How to make sure you get paid on time
Whether or not you get paid on time is actually, largely, dependant on the company or individual for whom you are working. However there are a few things you can do to help things along. Most important of all are your own organisation and communication skills. Without getting these right, you're in for a whole heap of trouble! Another critical thing is union membership. Pay disputes are more easily sorted with union backing.
1. Get your invoice in as soon as possible. It sounds obvious, but if you don't invoice until a month after you did the job, you're not going to get paid anytime soon.
2. Make sure your invoice has the correct details. This includes the money you are owed (expenses etc. included), your correct contact details, your bank details and your terms of payment. This last point is important for any time you need to chase late payment since it ensures there is no confusion about when you are expecting to be paid.
3. Communicate with your employer. When you are accepting a job, make sure you are both happy with terms of payment; when you invoice, make sure this is still the case; if you haven't been paid on time, communicate with the employer to let them know - it may have been an oversight, it may not! Either way it's better for them to know you are eagerly awaiting your money!
4. Keep good records and chase payments regularly when they are overdue.
5. Be polite, but firm when you need to be. There is no point getting into an argument that will lead to someone refusing to pay you.
6. Make sure you are in a union! Equity is the main actors' union and are skilled at fighting your corner as well as providing other actors with information about employers who withhold money. You may think this won't help you get your money, but the possibility of other actors refusing to work with a company might just be the incentive they need to pay up.