How do you handle a really slow-paying IM client?

21 replies
Not sure if this is the right forum, but Warriors who do IM services....
I started working with the guy in November, and have yet to see my first payment. I know he's good for it because a mutual contact referred me. The first check was "lost in the mail" by the person who handles his payments; that was two weeks ago.
I have just started out on my own, he knows that, and it's beginning to sour my view of him as a client (and as a person).
Any suggestions for how to handle this without the whole thing going south?

Thanks
#client #handle #slowpaying
  • Profile picture of the author TheCLPro
    In many cases when the check was "lost in the mail", it is not. That is one of the most common excuses people make when they are delaying payment. I would suggest that form now you, use a merchant account, or some type of billing agreement that provides you with the customers preferred method of payment, such as credit card or PayPal. Whenever you complete a service, within the scope of your mutually agreed upon billing agreement, automatically charge them for the service or product provided. You can also make a demand that the customer has X amount of time to make a payment to you, or his service will be suspended. You have to get tough sometimes to get paid.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Money
    Get rid of them, immediately. Firing your difficult customers is one of the most important skills you can cultivate.
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    • Profile picture of the author donhx
      Originally Posted by Andy Money View Post

      Get rid of them, immediately. Firing your difficult customers is one of the most important skills you can cultivate.
      This is the correct answer, in my expereince. Get a retainer (third or half) up front, or don't work for the person.

      If they don't make progress payments when they say they will, you don't want them as a client. I ask for money 3 times if needed, then I terminate them. I suffer the loss and remind myself to choose my customers better the next time. I never give in when they want more work later, after they have been a slow payer.

      The way to build a business is to get a group of repeat customers who pay well, and slowly increase your prices. I once lived well for ten years off 45 such clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Andy Money View Post

      Get rid of them, immediately. Firing your difficult customers is one of the most important skills you can cultivate.
      Agreed. It's hard to give a client your all when they're constantly late on payment.
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  • Profile picture of the author karlmay1980
    You have to ask whether you really feel they are going to pay up, might be one that got away but save a lot more work being wasted in the long run.

    Quick solicitors letter may get what you owed should the deal fall through completely.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    I think that you should email that person again to send you a new check or wait it out for 2-3 more weeks.

    If he does not reply back to you or your don't get your check in the mail in 2-3 weeks, then you probably got screwed. But don't think like that until you wait a few more weeks.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    I like to let them know that I don't have enough money to sustain them until I get the payment. It is not a matter of trust but rather we just don't have it. This is somewhat true because we have an operating budget where we have to pay employees, and have to run a balance sheet each month. Otherwise we have to dip into other funds. So something like:

    "I REALLY love your service/commitment, but we are really tight with the budget, and I have some other items I really have no choice but to address until we get the payment. Please try to get it to us as soon as possible so we can continue working together, but I have to prioritize a couple of other items until we have the money. Hopefully in the future we can streamline this so everything is consistent, and again, BIG thanks for your help. Let's continue this ASAP!"
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingva
    Hi,

    I had this happen. The new client was recommended by someone I knew well. The check got lost in the mail. Then it arrived and was cancelled by the new client. Three weeks later (after I'd completed the work) I received a bankruptcy filing by the new client with my name on it. She had prepared her bankruptcy filing before she met me and added my name to that and purposely lied about payment. Now I get full payment, up front.

    Bonnie
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I disagree with suggestions of "tell them how much you need the money".

      You aren't a supplicant or a poor me story - you deserve to be paid on time for the work you have done. End of story. What you don't say is what payment terms were agreed to when you began the work.

      Don't talk to the person who "does his payments" - call the person who HIRED you and ask him what the payment problem is. Make it clear you are owed for work done and expect payment immediately.

      Don't accept excuses - he should not be hiring you if he doesn't have money on hand to pay you. You should not continue working for him without payment. If it has "gone South" you need to know that so you can move on.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Whatever I buy online, myself, I have to pay for in advance. Why are your services different?
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  • Profile picture of the author GailTrahd
    You are the expert and you have to think of yourself as one! Experts get their piece of the pie up front before the work is done - or at least 1/2 up front!

    When I was working offline about 12 years ago I did gift baskets for Hallmark website at Christmas time. I worked through a man who had gotten the deal with Hallmark and then used me for fulfillment. His check was in the mail too. The season was only 5 weeks as a test for Hallmark that year. When all was said and done the man's checks bounced and I was out $13,000.00 in product and UPS fees.

    I wasn't the only one he was working with that season who got stiffed. I had him checked out before doing business and he was clean. Took him to court and won - and then he disappeared. Still can't find him and the statute of limitations has run out.

    The check is NOT in the mail. You are the expert. I should have stopped mailing baskets and taking orders completely when I wasn't paid - he had some very good stories about why things happened - live and learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Originally Posted by Honest Tune View Post

    Not sure if this is the right forum, but Warriors who do IM services....
    I started working with the guy in November, and have yet to see my first payment. I know he's good for it because a mutual contact referred me. The first check was "lost in the mail" by the person who handles his payments; that was two weeks ago.
    I have just started out on my own, he knows that, and it's beginning to sour my view of him as a client (and as a person).
    Any suggestions for how to handle this without the whole thing going south?

    Thanks
    Don't set on your hands on this. Pick up the phone, use Skype, or any other way you can get hold of this guy stiffing you. That is what he is doing and you need to be paid.

    You cannot afford to let him rest on his laurels about your payment.

    As far as the whole thing going south so be it if you don't get payment. Let him know because of the problem you can no longer work with him/her without payment up front.

    Contact the person who referred him to you and let them know what is going on. Don't blame them but ask if they can fill you in on why he has reneged on his payment. In other words put the pressure on your client.

    Ken


    The Old Geezer
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  • Profile picture of the author GeorgR.
    I hope it works out for you and you will still be seeing money, but I have a gut-feeling you won't.

    For larger projects, I myself am taking 50% and for smaller stuff & new clients payment ALWAYS in advance. The only exception are trusted, long-time clients where I know they pay, those get invoiced. Why, on Earth, would you work 2 or 3 months for free?
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    • Profile picture of the author Honest Tune
      Okay, check came in the mail today.
      However, I'm changing my contract and my payment policy.
      Thanks all for your input and advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    Thanks for letting us know. By the way did you call him or send another e-Mail for payment.

    Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi HT:
    I am afraid that I got some bad news for you. People do not like to pay you. Fact is, I have to stay on em. They got like one million excuses. I do not believe in checks or mo, but I do use pay pal a lot to get people to send me money. Always they come with more reasons. Yeah, to not pay me. Sometimes a partial payment is better than none. Read the news. They say everything is fine and we are in a recovery. That is not so. Fact is, our recession is on going. Best thing is to ask for some money up front as in 1/2 as the other half you will probably never see.
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    • Profile picture of the author Haroon Ballim
      Didn't think that people still use cheques . But tell your client to forget the cheque and go electronic.

      Maybe you should think about sending a Paypal invoice .
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  • Profile picture of the author napoleonfirst
    I think that an option is to invite him or her for a coffee. Then you will ask him/her lots of questions to find out the truth. Then make him an offer he/she cannot refuse.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I always get full payment BEFORE I even start working with a new client.
    Once I have built up a relationship, it may change but I believe if a client can't pay me up front, then it is not worth my while to do their work.
    Occasionally they have said they can't pay til a certain date. IF it suits me, I may do the work but I never give it to them until I get their money.
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