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    Arrow What do you do when a client will not pay?


    I have a client that just will not pay me. This has been going on for about 4 months now. He keeps on making excuses of why he hasn't paid me. He has paid the 50% deposit for the website, he is yet to pay the rest of the it. I have been contacting the Managers' assistant which deals with all this. I am going to contact the actual Manager because I am getting sick and tired hearing the excuses. I just don't understand why he has paid the deposit and not the rest. I would love to hear from anyone, that has had the same or similar problem. Could you please tell me what I can do from here? I am going to ring the Manager soon, and I would like to know what to say and do as a backup plan. The client is local.
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    Couple questions:
    1) Was there a contract in place prior to taking on this contract? Are there any stipulations in it regarding payment (non-payment)?

    2) After the work was completed, have you sent an invoice to them for final payment? If so, was there a due date listed on the invoice? If not, send an official invoice with a due date.

    3) Are you hosting their site as well? You can take down the site (or at least threaten to) if they don't pay as well, provided you're hosting it and you have a contract.

    Maybe include something on the invoice that after the due date, you'll start charging interest.

    4 months is awhile for them not to have paid.... You can threaten legal action and such as well, although in my experience, it's best to try the friendly approach first.... invoice with a due date.

    Now what sort of excuses is he making? (I'm just curious to hear some..)
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    Thank you for your reply, hiker.

    Yes there was a contract in place which was signed by the assistant. In the contract I have typed: Payments must be made within ten days of an invoice. If the client does not pay on time (my name here) has the right to remove the website from the Internet. In another section of the contract I have typed: Cancellation: Upon signing this contract, the project requested will be non-cancelable. In the event that work is postponed, delayed or rescheduled, (my name here) shall have the right to bill for work completed.

    After the work was completed I did sent them an invoice, unfortunately there wasn't a due date on it.

    Yes I threatened the assistant to take the site down and have done so.

    The excuses they are making are: Have been away, have to talk to the Administration Manager, have to talk to the Manager first and he will ring you.
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    Originally Posted by cturner
    Thank you for your reply, hiker.

    Yes there was a contract in place which was signed by the assistant. In the contract I have typed: Payments must be made within ten days of an invoice. If the client does not pay on time (my name here) has the right to remove the website from the Internet. In another section of the contract I have typed: Cancellation: Upon signing this contract, the project requested will be non-cancelable. In the event that work is postponed, delayed or rescheduled, (my name here) shall have the right to bill for work completed.

    After the work was completed I did sent them an invoice, unfortunately there wasn't a due date on it.

    Yes I threatened the assistant to take the site down and have done so.

    The excuses they are making are: Have been away, have to talk to the Administration Manager, have to talk to the Manager first and he will ring you.
    Looks like you're covered then. I'd say take the site down, and wait for payment... Possibly with interest...

    As for no due date on the invoice, it's not that big of a deal, since it's in the contract that payment was to be due within 10 days.

    If they think you're a pushover, they'll keep pushing as far as they can go... So now you need to force their hand here. Take the site down, call them up and let them know the site is down and will be back up when payment is made in full.
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    Thanks hiker, you have a great help. I will let you know how I go.
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    Originally Posted by cturner
    Thanks hiker, you have a great help. I will let you know how I go.
    No problem, although, if you already haven't done so, may be worth the time to discuss with a lawyer. I have taken sites down for clients that don't pay as agreed, and I end up getting payment which is why that's what I would suggest. I had my contracts drafted by lawyers, so I know they're pretty much solid.

    If your contract was drafted by a lawyer, then proceed to take the site down. If not, check with the lawyer to make sure the entire contract is solid.

    (I'm not a lawyer, and laws vary from state to state.)
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    The problem I see is that you have taken down the site but they don't care (keep delay payment). It actually shows me that they really don't care about the site...
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    What we do, is if bill is not paid on time, send a reminder (costs 5 + 11 % interest pa). Then another. Then we'll call once. If bill is not paid, we give it to collection agency. If deal is on paper, you will get your money with interest. If liquidity is low, the interest does not really comfort, but you will get your money anyway.
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    They must care about the site. After all they have paid the initial 50%. If they just let go, the will have lost their money and have nothing in the end.
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    Where I work we require full up-front payment for any work under a couple thousand dollars - anything over that is worth taking them to court on.
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    I had a client refuse to pay me. I waited for them to go to a conference and then I replaced their website with "down due to nonpayment of bills" and a google ad block with ads for their keywords (excluding their own site, so it was all competitors). I got a cashier's check the next morning by courier.

    You could also sue in small claims court, which would reimburse you for court costs as well. If it's a large amount of money, you can also sell their debt to a collections agency if you want to give them hell.

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    Originally Posted by ManiacDan
    I had a client refuse to pay me. I waited for them to go to a conference and then I replaced their website with "down due to nonpayment of bills" and a google ad block with ads for their keywords (excluding their own site, so it was all competitors). I got a cashier's check the next morning by courier.

    You could also sue in small claims court, which would reimburse you for court costs as well. If it's a large amount of money, you can also sell their debt to a collections agency if you want to give them hell.

    -Dan

    Now that's funny
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    Hey hiker, congratulations on being a mod. i thought something was screwed up when I saw your name in red,, then realized you are a mod. Congratulations man!

    [ontopic]
    What I do is I make them pay a 1/3 of the total bill up front. Then I reward them with more of the site for each payment they make. If in the end they don't pay a bill, then I simply take the site down until the payment is made.

    I agree with hiker, go talk to a lawyer.

    [edit]Typo[/edit]
    Last edited by Skipt; May 29th, 2009 at 09:28 AM.
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    Get real. Assuming that the client cares since they paid 50% and that you have some leverage since you have taken the site down is wishful thinking. You might be out-of-luck. What do you know about the client?

    - Are they like a few companies in the US, say GM & Lehman and many thousands more, that just don't have the money that they use to?

    The odds are that, like most businesses in the US, they have been in cash conserve and retrenchment mode for awhile. If this project is one that they don't care about it, you could have no leverage and no real hope of ever getting paid. Or maybe, a little leverage will work.

    My advice:
    1. Understand your contract. Read the fine print about what happens if payment is not made. Maybe the code is yours? Does it have any value to you?

    2. Get to know your client. Go over there and talk to a person in accounting or technology or anybody. Ask about what's going on in general. I've had situations where the entire dept that I had been doing business with was laid off and there was no chance at all of me ever getting paid; the legal effort would not have been worth it since they basically had no $$$s

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    • Skipt disagrees : Fail
    Last edited by johnedelson; June 7th, 2009 at 06:58 PM.
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    Are you serious? Do you realize what your saying? Lets say a project costs 2,000 dollars. If you make them pay 50% up front BEFORE they even get any work from you, that immediately will interest them in your project. If by the end you are ready to collect the other 50% (1,000 dollars) from them and they refuse to pay, YOU TAKE DOWN THE SITE.. Honestly, as long as you have a contract which states they are to pay you another 1,000 dollars, there is NOTHING they can do to stop you from doing this action until payment is made. You think they don't care? Sure, they just wanted to give the coder one thousand dollars for the hell of it. No leverage? Get real.

    Comments on this post

    • ManiacDan agrees : Win.
    "Quality of responses may vary. I reserve the right to change my mind for any reason what-so-ever without admitting I was wrong. I'd prefer to change your mind however, it's easier on my ego". - jwdonahue

    "so no-one has actually bothered to post an original quote ? what's wrong with making up your own?"
    - marnixR
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