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  1. #1
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    Client promising payment but it never comes

    Hello all,

    Well it's my own fault as stupidly I never put this project on an official contract. A milestone payment schedule was agreed whereby I receive a deposit to start work and each stage of completion I get paid a specified amount.

    At no time has the client had control over the work as it's been developed within a CMS which has been customized accordingly. A lot of work has gone into this project.

    Last week the 2nd stage payment was due, my client was severely lax in communication and after 6 days I managed to catch him on the phone. He said he's been extremely busy and we talked some more about the project until I pointed out that the stage payment was now due seeing as he'd approved all the work to date.

    He agreed and said the payment would be with me tomorrow. Well "tomorrow" was another 6 days ago and we are back to square one with communication he will not answer my calls or e-mails. I don't want to seem like I'm pestering the guy but I do have a schedule to keep to.

    You know what client's are like, you don't hear anything then all of a sudden receive an e-mail demanding things were done yesterday. This project is too large to do this and as more work creeps in it will be delayed significantly which I don't want to happen because I am owed the current stage payment for the work completed.

    I know I am a silly sod for not getting the official paperwork signed. Lesson learnt!

    Do you guys have any advice on how to handle this one? It's a debt collect sort of situation which I am absolutely hopeless at but at the same time I really do want to get this project finished for the guy as he seems nice enough. Am I being too impatient? I wouldn't mind if he responded at least once and claimed he had a problem.

    Your comments would be greatly received.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Well at least you have milestone payments agreed and you've received payment for the first one.

    It might be that this guy has some financial problems and can't pay, or he might have a genuine reason which is causing the delay.

    I'd suggest writing a nice letter to him explaining that the schedule is falling behind, you're keen to progress with the project and delays will start affecting his deadlines for the new site, but unless the next payment is received the project is on hold.

    Keep regular contact for a while, perhaps at least once a week and keep chasing it up for a while. If your clients has access to the site or CMS withdraw it immediately until things are back on track.

  3. #3
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Find out why they aren't paying. That information will determine how you should handle it.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  4. #4
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    Hi guys thank you for your quick replies. Will see what develops this week. I have asked the direct question Sage and not received a response. It's a tough one when communications stop altogether.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I don't think you mentioned this - but who's hosting the site? I would always host a site myself until development was done and the site was fully paid for before turning it over to a client or letting them host with someone else.

    Sure there are ways they could work around that if they wanted the site w/o paying fully - but it makes it a lot easier for you to get paid if you can pull the plug if needed as a last resort.

    Steve

  6. #6
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    I would go the bluedreamer route only send the letter recorded delivery with a copy invoice for the second payment enclosed. This sort of turns the invoice into more of a demand for payment and will come in handy if things go legal.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    I just recently had a similiar issue with a late paying client that I thought had done a runner on me but thankfully it was simply a case of providing incorrect payment details.

    Definitely in future have EVERYTHING documented and signed off on.

    Be sure to let us know how you go.

    RJ

  8. #8
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    Hi guys, thank you all for your advice you are so helpful here.

    Unfortunately still no communications what-so-ever.....
    You reckon best bet from here would be a letter?

    Johnny was your client on contact with you?

  9. #9
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Send a written invoice via registered mail. That's the first step to documenting the situation so that you can effectively collect in the future.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    If I'm reading this right, they are about two weeks late right? Send him an actual invoice noting his due date (in the mail, as Sagewing suggested). Keep calling, but don't pester him every day... just call once to let him know you dropped an invoice in the snail mail to him.

    Also, on these "milestone" payments, we typically don't advance to the next milestone until we receive payment. We also don't release any of the materials or "launch" anything. If he wants to delay payment, he'll delay the project as well.

    A few days can be annoying, but we've got clients pulling this type of thing going on 6 months now. We email every month, and send a statement every month. We've finally started the legal collection process of sending certified invoices with a letter demanding payment, etc. 12 days doesn't seem so bad, just don't let it get out of hand.

    Make sure none of the work you are doing is usable... and make sure he knows it. Definitely make sure for future projects you have a contract in place, but email and IM communications work pretty well at proving intent too, so you might pull all your documentation together if for nothing more than to remind him that he made the commitment to pay you XX when you completed YY (and attach the documentation to prove it).

  11. #11
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    Thank you Beley and Sagewing for the additional advice. Will keep tabs and give him another 7 days to respond whilst I try to make contact a couple of times. Thereafter I will prepare the documentation as per your
    recommendation.

    Thanks so much - appreciated!

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Any word on this? Is it possible to *undo* the work done if they fail to make payment?

    RJ

  13. #13
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    Hi chaps,

    Just an update, invoice was sent but still no response. The demo site has been taken down. The guy has disappeared off the face of the planet it seems. Fortunately though I've managed to dig up some alternative contact details from our friend "Google" so will try a surprise call on Monday with them see if he picks up.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast jt_va's Avatar
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    Call today, why wait?

  15. #15
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    Send registered mail with invoice that sates project is on hold until payment is recieved.

    I would also make any new contracts state payments are do in so many days and after that they pay a certain percent more.

  16. #16
    Headed Home! KM Richards's Avatar
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    Hey, just go over and take it out of his backside!


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