I find myself repeating the same things over and over and this post is no exception. Recently I was monitoring “In My Kit” Facebook message board (this was created by the one and only Kevin James Bennett and I am proud to say I am one of many administrator for the board.) Opps I digress, someone posted about not being paid in a timely fashion, so I inquired how long had she waited. She explained –“oh it’s only a week late.”
It was that answer that just stuck with me–it still sticks with me. Why are late checks a way of life for makeup artists/freelancer? One person answered and said (I’m paraphrasing) Oh well I have a client if it’s a 30 day invoice it normally will be paid in 45–so just be on the look out in 45 days. My insides were seething when I read this, because we are so conditioned to think this type of business is acceptable IT IS NOT!!! We have got to stop accepting these terms and become brave and say HELL NO I want my dayum money on time!!!! We do the work, we show up do our job well, deal with a day full of $@#$%, well you know what they can be filled with–lol. WE!, in good faith say–its ok to pay us 30 days later for work I had already done–and then we go to the mailbox in 30 days and N-O-T-H-I-N-G. To that I say, W-T-F?? I am over it.
In the last few years I have made it a point–No! a mission to receive as much of my pay on time or day of. I have become less fearful about losing clients because I simply have the nerve to ask for my pay. I decided I will not be the one balancing my over drawn checkbook any longer. How about playing the game, Which of my bills will I pay this month?–because I can’t afford to pay them all because my checks are late.
Once it took me 6 months to get paid
Now what the hell is that?
Here’s what I do:
- Literally set my alarm two ways
- I set it a week ahead to give me heads up that a check is coming my way I then set it on the day it is to arrive.
- I always have their info handy on both computer and phone and on the 30th day–after I have checked my mailbox once I don’t see it I will call/email my contact.
- If I do not get a satisfactory answer I will just by-pass them and call accounting directly
- I will always have my invoice ready to resend, because they always claim not to have my original invoice. Before they can give me the run-around I send all information which includes not only the invoice, but screen shots of emails verifying my hiring, deal memos, and any other pertinent info from the person who hired me.
- I then give them a few days to send my check or when they are local I will make arrangements to pick it up next day.
- Most important–always be nice to the receptionist who answers the phone because they will be the ones that can give you very valuable information i.e., whose the head of accounting or the head of your account, does accounting even listen to their voicemail, whose in, whose not, they can even help you with the right time to call back.
- If you feel you are not good at making these types of calls solicit someone who is fine dealing with businesses to help you
- Once you do make your call you must follow-up with an email within minutes with all information requested
When I do call a client for late payment I am always respectful, I speak in business language and I am professional, I am friendly and I am polite but firm. I am empathic to most situations and I do understand simple oversights, I understand someone who maybe swamped at work and simply forgot, especially, if it’s a company that has paid me repeatedly on time in the past. What I don’t have any empathy for is a nasty attitude, lying that the check was sent and its on its way, or the habitual late payer and neither should you.
I no longer will worry about how I come across to a client. I’m not worried about alienating myself for simply saying –hey where’s my money? I was finding myself asking the question DeShawn do you really want to be in business with people who cannot pay you on time anyway? My answer is NO!
I am sick of the bullshit!
As my friend say about me “DeShawn you’re like a dog with a bone–you just won’t let it go” DAYUM RIGHT! I pride myself on that trait because in this situation I am seriously over not getting paid on time and I am so over YOU not getting paid on time. If we all just practiced –what is our God-given right–to simply get paid when invoice is due, I do believe we as freelancer will see significant decreases in the bullshit that we all know of that 30 day due invoice turning into 45, 60, 90 day etc.
NO MORE PEOPLE NO MORE!!!!
What is it that you do to ensure you get paid on time?–share your tips here.