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zook

Clients paying late

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gentlemen, business IS war... this is an opportunity

 

1) Write a clause in your initial agreement/estimate/contract that includes YOUR payment schedule and include stiff INCREMENTAL penalties for late payments. ... 2 weeks late +15% etc

 

2) Never whine when they are late, just send the new invoice. Its not a fine, its business and its your money.

 

I ran a freelance T-shirt biz- and this works. ;)

 

...oh, and if the big corporation can't get the funds to you in 6 month.... fine, just work that in and charge 275% more, but don't raise the initial cost of the project. Also offer a 5% discount to all accounts that pay in cash, especially whiners.

 

i like this idea

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1) Write a clause in your initial agreement/estimate/contract that includes YOUR payment schedule and include stiff INCREMENTAL penalties for late payments. ... 2 weeks late +15% etc

 

tiger's advice in addition to many others in this thread have been extremely helpful. i'm currently in a slightly screwed situation.

 

my contract stated ten days since an invoice, a check will be smiling at me. these clauses are def something i will exercise in the future. but what if there weren't any established? what kind of grounds do i have to charge interest, or late fees....?

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I have a client who is becoming a serial late payer.

 

They always paid within 30 days, but in the last few months they've defaulted every time, and with a week to go before everyone packs up for the xmas break and me being broke, they're telling me they'll pay me when they get a big cheque they are waiting for.

 

They are over a couple of weeks late in paying (more in one case) which doesn't seem much but as a one man band this could make for a bleak Christmas.

 

So how do other freelancers deal with this sort of situation? How acceptable is this sort of behaviour? Should work be commissioned by clients who insist on being paid for the job before paying the designer who has put the hours in?

 

zook

 

 

I have found that sending an invoice via Certified Mail with Return Receipt can help send the right message without you having to say anything, because you are doing something and documenting it with a government office. Many people know that certified mail from the U.S Post Office mind you- not a courier or fedex or some other mailing service, holds up as proof that you billed them and gave them ample time to pay, in small claims court or what have you. Sometimes people get the hint that you "might" be considering this option and pay it so they don't have to deal with it anymore.

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I need to vent....

 

 

ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!

 

 

...late payment on a sh@tload of money. I mean are they effing kidding - THEIR contract explicitly says payment within 30 days, and they haven't even sent it from NYC yet, meaning I'll be lucky to get it within 75 days. For some work for big clients through a studio, I may need to contact their clients directly to ask where the $&*^ my money is. The studio stopped responding to my emails too... :angry:

 

 

Eff me, I thought I was past all this shit. Seems like the bigger the client is, the more likely they are to jerk you around. If I don't get this cash before Nov. 1st I'll gladly post the studio/producer/director names on here so you all can avoid them.

 

ARRRGGGHHHHH

 

 

/venting, thanks for listening.

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i've also been dealing with this shit a lot.

 

i recently added the late fee clause (something like 1% of total invoice per day late past 30 days) on the bottom of my invoice and the first client i invoiced with the new clause paid me like 2 months late. on the plus side, they agreed to pay the late fees (i'm still waiting on those unfortunately). definitely include late fees and i think the idea about invoicing for the accrued late fees every week is a fucking great one. sure, some clients may laugh, but if you're in nyc or la or another large design market city, you can laugh back and never work for their asses again. i'm sure it seems like there's always another shmoe out there willing to take your place but in reality it's pretty difficult for studios to find committed, consistent and skilled designers/animators at any given time who are *available* so telling them you won't work for them without getting paid first generally has an effect.

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I finally got in touch with the studio in question a few minutes ago. Three months ago I did work through the studio for 3 major U.S. cable networks and one other large non-broadcast company. The studio is waiting to be paid by these clients before paying me (and others apparently) :angry:. The bookkeeper told me that yesterday one of those companies apparently told the studio that they had been lying about a check being in the mail, and that they haven't sent out any money yet. They said they're "having financial difficulties". A major cable network or company who will remain nameless is having financial difficulties? WTF?

 

I brought up that the contract explicitly says I was to be paid within 30 days, and there was just a bunch of excuses. They told me they'd TRY to pay me PART of my invoice before November (about 1/6th of the total amount due). It sounds like everyone (studio + clients) are on the verge of bankruptcy or something. What the hell are my options in a situation like this? Does the contract mean nothing? Am I completely screwed?

