I was on a retainer with a client for about 6 months, they were having cashflow problems & asked to put the retainer on hold from december.
They owe me 2 months' money, which they have promised they will pay me when a deal goes through. But they have just asked for more work for me now.
Gut feeling says I should not do any more work for them until I have been paid, even though i do think their intentions are good & they are not deliberately trying to rip me off. But it may damage the relationship.
The fact they’ve mentioned cashflow problems would make me wary.
When you say 2 months work owed - are you earning from other clients in that time or are currently focused on them alone? If I had other work ticking over that I was being paid for and trusted the company directors to pay then I might continue working for them.
As it stands I probably wouldn’t unless they made a payment towards the 2 months work they already owe you for. Presumably they are paying staff, PAYE, other suppliers so it’s not unreasonable to ask that they pay you too.
Tell them you can't until you're paid as you need to book in clients who are able to pay you promptly for now, to keep your own cash flow healthy. It's (just about) possible to say that and sound professional not snippy. But they do need to know you're not a soft touch.
In my twenties I worked for a client almost a year without pay. Fobbed off with a different excuse every single month. I adored the job and they were a massive organisation, so I knew they'd pay eventually. But by the time they paid I was so in debt half of it got eaten up. Never again.
I’d need a goodwill payment of at least 50% of money owing before I did any more work. Cash flow issues mean the squeaky wheel gets the grease - if you agree to he st the bottom of the heap, you will continue to be paid last or not at all.
It’s reasonable to point out your own cash flow needs, as PP says. Good intentions do not pay the food bill.
Yes, I have a couple of other clients on the go who always pay me on time.
I actually have a very healthy balance in the company so don't need the money right now - but they don't know that! It's more the principle of the thing. They haven't really apologised for the lack of payment and just seem to assume I'll be able to pick things up right away, travel 1.5 hours to a meeting next week, etc ...
The deal they need help on is an acquisition, so should solve the cashflow problems - but once they've been acquired I'm wondering if the new owner (an overseas company) will pay my bills & want to continue to work with me.
If you do work for them are you out of pocket for anything other than time and effort? Do you have equipment costs? Is there other work that you could be doing that you can't if you're doing their work or do you have more time than work?
If i wasn't risking a loss of anything other than time i would consider doing more work as long as they made some attempt to pay some of what they owed. If i were out of pocket for equipment then at the very least they would need to cover all out of pocket expenses before i even considered doing the work for them.