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Owed money - self employed

(24 Posts)
lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 14:10:30

Posting for traffic!

Long story short I'm a freelancer. I spoke to my main client at the end of the financial year asking if I would need a new purchase order number for the new financial year.

I was assured not and to put in my invoices with the allocated po number given

I've, since then, put in 20 invoices with 30 day terms for works carried out.

About two weeks ago my contact apologised and asked me to reissue all my invoices with a new po number because of the new financial year.

I have done so but have left the original dates on the invoices because they were put in in good faith at this time.

I've been told they're all signed off and processed but I've not had any indication I'm going to be paid.

I've since paid my national insurance bill, my tax bill, bought dc a new car seat, paid off a number of invoices etc all because I was under the assumption that I would have received remittance by now.

I am now nearly 2 months without any payment and at least 6 of the invoices are beyond my normal "terms".

AIBU to think that they should have stuck to the original payment terms even though I was misinformed about the PO.

I've emailed finance asking about timescales but am not hopeful I'll get a response today.

Any ideas of what else I can do? They will definitely pay though, no concerns with that. It's just when?

MrsLupo Fri 19-May-17 14:59:13

How old is your DC? I'd be tempted to turn up in person at the premises of the client and park yourself in reception until the accounts department sort this out for you. You could have a little picnic - preferably with a few juice spillages - change a nappy or two, let your DC run around exploring a bit....

More mundanely, you could quote late payment of commercial debts legislation at them, or ultimately take them to the small claims court. Depends how much you value your client. I do know someone who tried my first suggestion, though, to electrifyingly rapid effect.

Are you confident that they're good for the money? Or do you think they're playing for time and the administrators are on their way? If the former, I have to say I think this level of slow payment - and worse - is becoming the norm. Build some flexibility into your cashflow, broaden your client base and take your grievances to your MP. But if the latter, I would go for the nuclear option without delay.

AlexanderHamilton Fri 19-May-17 15:04:45

You need to send a lette before action & add inteRest & late payment charges under the Late Payment of commercial Debts (interest) Act 1988

lipstickedgodess Fri 19-May-17 15:05:43

Haha @MrsLupo I'd love to do this but it's a government department grin they're definitely good for it, just a bit ...faffy. It's hard to explain to the nice (though faceless) person in finance that I'm scraping my barrel at the moment.

I think they should pay me next week but it's just so stressful trying to second guess it.

My dh can't get his head round the whole self employment/chasing payment thing and keeps telling me to "ring and shout at them" hmm

DoJo Fri 19-May-17 16:07:28

Can you not ring and at least as which payment run they will be in? They must have a process for paying invoices so they should be able to give you a payment date, but a polite email will easily be overlooked in a way that a phone call may not.

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 16:11:00

Scuze the NC spelling error as obviously a sensitive subject with business.

Definitely think I'll give them a call on Monday. I've only ever really communicated with them via email before so that was my "go to", but yes I think an email could get overlooked very easily!

Frouby Fri 19-May-17 16:12:06

Ring and ask them to make a payment asap. They can do this, any business can. Explain what you have said in here, that you have financial commitments and need paying for the work that was done 2 months ago.

It is always best to A. Speak to someone and B. To ask nicely if they can do what you want them to do. Most people want to help other nice people so you are likely to get a better response just ringing, being nice but also persistant.

Oblomov17 Fri 19-May-17 16:18:30

I do credit control every day. Ring your contact again. Don't shout. Ask who to speak to in the accounts payable section. Get a name and ring. Do it today. Now. Or actually don't bother with your contact. Just ring accounts payable. Note down the name of the person you speak to. Don't threaten at this stage. Government edits are very disorganised often, but you need to regularly phone and pressurise. Then ring again on Monday.

loveyouradvice Fri 19-May-17 16:46:40

I've been there... totally echo advice above ... chat to someone in person - build a relationship - so they WANT to pay you earlier than would have done otherwise... I've often done this - accounts departments are notoriously slow and systems orientated - you only emerge from their systems by becoming a person rather than an invoice...so don't suggest you make them wrong or get their backs up but just explain that normally you would have been paid now - ask what they can do about it etc....Keep it light, and say you need the money to pay for bills for the family etc! Good luck!

