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Home > How to deal with a deadbeat client

How to deal with a deadbeat client

February 11th, 2012 at 05:12 am

I have another possible deadbeat client on my hands, the husband/wife Century 21 team from a low-rent type city about an hour away from me. I wrote a blog for them. I can't believe they'd actually try to stiff me out of a measly $50 (I discounted my rate for them) and it pisses me off to no end.

I have a complete paper trail with them accepting those terms of payment but of course not worthwhile to pursue in small claims.

I made a point to verbally ask him on the phone before i started to pay in 2 weeks time. He agreed. I sent invoice. When they didn't pay, i emailed him and he said oh sorry, i will have it out in tonight's mail. That was last Monday. By Friday (yesterday), when i still didn't have it, i emailed again and this time got no response at all from him.

They may actually think i don't know how to find them becus i answered their Craig's list ad and they never provided contact info. (Not even a phone, I don't think. When we agreed to discuss the project on the phone, he said he would call me. I figured it didn't matter becus I had already researched who they were online.I found the wife realtor on the website of Century 21, complete with office address and phone.

So if i still don't get the check by say Wednesday next week, i can email them and say oh, i have reason to be up in Your Town next week, so if i don't get the check from you, i can drop by your office on Name of Street. That may scare them becus they may not now know that I know where they work, and they might not want a disgruntled me showing up at their office and possibly embarrassing them.

What do you think?

I don't have any intention of actually schlepping up there but i do want my money.

Any ideas of other ways I could make sure they pay their bill without going to a lot of trouble (driving up there) or expense?

sure, I can write it off, but in my current state of underemployment, every dollar really counts.

9 Responses to “How to deal with a deadbeat client”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Sorry to hear this is the case. I think you plan is good.

    Could you ask for payment (or partial payment) upfront on first time clients? After full payment you could then post bill the client. Just thoughts.

  2. patientsaver Says:

    Years ago when i first started freelancing, I did ask for 50% upfront payment, but it just served to delay the start of the project, so i dispensed with it and counted on clients' honesty.

    However, i do now have a paypal account, so what would otherwise take several days to receive a check in the mail (and then make sure it cleared the bank when you cashed it) is now pretty instantaneous.

    It's never an issue with existing clients, of course, just the new ones, when i don't really know who i'm dealing with. By saying you want some upfront payment, it's kind of like saying, i don't trust you, and that's not a good way to start off a new work relationship. so i try to just be ultra-professional and hope that they do the same.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Understood. I do wish you the best in getting this client's payment!

  4. jewels3 Says:

    Have you suggested setting up payments with them? $50 is not a huge amount, but for them it could mean the difference between groceries or not. I understand your frustration and I would be mad, too, but money may be extremely tight for them.

  5. patientsaver Says:

    Umm, money's tight for me, too. They shouldn't have agreed to it if they couldn't pay.

  6. Petunia 100 Says:

    This is the couple who wanted to pay you $25 per blog post? And they have not given you contact info? They sound shady to me. I think casually mentioning you can come by their office at X location is a very good strategy.

  7. baselle Says:

    I'd definitely scare them a little by telling them that you'll stop by. I think this is the perfect time to deploy the innocent letter. Make it innocent, write that you're running errands and would love to save them the stamp. Pick a day. It could be any day; you have a 90% chance that the contact will not be "in" that day ... come the day after or "miss". You could make it a daily email - "come" then "cancel". From your end its electrons; from their end the fear of you showing up could be enough of a disruption that they send the 50$.

    Of course when you get tired, there's always looking them up in yelp or other rating site and let them have it.

  8. patientsaver Says:

    Since I last emailed the husband last Monday, then emailed him (no reply) when I didn't see anything in the mail despite his saying it would drop it in the mail Monday night, I'm going to wait til Tuesday to CALL his wife. (I don't have his number, only hers, at work). Surprising her with a phone call at work might be just as effective. Again, becus i don't think they know I know where they work. She'll probably say payment is on the way or whatever, so i'll have to wait several more days again to see if it comes. If not, by Friday I'll send an email to both saying i have reason to be up in their area "next week" and I can stop by their office to pick up payment. I don't want to say which specific day I'll be there becus they can just arrange to not be in the office.

    If that doesn't work,then I suppose I could just get nasty and suggest that I call the wife's sales manager (name her by name) at work. That info can be easily found on Century 21 website. I can email or call the sales manager and explain that i'm a vendor who's done business with one of their sales associates and i'm having trouble reaching her and have not been paid. It would be hugely embarrassing, if nothing else.

  9. patientsaver Says:

    I could just cut to the chase and make that surprise phone call to the wife Monday (tomorrow), but I feel I should give them time in case it's an honest oversight and the check is indeed in the mail. Also, there's the steady "drip" effect of my annoying them enough over time with my persistent emails and phone calls that they finally decide to pay me just to make me go away.

    Anyway, lesson learned. I will NEVER again take on a new client without some sort of upfront payment. It's ridiculous that I have to take up time chasing after $50.

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