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One option is to get legal counsel. You would enter into arbitration where they can be court ordered to pay according to the terms in the contract that they agreed to. Unless you have a cousin Vinny that is a lawyer, this might get more costly than just riding it out. Or, it might force them to pay up before their money disappears.

 

If they declare bankruptcy, then yes... you are kind of screwed.

 

Last year I was in a similar situation with a casino (MGM!!! YOU SUCK!!!). I decided to ride it out, another other freelancer took them to court. I started the job in May and finally received full payment in November, after they had bled me dry and I had used up all my savings and tax deferments. The other guy went into arbitration and got a partial payment for the work as of the point where he bailed on the job, in a similar time frame that I received payment.

 

This is exactly why I make training products.

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This is exactly why I make training products.

 

Thanks for the info Graymachine. I also own some websites that make enough money through Adsense to pay my bills most months. Unfortunately Google is also late in paying me this month, and I don't think I'll see that check for a while as they take forever to reissue checks that get lost in the mail.

 

 

Just a terribly unlucky month for me I guess. I should be rolling in $$$ but everyone is late paying me.

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In my web design business, I don't deal with cheap clients. I figure out what a project will cost me in time and materials and then triple it. I then require the client to pay 50% up front. In this way, I get more than the cost for any project up front and I'm not losing anything, except more profits if they are late on paying.

 

In the mograph world, I don't have that kind of clout, so I haven't tried to pull it off with those clients yet. However, I don't deliver "final renders" to the client until I get a signed approval form from them which clearly states that my final invoice is DUE on delivery and late after 10 business days. So far I've only had issues with one client (a University) paying late but the amounts are nominal and the work fairly steady, so I let it slide.

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In my web design business, I don't deal with cheap clients. I figure out what a project will cost me in time and materials and then triple it. I then require the client to pay 50% up front. In this way, I get more than the cost for any project up front and I'm not losing anything, except more profits if they are late on paying.

 

In the mograph world, I don't have that kind of clout, so I haven't tried to pull it off with those clients yet. However, I don't deliver "final renders" to the client until I get a signed approval form from them which clearly states that my final invoice is DUE on delivery and late after 10 business days. So far I've only had issues with one client (a University) paying late but the amounts are nominal and the work fairly steady, so I let it slide.

 

 

Sounds good, but I have never heard of a mograph company paying a freelancer 50% up front. Further, it isn't just cheap clients that are paying late, major corporations & companies are doing it as well. I would think it impossible (unfortunately) to get paid upon final renders, as most places need to get paid themselves in order to pay freelancers. (just as mentioned above). Plus there is an air date, with bought media time, no client is going to have there project held hostage with risk of missing air date. I know all what I have said sucks, I wish it was different as well. Short of having legal counsel on retainer, there isn't much beyond constant harassment that one can do.

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well i think what a lot of us is saying is the whole 'gotta wait to get paid ourselves, heheh' is unacceptable. this means you're working at a place with no cash reserve, a place that is usually in debt to all its vendors, not just you. there's something lame about that.

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Guest Sao_Bento
Sounds good, but I have never heard of a mograph company paying a freelancer 50% up front.

It depends on your role. If you are the person handing them the finished master, then yes. If you're doing a few graphics for something someone else is producing and editing, then no.

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Sounds good, but I have never heard of a mograph company paying a freelancer 50% up front.

 

That's good to know when I start dealing with mograph companies. Thanks very much for that info.

 

At the moment, I'm not dealing with mograph companies, I'm dealing with web clients who need mograph work (I do no-shoot commercials and infomercials for their web sites or local TV market). So I guess I'm able to get away with something that isn't the norm. Especially since I lump it in with my web contract with the client.

 

While I have been put on notice that many of my clients are cutting back on future projects, I have been very lucky in having very few issues with payment.

 

I also have a lawyer that charges me a flat $75 fee to mail a notice from his office on several agreed upon subjects. Essentially they're all form letters I paid him to write for me in advance and when I need one sent out, I send an email to his secretary who fills in the appropriate info and mails it on his letterhead from his address. Works 99% of the time.

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Sweet! I just found the silver lining in this client being so late in paying me: Back when I invoiced them, the Canadian dollar was at par with the American dollar, but now that our dollar is worth so much less with the stock market crash, I'm getting lots of extra cash at conversion, same goes for my Adsense money. Sweet! :lol:

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