It's easy to get stiffed on payments when you're a freelancer. You often have to do the work first before the person who hires you hands over their cash. However, you can still maintain some leverage to make sure you get paid.
Photo by Gretchen Caserotti.
As creative professional site 99u points out, many freelancers will turn over their entire work and hope that their client will make good on payments. Rather than handing them everything you've done, show proof that you've finished your work, or hold back something until you've been paid. For example, graphic designers can send low-res versions of their work, then ask for payment before the full version is shared:
Behance member Mustafa Aslan takes a similar approach as Monteiro to the work / money hand off. When Aslan gives client his payment terms, he notes that he will first send a low-res preview of the finished work, for the client to approve and accept. Once the client has accepted the work, Alsan requires that they send payment before he releases the original file. It's a clever way to conduct the transaction, especially when dealing with a new client. "This method is like the optimal way to secure a payment," says Aslan. "It creates trust, because every time you get paid, you send them a proof about the work done."
Some professions may have a harder time of this than others. For example, you can't exactly offer a preview copy of mowing someone's lawn. However, if you can hold back something that your client needs until you've been paid while still proving you've done the work, you can avoid the dreaded non-payment.