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 16:50:30

Thanks everybody! They've done a faster payments for me before when I got left off a payment run before but they contacted me about that and I insisted.

I think the accounts lady I was speaking to has changed and I know there are a few department changes too.

Will try and give them a quick bell but definitely will on Monday. Thanks again! I'd normally feel like it was my fault for not budgeting properly but I've finished a lot of my other contracts off to have another baby and I'm keeping this one going using my KIT days so I'm trying not to rock the boat too much as it's a a good contract and also something I really love doing smile

shoofly Fri 19-May-17 16:51:57

Definitely phone, speak to a person. Become a person to someone who can help. Be polite, friendly but firm. Explain that you would normally have been paid by now and that as a small independent worker it's concerning you. I have previously asked when is the earliest they can ensure it's in a payment run? & have explained that I'm happy to call and collect a cheque, although it's probably done by BACS now...

wasonthelist Fri 19-May-17 16:54:03

Can you stop working (or warn them you will)? When I was self employed this used to focus minds a bit - whoever was heading up the project would be annoyed that progress was being threatened and would go and see the accounts folks.

wasonthelist Fri 19-May-17 16:55:01

You don't have KIT days if you are a freelancer.

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 16:57:08

@wasonthelist Yes I am. I'm allowed up to 10 days work to maintain my business and contracts without forfeiting any of my maternity allowance. I have to ring up and inform the job centre when I've worked a day. I've arranged a schedule with my contact as well and it's all been agreed.

wasonthelist Fri 19-May-17 16:59:00

Who are you employed by OP? I thought you meant you were self-employed if you were a freelancer.

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 16:59:29

Yes I'm self employed. This is from
Maternity in Action.

wasonthelist Fri 19-May-17 17:00:56

Sorry - stand corrected I see you are getting Maternity allowance not SMP.

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 17:01:07

I had a horrendous employer when I had dc1 so I've planned very very carefully this time and worked everything out as best as possible. smile

MacarenaFerreiro Fri 19-May-17 17:02:04

You are allowed up to 10 KIT days as a freelancer on Maternity Allowance.

OP I feel your pain, I am freelance too and hate the chasing for invoices bit. If it's a large organisation agree that you need to bypass your contact and go direct to accounts payable - your contact will have signed off the invoice and passed to them for payment. All your contact can do is push them on your behalf. Very frustrating.

I have been burned in the past with non-paying and awkward clients and now try to spread work over a number of people rather than relying on one or two for the bulk of my income. Far less stressful.

MacarenaFerreiro Fri 19-May-17 17:06:52

You need to send a lette before action & add inteRest & late payment charges under the Late Payment of commercial Debts (interest) Act 1988

Also meant to add that this is REALLY bad idea. Yes you might get paid, but you'll piss the client off so much you'll never work for them again.

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 17:06:57

Thanks @MacarenaFerreiro grin

Thankfully I know my contact very well so I can send them a text and literally say "WTF?!" But they've pushed as far as they can now and they're away on business for the next few weeks.

So it's down to me to chase which is fair enough. I wouldn't be surprised if my contact has forgotten to pass them on though, they are a bit skatty at times! shock

I think the change over of financial year is probably a lot to blame as well. I am looking forward to being able to get back into work and do some major business development so I can spread it out a but but the baby has to come first as you can imagine grin

Having said that I'd much rather this type of stress than be an employee again!! grin

Thanks everybody you've made me feel a lot less stressed now!

lipstickedgoddess Fri 19-May-17 17:07:40

@MacarenaFerreiro the amount of accrued interest at this point is a grand total of £1.43 so def not worth it!

AlexanderHamilton Fri 19-May-17 17:47:49

I've done it lots with govt departments, schools, hospitals etc etc. The accounts dept are often fairly removed from a contractors contact.

However I work in accounts so I do it on behalf of our engineers. We've always continued to get work from these people even when I threaten legal action.

MrsLupo Fri 19-May-17 19:56:21

Just to add that if your client is in the public sector, you may be affected by IR35, which came into effect at the start of the new fiscal year. The delay may indicate that your terms are being reconsidered with a view to putting you on PAYE. You may want to check this, as it would add insult to injury to find that when the money finally arrives it's less than you expected. Speaking from bitter experience, lot of contractors have been affected who had no reason to imagine they would get pulled under the umbrella of the new legislation.

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