agency to being a freelancer, I thought net-30 terms were the norm (we did that at my agency with some larger clients). But as a freelancer I quickly realized that it was a freaking nightmare for cash flow. That was a rough couple months!
I always ask for better terms, but the real fix here is to charge more up front. One way is to cover your bills and overhead with the retainer and the remainder is your profit.
An ex-colleague of mine who happened to be very good at his job had a great solution to this. He charged 180% of market rate, but then offered a 50% discount on that price if paid within 14 days. So if he got paid on time, he would be charging essentially 90% of market rate.
All I will say is that the late payers more than made up for the 10% shortfall from prompt payment.
I often work at a company that pays on Net 45. It can be a pain for cash flow -- but in my situation this is non-negotiable, and the company is good for it 100%. Sure, try to reneg if you can.. but to me the real solution to me is to save more, and if need be, charge more! Of course its easier said than done.. but as a freelancer a good goal is to always have enough cash to float you for (at least!!) 3 months.