Client not paying invoice - what's the next step?(9 Posts)
I've been self-employed for two years and just recently took on a new client 6 months ago. At the outset I told them my rates and they had no qualms. But, after the first or second invoice, the client began making noise about the cost. I am both a content writer and social media manager and frankly, what I charge clients is below the amount I should charge them (but that is an issue for another day).
So, given this mild complaint, we agreed on less hours spent on a specific project. Having followed through on this and had a very positive last meeting with them, they went very quiet after my latest invoice. I chased them now that the invoice is 2 weeks overdue and they said they would pay it in the next 3 days. They also stated that they could no longer continue with my services because I was too expensive .
It is now day 4 and I have received no payment. So, what next? A phone call? Their office is a five minute walk around the corner from my house - I bet they would be mortified if I came in asking about money when customers were around!
Small claims court of it gets 'serious' but there is a government 'paper' on best payment practices for small businesses, not sure of proper title, sorry.
Personal appearance and 'shaming' is probably not appropriate and could easily backfire as 'harassment' or something.
A calm letter restating your terms and a request for payment while you research other tactics.
Thanks. I am unsure whether it is best to contact them by phone (as surely this will get embarrassing and annoying after a while?) or to stick to emails/letters. I know the latter leaves a paper trail but at the same time they seem easier to ignore?
In the client's last email to me they gave me 'feedback': stating that they thought the time I took to do a piece of work did not add up. To give you an example, they complained about the time taken on a blog piece (researched, written, uploaded and published to their website) which was no more than 2 hours (how long did they expect it to take? do writers not deserve to be paid for a 'fantastic' piece of work as they described it?). I have completed no more than the number of hours agreed on from the start. And in the time they took to deliver this 'feedback', they could have been paying my invoice.
Thomas Higgins letter before action. Will cost you a minimal amount and almost certainly get them to pay. Am on my phone so can't link, but if you google you should find them
Ah, thank you Ihopeyouhadthetimeof
1) Sending ONE more follow up email formally requesting that they pay.
2) Don't bother contacting them again and use the Thomas Higgins route?
I don't like having to take the route where things turn hostile but now I haven't been paid and now my time is being spent chasing them.
What have you got to lose by being hostile though - you've already said you won't work for them again.
Hostile is bad, firm but fair is necessary. Word gets around very easily and you could get 'negative publicity' in what may be quite a small 'industry'.
In future, once you've agreed on a daily/hourly/weekly (whatever) amount, you agree the whole amount for the project, and then you bill 50% on commission.
You agree your terms, and then after that you pursue your money like a Rottweiler. Email won't make any difference - you have to get on the phone. Don't accept excuses (and don't make it personal - this is business) and if they don't pay within your agreed terms, then you tell them you will be charging them interest on the amount (which you are entitled to do). If that doesn't work, then you tell them - on the phone - that you are going to take legal action.
Don't let people like this bully you.
And, I have to say, it doesn't sound like this is a client you want to work with again, so don't have any qualms about 'upsetting' them!
I would try and get what you can from them and then drop them asap. Anybody who isn't willing to pay for quality work and starts jiggling about timelines/doesn't know the effort that is required/thinks you're"hoodwinking" them is going to consistently be trouble ime.
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