2 responses to “Dear WordCount: How can I collect an overdue payment for a story?”

  1. Daphne Gray-Grant

    I’ve faced this situation in the past, too. My advice is don’t wait for re-billing to inform your clients about your late fee. Put your “terms” on the initial invoice. As soon as I started doing this I noticed clients paid me a lot faster.

  2. Jason

    I stumbled across this article on twitter. I’ve helped, and continue to help, many freelancers (writers in particular) recover past due payments and strenghten their future invoices.

    The main problems are..

    1.) Poor processes by the freelancers, up front, which is easily fixable.

    2.) The fact that once a payment goes late, a client starts ignoring you, or tells you they won’t pay because of X reason, you then have no recourse because of number 1 (above).

    3.) The amounts aren’t large enough to warrant the fees and costs for even small claims court, let alone to hire a lawyer. Plus, due to weak or no signed terms etc (#1 above) you have virtually no recourse regardless. Even on large balances with a contract, attempting a pre-legal resolution through a no fee if no recovery option, is a wise and cost effective first step.

    The solution

    1.) Do the few simple things up front, and during, your dealings with clients to ensure minimal losses should things go south.

    2.) When the occasional non payer does pop up (and they will regardless of what you do), and gets to a certain level of delinquency; turn it over to a professional like my company. Know when to say when, and let us take the time, and use our expertise, to maximize your recovery. If it’s unsuccessful you pay nothing and we’ll advise you of any further recourse you have, from experience.

    I personally designed several specialized service for freelancers and enjoy helping the underdogs. We’re Cambridge Receivable Solutions. Read my blog there, and select the category “Freelancers” to see related, helpful, articles. I personally welcome any and all inquiries from freelancers.

    Best of luck everyone!