Why is everyone so damned lousy at paying me?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Seriously. I have one contract that I stopped work on that went $2900 overdue from years ago and have no expectations that they'll ever pay up. That was the beginning of this wretched trend of not-bothering-to-pay-me-on-time (but it was the only time I've never been paid in contracting)

    And right now, my major contracts are 14 days and 6 days overdue, respectively. I know they'll pay (and at least one of them had better do it damn quick, because go-live is in 7 days and it ain't gonna happen unless I get paid), but is it really that fucking hard to mail the god damned check on time? It makes paying my bills really fucking hard, and is throwing off a business-critical PC upgrade. 



  • Do you charge interest on late payments?  It definitely helps.  And what can be even more effective, but has to be done up front, is to set up the pricing so that you can offer a 2% credit if they pay within the first 10 days.  We've found that extremely useful when working with cash-flushed companies.  They think they're getting a better deal, but really they're just not paying extra into our Christmas bonus fund.



  • For the long term debt, have you considered all options such as:

    1. Asking in a more firm manner (You better pay up. Pay up or else. I mean it this time)
    2. Threatening legal action (If you don't pay its off to court with you)
    3. Applying legal action (See you in court sucker)
    4. Sell off your debts to a debt collector (How do like you knees broken?)

    If you have given up without going through to at least step #3, then you have given up. If you make it past step #3 and still haven't been paid then at least you have a moral victory

    For the short term debt, companies will push you as far as they can, and if they are bigger than you they can get away with it no matter how you like it. You can apply the same steps as above, but that depends on how much you want to work with those clients again. It may better to suck it up and scrape through rather than piss them off and not get any repeat business (unless of course you don't want to have repeat business)

    And in parallel to those steps you can also take the feel good step of reporting them to a business association (BBB in US etc)



  • @OzPeter said:

    It may better to suck it up and scrape through rather than piss them off and not get any repeat business (unless of course you don't want to have repeat business)
    If I weren't getting paid, I certainly would not want repeat business from them.  I don't understand why anyone would want to do more work that they weren't going to get paid for.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    If I weren't getting paid, I certainly would not want repeat business from them.  I don't understand why anyone would want to do more work that they weren't going to get paid for.

    His current problem is with people who are running 1 and 2 weeks behind in payment. He also said that they would pay, it is just that they are late. Would you really burn bridges and set the dogs on someone who was eventually going pay (assuming it is in a reasonable time frame*)? After all it costs a lot more time and effort to find a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.

    * And as for a reasonable time frame - what is the billing cycle of the client? I have struck issues where I didn't get money when I expected it because the client ran a billing cycle that was not in sync with my billing cycle. However it does become more of an issue if Weng has a contracted date at which client was expected to have paid and that client has missed that date. In such cases I would have hoped that Weng had a penalty clause in his contract



  • I'm not sure what the english word for it is, but this is the kind of shit that needs to be in your 'delivery requirments'. That's just a literal translation but it is basically a document which specifies all the rights and duties surrounding the service rendered.  It "should" contain something along the lines of you owning their soul if they are a day late with paying.

    Personally i'm quite straight about these kinds of things. I'll be everyones friend, but in such situations it is not people that owe you or me money, it's a company.  Heck, depending on your business it is not even you who they owe the money to, it's your company. Companies don't do friends, they do business.

    The above may seem strange or even wrong. But companies are (not sure about all other countries out there) different legal entities. As such I make sure I keep that distinction. When I follow leads or do account management I do so with people, not necissarily the companies they represent. The companies are just the ones who will eventually take the service. That doesn't mean I won't give companies some slack sometimes. But companies are never anyones friend, only people are.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     No interest or late fees yet - but it's on the to-do list for the next revision of my shock-horror home-grown accounting system at which point it'll definitely start appearing in most of my contracts (one of the guys that's overdue won't be getting that clause, though - we collaborate too closely and the reason he doesn't always pay on time is because his clients often dick him around).

     

    For that matter when exactly did it become standard practice for individuals and companies to commission web development work, sign the plain language contract, sign off on the design document, and then demand everything to have been cheaper at the delivery date?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @OzPeter said:

    For the long term debt, have you considered all options such as:

    1. Asking in a more firm manner (You better pay up. Pay up or else. I mean it this time)
    2. Threatening legal action (If you don't pay its off to court with you)
    3. Applying legal action (See you in court sucker)
    4. Sell off your debts to a debt collector (How do like you knees broken?)

