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mographzach

6 weeks and still no payment

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I wrapped up some freelance work 6 weeks ago for a client. They were great to work with, super friendly, etc. After I finished my work, I sent an invoice, and the producer told me it would be 3 weeks. 3 weeks passed, no check. So I emailed her again, and she told me she'd check with accounting. After 3 days she gets back to me, and tells me that it will be another 2 weeks and that she's sorry for the delay (without telling me why). After 2 weeks, I ask her to confirm that it will definitely be sent out soon. She says she'll check and never gets back to me. I finally try calling the owner of the studio (who I spoke with frequently during the project) to see what the deal was. He told me they haven't been paid yet by the client, and that I would be paid as soon as they were paid, which could be another 2 weeks (or more), and that the client has a net 45.

 

Basically, I'm pretty frustrated right now. I'm usually paid in a timely matter (2-3 weeks max) and these guys are making me wait a month and a half so far. What should I do? Keep waiting? I really need to be paid. I'm a young dude, only 22, and I'm kind of poor at the moment because I'm not doing this stuff full time yet (I don't have enough connections and clients for continuous work), and I have another yr left in school. Ideas? Should I just keep waiting? Or do I need to start putting the pressure on? I think if I do work for somebody, they need to pay for it. If they haven't been paid yet, that's not my problem. It seems unethical to hire people without explaining to them that they may have to wait 45 days for payment because that's when they'll be paid by their client.

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I should tell them that? Have you ever been in this situation? It's really frustrating especially when I have bills and stuff.

 

Happened lots, some clients pay the same day some need a big old push a month or two down the line. Chances are they're just tight at the moment, clients have bills too - not your problem I know. You can shout at them if you like but probably won't help. Up to you to decide if you want to work with them again, I usually let it slide once if a client is late, if it happens twice then they'll fall off the bottom of my pile. Had a client four months late earlier this year, they seemed OK then they went quiet for a bit... then they went broke. Still waiting for the scraps...

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Keep this from happening again by having your clients sign a deal memo.

I can't remember the link off hand to a sample of this, but things you should put in it is the name of the job you'll be working on, the duration of the book, overtime and most importantly, the inclusion of interest should they not meet your criteria for payment.

 

As to your original question of what you should do at this point with the client, are they someone you want to work for again?

If not, then it's time to get upset, you don't have to yell and curse, just be stern. Let them know that their client payment is not your problem and that their company should have enough money to pay the freelancer who did the work. You're not working for their client, you're working for them.

 

If this is a bridge you don't want to burn then tell them what you posted here about being 22 and needing the money, kind of like playing to their sympathies, but at the same time not giving them a sob story.

 

But honestly, you did the work in a timely manner and met their deadline, they should be able to do the same for you with your paycheck. For me, i'll let it slide once, next time, I show up at the office with a bat.

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I"m sure I"m not the first to ask you this, but was there a contract involved?

 

I wouldn't go the legal route, assuming your working experience with this client was actually good. Giving them a break this time may pay off in the future (assuming you can make ends meet). I wouldn't work with them again, though, until you've been paid at least 1/3 up front.

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Welcome to the dollhouse.

 

 

Rate & Terms agreement, signed before every job or by every client. Establish fair terms about payment etc.

 

Then prepare to wait to get paid, cause that's how it works.

 

I feel for you, but some people never get paid, or wait 6 months, etc.

I know a handful of people that are owed 10 - 15G + they'll never see.

 

So, just try to smile and keep your back straight while your grabbing your ankles.

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It sucks, but it has only been 6 weeks. Unfortunately late payments are fairly common, usually for the reason you stated - the end client hasn't yet paid. While that type of thing shouldn't be our problem, it happens. I have one 4.5 months past due for that reason. Don't upset them by harassing everyone under their roof. Next time you work for them, raise your rate and get a contract / interest arrangement written up.

 

If it sounds like things are just tight over there, offer a payment plan.

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If you enjoyed working with them and want to do it again I wouldn't pester them too much. It sucks you have to wait, but 6 weeks isn't all that terrible. Knowing that their client has a net 45, it's probably an agency and you just have to deal with it. Lots of agencies have a net 60 policy now, and while it's not fair that you have to wait to get paid that's just the way it happens lots of times.

