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Coping tactfully with late payees

Kali 12 75
26 Feb 2006 11:26AM
I have recently done two jobs (portrait sittings) for friends of friends who have been, ahem, a little tardy shall we say in coughing up. Im owed over 200 quid in all, a fair bit for a struggling student.

Ive already dropped an enquiring em ail to them both, one said they will pay up 'when they get paid next' and there has been no answer from the other.Its been six weeks since I did the work in one case, seven in the other.

Im probably unwise to do work on such a casual basis,perhaps they feel it isnt important to pay me on time as im still a student. Its hard to be more forceful as these people are known to me through family in one case, and an old boss in another.

Any suggestions for tactful ways of dealing with the situation?

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TimJ 13 482 2 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2006 12:22PM
Doing casual work for friends / friends of friends can be difficult. A good way to avoid these problems in the future is too take payment in advance.

If you've agreed with one of them to wait until they next get paid then do just that. Phone the one that didn't reply to your e-mail and ask if they got your e-mail and take it from there.

I know you probably don't want to bug these people as they are known to you, but at the end of the day they haven't paid you for your work and so haven't exactly shown you much consideration.

Hope it works out ok.
Jay44 11 1.4k Wales
26 Feb 2006 12:41PM
Basically..... everything is a learning curve.

been there, done that... owed hundreds! :/

But never again! Smile
Goatsmilkuk 12 783
27 Feb 2006 1:00AM
They owe YOU the money not the other way around, they should be the ones feeling awkward not you, I know you don't want to upset anyone, but I would go around and knock the door and ask them for the money.
If they don't pay up then take the photo's back.
I know in reality it's not that simple but in the end just don't put up with excuses, besides does it matter if you upset them? They don't seem bothered about upsetting you.

User_Removed 12 279
27 Feb 2006 1:51AM
Whoaa! These are friends and friends of friends - I don't think threatening the bailiffs/CCJ/debt collection is the solution here!

Put it down to experience - but next time, get the payment at the time of hand-over of the product. If you've stumped up costs up-front (framing etc) then you'll have a reason to be more insistant. You wouldn't get to walk out clutching your new iPod from Dixons without paying for it. Treat your customers (friends included) the same way when selling your own products - either that, or don't do business with friends and family - sometimes it really does spoil a beautiful relationship!
BigCol 16 1.8k 1 Scotland
27 Feb 2006 3:34AM
I know this is a lot like bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted but now is probably a good time to put a few operational steps into your set-up.

The Sitting: Payment for the sitting is payable at the time of the sitting. No payment, no sitting.

The Prints: Payment for the prints should be made before delivery of the finished items. Either in two stages or all in one shot. Either full payment with the order or a deposit with the order and then final payment on delivery of the prints. Again no payment, no prints.

This may sound harsh but then so is not getting paid for doing the job! Even if they are friends of friends.

roseyn 13 74 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2006 3:57AM
I know it is a bit late but I always give an invoice straight away with "payment strictly 30 days" on it. By law invoices must be settled by then. Maybe send them a copy/reminder invoice with the original sitting date on it and if they complain explain that this must be done for any good business whoever the customer is, then blame the taxman! (sorry any tax people out there but it was was an inland revenue person suggested I did that)! My friend who has been doing portraits for 30 years alway does as the others suggested and asks for a deposit or full payment beforehand.
TimJ 13 482 2 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2006 4:12AM
If in future for some reason you can't get full payment upfront, get a deposit that covers your costs, then you're not out of pocket. Don't forget to include the cost of your time!

Some people find that offering a discount for immediate payment of the full amount works for them, thats up to you.

Like others have already said, it's a learning curve.
peterjones 15 4.6k 1 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2006 6:40AM
I charge an upfront sitting fee whether they are friends or not; if they are genuine friends they won't mind; when people order prints again I take the 's upfront.

I might lose one or two sittings with this course of action but at least I am not out of pocket and am profitable.

Rgds. Peter.
ellis rowell 13 2.0k United Kingdom
27 Feb 2006 7:20AM
I used to be in the decorating trade which is one that is prone to bad debts. I made a practice of working out the estimate, adding 11%, then presenting the bill with a 10% discount for payment in 14 days. I also used the estimate as a fixed price unless additional work was necessary which I could not have foreseen. I also gave 10% discount to pensioners and 10% for interior work for the winter months. The latter made sure I was doing interior work when it was cold and wet.

Maybe today it should be 34% added and 25% discount as people expect higher discounts these days.
Kali 12 75
27 Feb 2006 9:56AM
I called them both up today - and boy in one case it was awkward! he was like yeah and how is so and so, this, that, the other... Then I asked if he got my e mail and he said oy yeah...i didnt think you were in a hurry for the money? (i dont remember giving this impression!) and he said he was broke and could he pay me in instalments! he owes 150 quid. I said I wasnt really happy about that but if it was the only way he could manage then OK.... I put the phone down with the feeling I hadnt dealt with it well.But ,Hey, I'll chalk it up to experience. The other was OK, and will pay me when he is paid. I guess I learned something anyhow. Thanks guys x
Photo4x4 13 470 United Kingdom
4 Mar 2006 11:11AM

Quote:The other was OK, and will pay me when he is paid

Problem NOT solved though. Neither has actually paid you have they? Of course the one chap was 'okay' with you, but he still didn't come up with the money. You are still owed 350.00.

My philosphy on this is 'Don't do business with friends, but you can become freinds with people you do business with'.

Years ago when I was running a motorcycle courier business I was speaking to my business mentor about getting the bills paid on time. I told him that I did not want to hassle the customers as I did not want to risk loosing their business.

"What business?" he said, " you haven't done business with them - you have simply given them YOUR money..." He pointed out to me that customers like that cost more than NO customers.

Kali, you should hassle THEM and insist on payment right now. THEY are the ones who should be embarrased, not you.

Best of luck.

Keith Hart
dynexclick 12 19 1 United Kingdom
5 Mar 2006 3:06PM
I do work for my friends in kind, they just pay for materials. But its never been big jobs like a wedding.

I've done work promoting my mates karate club, even designed the graphics for his badgers all for free. But he's always there to return a favour.

Just charge people you hardly know.

You are entitled to ask for up to 50% of the invoice upfront to cover the initial costs and committe the customer to a contract.

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