    If you have given up without going through to at least step #3, then you have given up. If you make it past step #3 and still haven't been paid then at least you have a moral victory

    There were some rather shit flaws in the contract I used at that time in history. Turned that into a very expensive learning experience.


  • @Weng said:

    For that matter when exactly did it become standard practice for individuals and companies to commission web development work, sign the plain language contract, sign off on the design document, and then demand everything to have been cheaper at the delivery date?
     

    That reminds me very much of this youtube video in which they map how we get treated to other businesses/branches. It would also be funny, if it wasn't so true.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    That video is the single greatest thing I've ever seen on youtube.

     

    On the matter of "Show us how to do it in-house" my primary upstream contractor and I have developed an actual line item for that (in concert with his other subcontractors) which we offer whenever the clients ask for it.

    Essentially, it consists of shipping us 5 developer employees and 3 art/marketing employees, totally paid for the next 5 years, enrolling them in the geographically dispersed schools that we all went to, all paid including off-campus housing and expenses, and then interning them with us for a year (paying each of us $100k for our trouble) - and then applying our usual annoying-customer multiplier. All told it costs well over a million dollars (all due up front) and in all reality wouldn't even produce a team half as effective as we are. Strangely nobody has taken us up on the offer.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     Turns out that my 14-day overdue account isn't overdue at all - my jackass 15-year-old niece decided to get my mail two weeks ago and file it neatly away in one of my deceased mother's old fileboxes that had made its way into my living room by nature of sorting through her stuff. She "thought that's where it belonged"

    How did I find out? My mentally challenged 10-year-old nephew mentioned it in between his ramblings about why I should buy a Buick LeSabre. I need to go back to using a PO box for this stuff.



  • @Weng said:

    jackass 15-year-old niece
    @Weng said:
    mentally challenged 10-year-old nephew
    Do you have a dickhead uncle to complete the set?



  • @Weng said:

    my jackass 15-year-old niece decided to get my mail
     

    Stop right there.

    How the fuck does that happen?



  • @Weng said:

     Turns out that my 14-day overdue account isn't overdue at all - my jackass 15-year-old niece decided to get my mail two weeks ago and file it neatly away in one of my deceased mother's old fileboxes that had made its way into my living room by nature of sorting through her stuff. She "thought that's where it belonged"

    How did I find out? My mentally challenged 10-year-old nephew mentioned it in between his ramblings about why I should buy a Buick LeSabre. I need to go back to using a PO box for this stuff.

    Sounds like you have really inferior genes.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Weng said:

     Turns out that my 14-day overdue account isn't overdue at all - my jackass 15-year-old niece decided to get my mail two weeks ago and file it neatly away in one of my deceased mother's old fileboxes that had made its way into my living room by nature of sorting through her stuff. She "thought that's where it belonged"

    How did I find out? My mentally challenged 10-year-old nephew mentioned it in between his ramblings about why I should buy a Buick LeSabre. I need to go back to using a PO box for this stuff.

    Sounds like you have really inferior genes.

    Tell me about it.  What kind of nutjob would buy a Buick LeSabre?!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Sounds like you have really inferior genes.

    To be fair it could have been who-ever married his Sister/Brother and brought in the inferior genes from the outside

    However I think that running a business and having his mail delivery address as his mom's basement does not speak highly of his own genes.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     These kids belong to my half sister who is white trash to the core having lived in the white-trashiest part of the Baltimore area her entire life (Dundalk for those of you familiar) and having moved to a trailer park in West Virginia at some point recently. She abandoned these kids almost a decade ago and left them to my parents - and since then has pumped out at least 7 more. There are AT A MINIMUM 6 fathers involved in all of this, by the way.

     Fortunately, I seem to have avoided those particular genetic pitfalls - my younger brother not so much. He currently works at a Subway and lives in a roach-infested motel on the beach in San Diego - a different form of white trash, but still.

     

    The only reason I deal with this crap anymore is that using the huge amounts of surplus space in the family compound (now that everyone except dad and these two kids is either dead or moved to some far-flung land) as an office is vastly cheaper than making the necessary modifications to my own home or leasing dedicated space.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @OzPeter said:

    However I think that running a business and having his mail delivery address as his mom's basement does not speak highly of his own genes.
    I have my own street address here, actually - but that doesn't stop idiots from "being helpful". There's a goddamned 2 foot thick concrete wall between my office space (actually it used to be a second housing unit - hence the second street address) and what's actually used as the house.



