Bad debt client - how do you approach no longer offering services to a client

9 replies
Hi Everyone

I have a client that I have done work for a couple of times.

Each of the two times they have really taken a long time to pay their final bill, it has taken me a lot of phone calls and follow ups to get the payment which took up a lot of time and it's not something I want to continue with.

They are asking for another project to be done and I want to decline the work, the reason is because they take too long to pay.

For the sake of keeping the peace, is it better to offer an explaination that I'm too busy and not taking any more work on until a set period of time? Or would it be better for me to be honest.

I no longer want to work with this person as it just takes up too much time and they are unreliable however I'm not sure exactly how to approach it. In the past people that have been slow payers or bad debts have got the hint and either paid up front the next time or used another service provider as they are embarrassed I guess.

What's your take, I am leaning towards saying I have taken on a big project and not available to them for a long time (like forever). .. I want to remain professional but be very clear I am not interested in their business.
#approach #bad #client #debt #longer #offering #services
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    decline the work, the reason is because they take too long to pay.
    leaning towards saying I have taken on a big project and not available to them
    The "professional" thing to do is be honest. You did the work on two previous projects - and had to chase the client to collect what he OWED you both times. He knows he paid late - and he'll do it again. I expect there are freelancers who refuse to work for him for that reason.

    You don't owe this person excuses - tell him why you don't want the job. If he insists on hiring you - require full payment up front.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      The "professional" thing to do is be honest. You did the work on two previous projects - and had to chase the client to collect what he OWED you both times. He knows he paid late - and he'll do it again. I expect there are freelancers who refuse to work for him for that reason.

      You don't owe this person excuses - tell him why you don't want the job. If he insists on hiring you - require full payment up front.
      It's totally awkward but you're right.

      I just don't really enjoy working on projects where people don't respect you enough to apply to the terms of the job.

      I need to pull this off like a band-aid.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Beroff
    "I'd be more than happy to help you with this as soon as I receive your payment up front in full of $X... oh, and by the way, that represents a Y% increase in my rates."

    Either s/he'll pay it or s/he won't, and either way, you'll be happy.

    I don't know how you come across to your clients, but from the threads I've read here, you seem to be allergic to money or something. Part of being in business for yourself includes ensuring that you actually make money. Once you give yourself permission to believe that, you'll start to do better.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by David Beroff View Post

      "I'd be more than happy to help you with this as soon as I receive your payment up front in full of ... oh, and by the way, that represents a Y% increase in my rates."

      Either s/he'll pay it or s/he won't, and either way, you'll be happy.

      I don't know how you come across to your clients, but from the threads I've read here, you seem to be allergic to money or something. Part of being in business for yourself includes ensuring that you actually make money. Once you give yourself permission to believe that, you'll start to do better.
      Thanks - I am certainly not allergic to money - I think my screening process for clients just hasn't been amazing up to now.

      I have been learning heaps from these threads and really appreciate the feedback.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    There is no reason to lie or to beat around the bush. Both approaches will compromise your integrity.

    Tell the client that you will be happy to do the project as soon as the agreed upon amount is paid in full up front. You can explain why if you want or if the client asks. You are certainly not being unreasonable based on the client's history of late payments.

    Now the ball is in the client's court and he can do business with you under your terms or not at all. He won't change so don't give in to him.

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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    The best thing to do is to be honest and say that it simply takes too long to get paid by them and that if they still want to use your services, they will need to pay in full before any services are rendered. Then, the ball is in their court and they can end the relationship if they want to.
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  • Profile picture of the author gooroo
    Whether you'll be honest with him or not is entirely your choice, you don't lose anything by being honest and you get to maintain your integrity.
    He should pay upfront this time or look for someone else to do his project.
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    just require payment upfront

    al
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
    Thanks everyone.

    I will update my terms and have a version for this client - so that it is outlined very clearly that work will only commence when full payment is received upfront.

    I really appreciate your support and guidance. I absolutely hate chasing people for payments, it is one of the worst things for me in business especially when they are happy with the work, and approve everything to be published, printed etc..
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