 

It sounds like they know they owe you and will pay it as soon as their payment comes in. It's lame you have to essentially finance their work but if it's a good relationship otherwise it's not worth causing a big fuss. A little disclosure about the net 45 would have been nice, but get a deal signed before you start and all that shakes out and you know what to expect.

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Unfortunately 6 weeks isn't that dramatic. not that I think its right, but I've seen it many times.

 

I've never been completely stiffed by a client though, they all pay eventually.

 

Hope it works out for ya.

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Thanks for the replies. They said they'll be cutting me a check today and it should arrive soon. I would have been more patient had I known up front that when they said 3 weeks they really meant 6 weeks. Lesson learned, never count on a check getting in at a specific time. I just hope I didn't come off as annoying to them... they were cool to work with, but I needz mah monies too. =)

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I wrapped up some freelance work 6 weeks ago for a client. They were great to work with, super friendly, etc. After I finished my work, I sent an invoice, and the producer told me it would be 3 weeks. 3 weeks passed, no check. So I emailed her again, and she told me she'd check with accounting. After 3 days she gets back to me, and tells me that it will be another 2 weeks and that she's sorry for the delay (without telling me why). After 2 weeks, I ask her to confirm that it will definitely be sent out soon. She says she'll check and never gets back to me. I finally try calling the owner of the studio (who I spoke with frequently during the project) to see what the deal was. He told me they haven't been paid yet by the client, and that I would be paid as soon as they were paid, which could be another 2 weeks (or more), and that the client has a net 45.

 

Basically, I'm pretty frustrated right now. I'm usually paid in a timely matter (2-3 weeks max) and these guys are making me wait a month and a half so far. What should I do? Keep waiting? I really need to be paid. I'm a young dude, only 22, and I'm kind of poor at the moment because I'm not doing this stuff full time yet (I don't have enough connections and clients for continuous work), and I have another yr left in school. Ideas? Should I just keep waiting? Or do I need to start putting the pressure on? I think if I do work for somebody, they need to pay for it. If they haven't been paid yet, that's not my problem. It seems unethical to hire people without explaining to them that they may have to wait 45 days for payment because that's when they'll be paid by their client.

 

Did you state that payment was to be no later than "net 30" in your booking confirmation? If not, then unfortunately, they are going to take advantage of that. They always do. There have been many threads here about booking confirmations, payment, EORS and so forth.

 

I'm sorry to hear that you're dealing with this, but learn from it and do something about it with future bookings, no matter who it is.

 

Also, all of your invoices should say "All invoices are due upon receipt." at the bottom of the invoice. That and the net 30 booking confirmation translate to: this is due the day I give it to you via email or whatever and you have a 30 day grace period to pay it. End of story.

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Did you state that payment was to be no later than "net 30" in your booking confirmation? If not, then unfortunately, they are going to take advantage of that. They always do. There have been many threads here about booking confirmations, payment, EORS and so forth.

 

I'm sorry to hear that you're dealing with this, but learn from it and do something about it with future bookings, no matter who it is.

 

Also, all of your invoices should say "All invoices are due upon receipt." at the bottom of the invoice. That and the net 30 booking confirmation translate to: this is due the day I give it to you via email or whatever and you have a 30 day grace period to pay it. End of story.

 

I feel your pain. It's even harder to bring up contracts to a client when you're new to the game like myself. I've been fortunate to have honest clients that pay on time. My guard is going back up though from now on.

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I feel your pain. It's even harder to bring up contracts to a client when you're new to the game like myself. I've been fortunate to have honest clients that pay on time. My guard is going back up though from now on.

 

 

Contracts are ugly and scary. Just make a standard 'work order' form with standard payment details, etc that they sign off on before you start.

Edited by AromaKat

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My experience is the larger the organization, the longer it takes to get paid. If you try to turn the screws on your contact, it has little to no effect on whoever actually issues the check. Doesn't matter what your terms are, they will pay you on their terms. I think some businesses are just disorganized and lump their contractors in with other larger vendors and pay them on something like a 90-day cycle. Keep a buffer zone of cash for clients like this, and just make sure your payment is in the works. The important thing is that it's in their system. If they can't speed it up, they should at least be able to give you a date.

