When you work from home and rely on clients paying you for work you've done, it really bites hard when they forget to pay!
So what do you do when you're faced with a client who won't pay on time?
Although I've only been faced with two clients in the past who haven't paid, I'm currently faced with my third client who is currently 3 weeks overdue with a rather decent sum of money.
I'm grateful I have more than one client with payments on the way in - so technically the loss of that one account isn't going to hurt me financially - but it's the principle that counts. (this is where having multiple income streams really helps!)
You see, this client owes me payment for twenty-two articles (yes, that's right ... 22 articles). Nice order huh? I thought so at the time too. Considering they paid for the previous 20 I wrote for them on time I felt quite confident in researching, writing and submitting this set of articles too.
After a week with no payment I figured I'd email them and remind them of my outstanding invoice. They responded saying they'd be a couple more days as they'd had problems with payment systems at their end.
When payment had reached two weeks overdue, I sent another polite email to the client requesting payment. This time there was no response at all.
Thinking maybe my email had gotten lost in cyber-space, I emailed again the next day. Again there was no response.
Getting a little worried, I jumped onto the client's forum and found several writers complaining of non-payment. More than worried, I did a Google search and found several other complaints of the same thing.
Before I was a freelance writer I was a banker. While I was working there I learned that banks are a business - just as a freelance writer is a business. A bank will happily charge a default penalty fee to clients for any overdue accounts - just as I do with my infrequent late-paying freelance clients!
I've now emailed my invoice to the clients again, along with a friendly reminder that the account is still outstanding and I've added a late penalty fee to the total they owe me. I've also added a gentle hint that the account will be sent to a collection agency if funds are not forthcoming within 5 working days.
Personally, I think the client is gone - with my articles! - but you can't blame me for trying.
From now on, before accepting any more assignments from clients I'll be sure to dig around on Google for any information at all!