How To Deal With A Bad Paying Client

Clients are people who hire you to develop their projects and pay you for your work. This is the traditional definition of clients, but in real life we also meet that dreaded species called the bad paying client. Every freelancer out there, not just graphic designer, has encountered this species. Therefore, we have a rich folklore of cheapskate clients, but also a tested and proven list of useful advice to help you deal with them.

Here is what to do when your client refuses to pay:

Act Quickly

Contact the client on the very next day when his payment is overdue. If you do not show your client that you know your rights and are ready to enforce them, then you will get tangled up in a long process of chasing after payment. It is recommended to talk to your client in person or over the phone and give him the chance to explain the delay (not all of them are bad paying clients, some of them have a legitimate reason).

Follow Up with Their Accountant

If you still do not get paid, even after agreeing a later date with the client, you should get in touch with their accountancy department. It is also the right moment to issue a new invoice, with delay penalties added to the original amount, according to your agreement with the client. Corollary: Never work for a project without a signed agreement.

This new invoice must be accompanied by a formal letter stating the number of days of delay, the calculation of the penalties and the statement that, unless the client pay, you are prepared to take legal action.

Facing the Music

If the client still refuses to pay, after all your attempts to solve the situation amicably, there are two options you have left:

  • pursue the client in court

  • stop working with the client and send him a warning that any unpaid work of yours is copyrighted and the client will face serious consequences if he uses it in any way.

Basically, you still get to court, one way or another, but in case of copyright breach, you will spend more time and money with proceedings and legal fees – but the compensation you may get is also higher. However, no matter what you choose to do as a last resort, never start trashing the client’s reputation in the social media. It will show you as a petty retaliatory person and clients will think twice before hiring you.

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Ionut B
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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