Still waiting for the payment of second half of the deal
Freelancers who struggle to make a living and are exceptionally vulnerable suffer from this callousness far more than others Some time back when I was in one of my freelancing periods I helped someone reasonably important and unreasonably rich write his life story. We signed a contract and my lawyer said it was cast iron. It could well have been papier mache. He gave me the first half and we enthusiastically set sail for our destination, sloshing about in mutual admiration as we began the work. Six months later when the assignment was over, he reneged on the second payment. I was aghast but there was a lesson or two to be learnt. One, that the second half of the payment is a massive problem and a very common one. Two, it is predicated to the world having scant respect for the creative and believing it is only writing or drawing, big deal, let's get it cheap. It is amazing how easily it can be rationalised that the first payment is enough and the writer/designer/artist deserves no more.
Supporting this attitude, the desire for good writing or outstanding illustration is muted by a general acceptance of the adequate. Hence the majesty and grandeur of language gets short shrift.
The famous star of MASH, Alan Alda commenting on the former Times editor Sir Harold Evans statement of the civilised need for good writing, put it succinctly: "Clarity and wit have something in common, and it's Harry Evans. He clears a path through the thorny underbrush that stands between us and meaning, and he does it with cutting humour and graceful charm. He certainly does make himself clear, and us, too."
Freelancers who struggle to make a living and are exceptionally vulnerable suffer from this callousness far more than others obviously, but so do SMEs and smaller agencies who depend on their payments being on time so they can pay their bills.
In this syndrome there is much suffering. When I went to my lawyer after being dumped he staggered me with what it would cost to pursue the case in legal ways and pleaded helplessness. It is just not worth it. And the debtor knows that. What will you do if he does not pay? He can always say your work was substandard because it is so subjective.
According to global stats, thousands of small companies fold up because of such underserved non-payment. In the UK that figure hovers at 50,000 a year.
The word 'trust' is a loose label, hanging off your mental baggage with no forwarding address. The fact is that you are largely helpless and can only hope better sense will prevail.
You can appeal pathetically into good sense, send a threatening letter, send reminders, sit by patiently and wait for a message that will not be coming. Actually, precious little.
The sense of being cheated is hurtful. You could be just a wee bit more careful next time. Vet your client. Check him out in the market. If he has cheated you, he has cheated others. Check out the company's record. Don't believe you will be the exception because everyone is so nice to you.they will be at the start because they need you. Only after the work is done will your talent be discounted.
Put down your payment terms clearly. Don't be so relieved by the initial payment that your gratitude is snivelling.
Don't wait for the runaround to gather speed.
The signs are clear you are going to be jibed when:
You are asked to rework your invoice. Asked to send it again because the original is lost.
Told your calculations are wrong and a query has been raised.
It is the second month and Accounts is avoiding your calls.
The signatory is travelling.
Truth be told a very close British friend once told me if I gave her 30 per cent of what is owed she would just go sit there in that office and wait and wait and read a book and not say a word until the sum was paid up. You know the saddest part.it worked.