Client Problems : "we dont what to pay yet"

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by tomoisyourgod, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. macrumors regular

    May 3, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    I've done a rather extensive website for a client within the real estate industry. It consists of lots of work on my part, they paid the 10% upfront.

    A contract was signed, by Friday 9th November it was completed by. Of which it was. They have said they are paying me from other money they are getting from a development sale, and it could be around 2 weeks - I don't have "around 2 weeks" I need the money now.

    As a result of a signed contract, what is my best plan of action?
  2. macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    So you've finished the job less than a week ago and your already looking for your money? I'd say hold off and wait the 2 weeks. Most companies pay their bills monthly. I'd be happy to get any money in less than a month. I only get worried until after 2 months has passed depending on the client.

    If you are hosting the site you are in a very good position — if they don't eventually pay the site comes down.
  3. macrumors 601


    Sep 5, 2005
    Unless your contract specified a "pay within" date, the best is to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait.
  4. macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    What did the original contract stipulate with regards to the payment date?

    I would suggest that you try and accommodate their request, and be understanding and wait the 2 weeks.

    I would however advise you to make an addendum to the original contract, agreeing to the slight delay in payment, but explicitly naming a date that payment must then be made in full, otherwise you reserve the right to invoke the late payment clause in the contract. Then ensure that both yourself and the client sign and date this addendum, and that both of you keep original copies of the revised contract.

    2 weeks isn't an especially long time to wait for payment (I for example request that payment be made within 28 days of sign off or the 28th of the month, whichever is longest.), though I appreciate if it was specified in the original contract that payment should be made on completion then it is somewhat inconvenient for you for them to then request a delay in making payment.

    Your options are of course somewhat limited because the period of 2 weeks isn't an especially substantial one, meaning that if you wrote to them requesting/demanding immediate payment, you'd still have to allow a period of 7 days for payment to be made after the date of receipt of the letter, this obviously does not include the 2-3 days it'll take to deliver your letter, or the 2-3 days it'll take for theirs to be delivered, nor the 3-5 business days a cheque would take to clear, which would almost certainly exceed the original 2 week timeframe that your client has offered to make payment in anyway.

    Alternatively you could instruct your solicitor to write a formal letter to them requesting immediate payment, but again that is unlikely to provoke a response not to mention payment within those 2 weeks as offered by your client.

    And in both the cases above, you'll do nothing other than likely lose them as a future client (and potential referrals that client may provide in the future) and potentially damage your reputation.

    However, I do get the impression that you're a freelancer, in which case, I cannot stress the importance of implementing a robust structure for maintaining cash flow to assist you in situations such as these.

    Hope that helps you a little.

  5. macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    Well industry standard or norm (at least in Toronto, Canada) is to receive payment usually around 21-28 days after the project is complete. I would try to hold tight.

    You could try asking for 50/50 going forward instead of 10/90?
  6. macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    I normally give 30 day (normally just stick a round month) pay by date. Although I would ensure I get some upfront payment on large jobs for new clients, I also have a clause for late payments :D
  7. macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    This is exactly the case. At least you had a contract, next time you need to specify when you want payment and only giving 1 week is absurd. Any real business will find you aggressive.
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 3, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    Thanks for your responses, but just to clear up.

    The contract was signed on 24th October with date agreed upon completion payment to be made 9th November.
  9. macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Then maybe you might wish to draw their attention to the late payment clause in the contract. ;)

    There's really little that you can do because of the relatively short period of time before they're offering to pay you, meaning that any action you're realistically able to take, is likely to exceed that 2 week period anyway.
  10. Guest

    Mar 6, 2007
    Your best course of action is to talk to the owner and focus on the business agreement, not the contract. Threatening action based on your contract is a useful tool, but should be one of last resort, especially if you want to preserve the relationship (future business, reference, etc.). It can also be an expensive process, and it is certainly not an expeditious path to getting paid.

    I would emphasize that the agreement was for a payment on such-and-such date, that it is materially impacting your ability to conduct business, that they agreed to pay that much on that date, and that you need them to pay now.

    If they can't, then you should enforce your late payment term and ask them to confirm in writing when they will pay you.

    From there you should consider your legal options.

    You may need to be more realistic about how fast businesses can turn around payment. For example, large companies routinely demand 45 days from invoice date, but 30 can sometimes be negotiated. Asking for more payment upfront seems like a good idea in the future.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    We've all been there. It's a part of doing business. I don't know why you only asked for 10%, industry standard is 50%, but thats another story. Be happy they are paying.
  12. macrumors regular

    Sound advice from all, as far as I can see. I get the impression that you are really stressing on this, do you feel the client is stalling as a way of deferring payment indefinitely?

    If you have no reason to believe the client is dodgy I would have a FRIENDLY chat with the client, explain that you need the money urgently and *ask* if there is anything that can be done to speed up the process, perhaps a part payment to help out for the meantime.

    If you suspect the client is a dud and intends to rip you off, investigate and try to find out how he/she pays others, tradesmen, advertisers, etc. If you hear scary things I would move to enforce your contract sooner rather than later. The older the debt becomes, the less likely you will be paid.

    In any case, a polite attempt to confront the client and sort the issue should gain respect from your client and let him know that you will be *expecting* payment shortly. The squeaky wheel gets oiled first!

    Do not threaten or intimidate the client or his staff in any shape or form, it will almost always make matters worse. If you attempt to stand over or force the client to co-operate, I expect he would rather spend your money on a holiday in Spain than give you any satisfaction.

    Good Luck, we have all been there before, learning can be painful but the pain is part of the joy of freelancing.
  13. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 3, 2007
    Liverpool, UK
    hey guys, many, many thanks for your responses, input and advice on this matter.

    I had a meeting with the MD yesterday, all went well, I have in writing a sum will be made payable on Friday coming...

    I'll also be revising my contract structure
  14. macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    So true and also most companies pay within 14 to 21 days out of experience.

    I understand it's frustrating needing the money but you can use this as a valuable experience. I usually ask for 30% to 50% (depending on the project) upfront and payout of the residual upon completion of the project.

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