Splitting invoices in PayPal if you are expecting a big payout from a freelance client

The first time I got paid for a freelance service, I was paid 50 dollars – for an article. I just got into PayPal and withdrew it to my M-PESA account. There was no hassle, no delays.

Later a few months down the road, I was hired on another project, my biggest till then, where I was paid over 250 dollars (after sending an invoice to the client).

I received an email telling me the client had paid the invoice. So, I got into PayPal and yes the money was there. I tried to withdraw it and I was told, by PayPal, something along the lines that I would have to wait awhile (a few days) before I could withdraw the money.

It wasn’t like that time when all I was sent was 50 dollars. This payout seemed a bit unique. I was never receiving amounts larger than 250 dollars in one transaction before then. So, I think PayPal algorithms kicked in to put a pause on me withdrawing the money because it seemed irregular. Maybe it was because of the anti-laundering measures they have in place.

Maybe it was just them making sure the client didn’t send the money in error. Generally, I think they were just making sure that yes I got paid but the client would be able to quickly get their funds back if something was odd (or if they were never happy with the service they got from me).

So, in my mind I thought that next time if I was going to send an invoice this big (wanting to withdraw the money so I can use it without any delays), I’d just split the amount into smaller amounts and spread it over multiple invoices, sent one after another in intervals of say 2 to 3 minutes.

So, for example when I was going to be paid 400 dollars on a project outsourced to me, I would send four 100 Dollar invoices instead of just one.

Or if I had another client paying me 250 dollars, I would split it (the amount) into five 50 dollar invoices and send them all to the client in quick succession.

And I did, when I started receiving some bigger orders for article writing down the road. It just became a habit. I remember even splitting a 125 dollar payment into two invoices.

I also had a client I worked with a couple times writing blog posts in the WordPress niche (tutorial posts). The person would send me 4 or 5 articles to work on at a time.

So, I would write them all then send a separate invoice for each article instead of using one invoices and listing more items (the four or so articles).

This way when I got paid for the first invoice, I would just withdraw the amount paid to me while I waited for all the invoices to be paid. Which he did quickly. And there were no more delays from PayPal’s end. The client was happy. I was happy. PayPal took their cut, so I guess they were happy too.

That is how I fell in love with the idea of splitting an amount a client wanted to pay me by sending them multiple invoices.

For some people, getting 250 dollars in their PayPal account from time to time, there might be no delays for them when someone pays them something in the range of 250 to even 350 US Dollars. But on amounts over 500 Dollars, they might experience some sort of delay from PayPal’s end.

So, I thought about this little hack and I had to share it. Because I know that sometimes you may be right on money and want to withdraw money to your M-PESA the moment a client clears your invoice.

For example, when:

  • When you want to use the money to pay your rent or buy food
  • When you need the money to pay for school fees
  • When you need the money to pay the renewal fees for some of your domains and hosting (if you blog on the site and use affiliate marketing to monetize your content)
  • When you want to pay for subscriptions to some of the things you are subscribed to online (a plugin, a tool / software, membership site, an online course or coaching).
  • When you need the money to buy internet bundles (the big monthly data bundles by Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Telkom Kenya, Equitel, Faiba or Zuku)
  • When you need the money to buy a device (a better smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer or external hard drive).
  • When you want to pay for things as soon as possible – like some of the things I have already listed above.

Other times when you are happy with waiting for days or even weeks before withdrawing money from your PayPal account, you can just send one invoice with the full amount to a client and not spread the amount you agreed on with the client on multiple invoices.

When to send multiple invoices to freelance clients who hire you online: a summary

When they outsource multiple articles to you at one go.

You can just itemize them on one invoice or as you complete each piece you can create an invoice send it then keep working on the remaining posts. So, now if you get an order for ten articles, you don’t have to wait until you finish them before you start getting paid.

Finish two or three and send invoices for each. Then work on the fourth to the tenth and create separate invoices for them as well.

When you just want access to your money as soon as it is made available to you. If you want to skip the delays from PayPal’s end, split the total amount you are to be paid in multiple invoices.

Tips when using this hack to send invoices to clients

Have some sort of delay on your part after sending the work to a client before sending an invoice. Could be just a few hours, half a day or a whole day – taking into consideration the time zone they are in.

Be reasonable. You don’t have to do this all the time. When you think getting 5 to 10 invoices can be considered an annoyance by the client, just use one.

That’s all. If you are looking for work right now or hiring, go to Entity.co.ke Classifieds page to browse the ads posted on the site or to place your own ad listing. Placing an ad on the site is free.

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