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Please advise: non-paying client - retainer

(11 Posts)
GrumpyOldBag Mon 31-Oct-16 18:27:10

I'm a freelance consultant in a very specialised area with a very good reputation in my niche. I signed up a new client a few months ago on a 2-day a month retainer.

It has been hard for me to do any productive work for him as he doesn't respond to my emails with ideas/asking for feedback; and when we have started to make progress with something suddenly the goalposts move & it has to be put on hold. When we do speak though it's all very amicable, I just think he's very busy & abroad a lot.

I invoice on a monthly basis and so far none of my first 3 invoices have been paid. I have chased up with his accounts department and was assured by the finance guy that I would be paid as soon as it was signed by a Director, within a week. That was a week ago. Still nothing.

I decided a couple of weeks ago not to expend much more time on this new client until I was paid, so have done hardly any work for him this month. I should be sending out a new invoice tomorrow.

I want to be paid for what I've done/we've agreed but think I should suggest we move to a project only way of working, and forget this month's invoice as I've hardly done any work anyway.

Anyone else got any useful advice or suggestions?


MrsPepperpotAgain Tue 01-Nov-16 21:01:33

Your client sounds like a bit of a nightmare. I think I'd be walking away, tbh. But if you do want to keep it going then I think your idea of moving to project-based arrangement is a good one - but your outstanding invoices need to be paid first and do no more work until they have. I'd also be tempted to invoice as usual this month - it's not your fault he's not got back to you in time. You might well have turned down other work in anticipation that the agreed work would be there.

GrumpyOldBag Thu 10-Nov-16 15:49:39

Bloody hell. They've gone silent on me. Not responding to emails or phone calls chasing payment.

What do I do now? Twitter, or lawyer? If Twitter my other clients will see & might think I'm a trouble-maker. But he owes me £2,400 FFS!!

In 3 years of running my business this has never happened before.

MrsPepperpotAgain Thu 10-Nov-16 16:19:41

Can you physically go to the place of work? If so, I'd do that and not leave until sorted. Are you a member of a union? Mine will write on members' behalf and threaten legal action. That's worked when I had a non-payer.
I'd explore other options before a lawyer, though only because it will cost you more money.

museumum Thu 10-Nov-16 16:25:06

Don't do twitter! you're not a customer, it's unprofessional. You need to move towards small claims court. Write to them saying you will be doing that. You can do it all yourself. Google the procedure, you don't need a lawyer.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 13-Nov-16 09:02:31

Small claims court, a business I worked with never paid anyone who didn't threaten scc.

It's not difficult to do the forms & you can fill them in and send them notice you are filing a case against them with a final demand for payment.

GrumpyOldBag Mon 14-Nov-16 17:33:24

Thanks for all the advice. So finally the finance person has told me payment is approved and I will have the money tonight/tomorrow.

And within 30 minutes of that email, my client contact has emailed and wants a load of stuff doing.

Could be just a coincidence I guess ....

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 14-Nov-16 17:41:09

No such thing as coincidence.

CrikeyPeg Mon 14-Nov-16 21:21:07

Yeah, that's not a coincidence.

First off, I'd not be doing any work until the $$$ showed in bank account.

Then I'd decided if I actually wanted their work. Sounds like a lot of headache and hassle for two days a month. If not, wait until the $$$ comes through and terminate the contract. If you do want the work, a project-based arrangement might be the best idea but that does mean that you'll not get paid until the end and if they've then not got any need for you there's no incentive to pay you.

Whenever I do a quote or take on new clients, I always advise them in writing that late or non payment may result in collection fees being added to outstanding $$$ so if I ever have to chase payment it will cost them and not me. Not sure what the rules/laws are around that in your country though.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 14-Nov-16 21:42:05

They do sound more trouble than their worth. Can you change your terms so they pay in advance?.

FetchezLaVache Mon 14-Nov-16 21:55:27

Well, if they now need you, this puts you into a very strong position.

If the money's not in your account first thing, ring them and tell them that you're doing jack shit until it is (you might want to word it slightly more diplomatically, of course).

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