August 17, 2006

"You've Sent Him Notes," He Tells Me.

"You need to call him."

"Like, on the phone?" I practically squeal. My business consultant and decorator is on the line. I've just told him that a client's invoice is at 41 days without payment.

"What shall I say?"

B. explains that I should write it all out, and be nice, but mention that I have other obligations I'd like to meet. I thank him. I hang up. It's 5:00 p.m. I decide I'll call the client tomorrow.

Posted by Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 09:48 PM | TrackBack

Getting the money: the #2 reason I should never have my own business.

The #1 reason being I hate selling myself.

Posted by: Sean Hackbarth at August 17, 2006 10:29 PM

Of course, one always is--in one way or another.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 17, 2006 11:53 PM

One way to avoid this crap in the future is to ask clients (or potential clients) that are forever slow or you suspect will be either slow on non-paying, to pay half up front, to "cover your expenses". If they refuse to do that, don't work for them. They will be difficult to collect from always, and aren't worth your time, which would be better spent looking for clients that WILL pay on time. Put your time and effort where the money is, not where it's difficult to obtain.

Posted by: clyde at August 18, 2006 05:41 AM

Pay upfront? Good luck with that! The biggest clients set their own rules and you have the choice to accept or decline. They have standard contracts you have to sign without modification beforehand. I haven't seen one that gives the consultant/freelancer/subcontractor any relief for late payment. If you modify their contracts to include relief, they won't sign it. Periodically, some new "rising star" at a company gets the bright idea to increase company profitability by using "float" with the 'little guys that make success possible'--they delay payment as long as possible to improve co. cash flow. They can't do that with equipment vendors that make purchasers sign their own contracts with late-payment provisions. Some times, they even decide not to pay freelancers if they got you to work on spec. My longest 'late payment'? Sixteen years and counting. In my line of work, everyone needs the work 'yesterday.' They always want me to start now while the contract is going through the approval process. Most times it all works out. I haven't heard of anyone having a satisfactory result with legal remedies. The fees make the loss even greater. And there that little thing about nobody doing business with you after-wards.
You have to trust your gut and look for all the little signs.

When I worked for big companies, I often paid freelancers out of my own pocket(immediately) if the company was playing games. They, of course, had to reimburse me when the check actually arrived. That was a different kind of story--a couple of times. What are those games companies play? They have an AP committee that meets only once a month(and you missed the cut-off--or it had to adjourn early). New forms(You used the 'old form' for payment[thanks for not mentioning that for three months and for giving me the 'old form' to begin with]. Losing forms(again, why didn't you bring it to my attention?)

Posted by: Darrell at August 18, 2006 08:51 AM

Forgot to say, I hope your friend is a good decorator.

Posted by: Darrell at August 18, 2006 07:12 PM

He is.

Posted by: Attila Girl at August 18, 2006 11:58 PM

Like I said before, it's your choice. Put up with this crap or find other clients. If you know theyre going to be slow pay at the beginning, or find out, add 15% to the bill upfront. Hide it if necessary.

Posted by: clyde at August 19, 2006 06:40 AM

How about - "Dear client, we look forward to recieving your payment before we turn your invoice over to our new Accounts Due intern - known hereabouts as Little Miss Attilla. Best wishes for your continued health..."

Posted by: Colin MacDougall at August 19, 2006 09:07 AM

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