ADVICE / 11
the question today is: “how do you deal with clients that are taking forever to pay?”
before i begin working on a project i write up a contract that says what i’m designing and when it’s due to my client. i also include what the project fee is and when it’s due to me. i state that payment is due (this sometimes varies) within 30 days after receiving the invoice. if payment is late a 10% fee will be added to the total amount. we both sign and date and then I begin working. as long as you’re up front with them about when you want your money there should be no surprises. i’ve only had to hunt down a payment once. the client wasn’t trying to stiff me—the canadian postal service went on strike the day my payment was dropped in the mail. i had no idea.
if you’re struggling to get a payment from someone i suggest being polite when you’re requesting the whereabouts of your money. You could send a friendly reminder a week before your fee is due if you haven’t heard from them just in case they forgot. if they’re ignoring you, be a pest. call, email, tweet to them. and if that fails there is always small claims court that i don’t know anything about. has anyone had to go through them to get a payment? i’m curious if the process is worth it.
unlike katie, i have hunted down payments quite a few times. (you’re lucky!) and it’s definitely not my idea of fun. you don’t want to be naggy, but you deserve to be paid on time…so nag away. and i can’t stress the importance of a contract enough. be very upfront that the client has 30 days to pay you and you will charge a late fee if they don’t follow through with that. i can’t tell you how frustrating it is to work really hard for a client’s deadline and meet it…and then have them fail to pay you on time. unfair, right? stand up for yourself on this one, ok?