 

I'm still waiting on a payment from a certain meteorological network that is 4 weeks overdue. Been waiting for 8 weeks total.

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I feel like there was a thread on here a while back on how to write up a good, simple contract for freelance work. Does anyone know where that is? I think that'd be helpful and relevant in this thread.

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There are contracts, deal memos, threats, and on and on... but all that will do is make you right on paper.

Like others have said... 6 weeks is not terribly uncommon.

 

It's unfortunate, but I've found the best method for me after freelancing for about 7 years is to simply stay 2 months ahead of my income.

 

-m

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There are contracts, deal memos, threats, and on and on... but all that will do is make you right on paper.

Like others have said... 6 weeks is not terribly uncommon.

 

It's unfortunate, but I've found the best method for me after freelancing for about 7 years is to simply stay 2 months ahead of my income.

 

-m

 

That's what I've figured will need to happen from now on: I'll need to have some sort of an emergency fund. But thanks so much for the advice man. I'm a fan!

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This is a last ditch, scorched earth maneuver that usually works like a charm.

Send your Client's client a friendly note and ask them to help persuade your client to pay you.

Be sure to let them know how much you enjoyed working on their project.

More than likely, they will email your client a copy of your note, which should (at least it did for me)

result in prompt payment.

 

The very last ditch is to talk to an attorney about taking them to civil court. a note from your attorney

should scare the crap, along with a check, out of them.

 

When you work for small, friendly Mom&Pop companies, you are always on unsteady ground. One of

my best clients fell on his face in a tennis game, and his personality went through a 180 degree

transformation. I believe it had to do with the medication, but suddenly the guy wouldn't pay anybody,

and started making insane accusations against his employees. More recently, a reliable client became

insolvent and the checks turned rubber.

 

Video producers always have a 50% up front policy. I can't figure out why graphics artists let themselves

get ripped off so easily.

Edited by tomcat

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Send your Client's client a friendly note and ask them to help persuade your client to pay you.

Be sure to let them know how much you enjoyed working on their project.

More than likely, they will email your client a copy of your note, which should (at least it did for me)

result in prompt payment.

 

 

 

 

 

1000% effective EVERY TIME.

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That's what I've figured will need to happen from now on: I'll need to have some sort of an emergency fund. But thanks so much for the advice man. I'm a fan!

 

 

Word Monkey, Yea I do the same about two months of bills in advance, have to say it has saved me on numerous occasion with late invoices can't stress it enough also puts you you at ease in the back your head.

 

-coin

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You could just watermark whatever you give them unitl you receive payment. Has this worked for anybody? Maybe you can scare them by telling them your accountant is sending the bill to collections. It's what they would do to you if you owed them money, especially if it's past 100 days.

Edited by Cameradan

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You could just watermark whatever you give them unitl you receive payment. Has this worked for anybody? Maybe you can scare them by telling them your accountant is sending the bill to collections. It's what they would do to you if you owed them money, especially if it's past 100 days.

 

If you're on the deposit / milestone / balance NET 30 scenario then a watermark on the final isn't going to work.

 

Placing a mechanics (designers) lien on the work is also an option. I've dont this once for a few days of footage that was shot and payment was dragging. In this instance, you actually own the deliverables until they are paid in full.

 

One way to get a prompt payment is to offer a slight (3-5%) discount if invoice is paid within 10 days. Bean-counters will take any discount they can get.

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You can't tell them that you're sending the bill to collectors, because you don't have recourse to collectors. Banks are beginning to offer this service, and Natwest in the UK is offering invoice loans now, but the only threat you can make is a small claims civil court order. Which is what I am looking to do as i just got stiffed (never work for friends if you can help it)...

 

It's good practice to offer a discount for prompt payment, interest for late payment (over 28 days), ask for a remittance date when you submit the invoice (if you are billing the studio directly, then invoice on the last day you are actually in the office, preferably earlier - you can speak to them face to face. after you leave they tend to ignore you), when negotiating your fee do not drop below your day rate drastically (you'll still get paid late and you'll miss the extra cash) and ask for an advance on all project fees (as they are usually far lower than day rate). there's my little list. i am dead sick of being exploited, and rolling over for idiots that assume i have some kind of cash float to live on in the vacuum between pay days.

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