  • @Weng said:

    She abandoned these kids almost a decade ago and left them to my parents - and since then has pumped out at least 7 more. There are AT A MINIMUM 6 fathers involved in all of this

    Now you are really scaring me.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     You know that movie idiocracy? She's attempting to bring it about single-handedly.



  • Hey back in 2000 I drove a 1983 Buick Regal presidential series.  It even came with REAL bulletholes from the previous owner. had enopugh trunk space for 5 dead bodies.  6 if you folded them right. 

     But seriously weng, your contracts should explicitly state how long they have to pay. When I take side jobs, I usually give them 30 days and then charge a 10% fee.  This fee is cumulative every 14 days after the first month. I find that yes they often wish to renogiate that term but as a result they pay on time.



  • @Weng said:

    the white-trashiest part of the Baltimore area her entire life (Dundalk for those of you familiar)
    Enigmatically, the best strip club in Maryland is located under an I-895 off-ramp in Dundalk.  Actually, it's probably not that enigmatic.



  • Not to mention baltimore in general is mostly white trash except for a few very remote areas.



  • @Vechni said:

    Not to mention baltimore in general is mostly white trash except for a few very remote areas.

    Like, um, northern Virginia?



  •  worse. Baltimore has very small, remote pockets like roland park. Northen VA has some much larger areas such as Reston.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Vechni said:

    Not to mention baltimore in general is mostly white trash except for a few very remote areas.

    Like, um, northern Virginia?

    Northern Virginia is mostly yuppies and hispanic trash, thank you very much.

    Sidenote: Why does "hispanic trash" somehow come off as way more racist than "white trash"?



  • @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @Vechni said:

    Not to mention baltimore in general is mostly white trash except for a few very remote areas.

    Like, um, northern Virginia?

    Northern Virginia is mostly yuppies and hispanic trash, thank you very much.

    Sidenote: Why does "hispanic trash" somehow come off as way more racist than "white trash"?

    Both you and Vechni misunderstood me.  I was implying that the "remote areas" of Baltimore that weren't white trash were all the way in VA.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @bstorer said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @Vechni said:

    Not to mention baltimore in general is mostly white trash except for a few very remote areas.

    Like, um, northern Virginia?

    Northern Virginia is mostly yuppies and hispanic trash, thank you very much.

    Sidenote: Why does "hispanic trash" somehow come off as way more racist than "white trash"?

    Both you and Vechni misunderstood me.  I was implying that the "remote areas" of Baltimore that weren't white trash were all the way in VA.

    Oh, in that case: yes, pretty much.



  • @Weng said:

    And right now, my major contracts are 14 days and 6 days overdue, respectively. I know they'll pay (and at least one of them had better do it damn quick, because go-live is in 7 days and it ain't gonna happen unless I get paid), but is it really that fucking hard to mail the god damned check on time? It makes paying my bills really fucking hard, and is throwing off a business-critical PC upgrade. 

    I was thinking of writing a Soapbox about this topic: getting screwed as a contractor.

    Not too long ago, I got hosed by Acclaim Systems for $18K. I sent one of our devs (on payroll) for a few months to the client site... Accliam dragged their feet, "client is late paying" then one day just said they wouldn't pay and that I am no longer allowed to talk to them. Obviously there's a pending lawsuit, etc... but, at best, I can get 66% after legal fees.

    Lessons learned: always get a personal guarnatee that, if client pays, they pay; "if you can't personally guarantee it, doesn't that sound fishy?" There's no hiding behind a company with that.

    Think that'd make an interesting feature/soapbox article?



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @Weng said:

    And right now, my major contracts are 14 days and 6 days overdue, respectively. I know they'll pay (and at least one of them had better do it damn quick, because go-live is in 7 days and it ain't gonna happen unless I get paid), but is it really that fucking hard to mail the god damned check on time? It makes paying my bills really fucking hard, and is throwing off a business-critical PC upgrade. 

    I was thinking of writing a Soapbox about this topic: getting screwed as a contractor.

    Not too long ago, I got hosed by Acclaim Systems for $18K. I sent one of our devs (on payroll) for a few months to the client site... Accliam dragged their feet, "client is late paying" then one day just said they wouldn't pay and that I am no longer allowed to talk to them. Obviously there's a pending lawsuit, etc... but, at best, I can get 66% after legal fees.

    Lessons learned: always get a personal guarnatee that, if client pays, they pay; "if you can't personally guarantee it, doesn't that sound fishy?" There's no hiding behind a company with that.

    Think that'd make an interesting feature/soapbox article?

     

    Well personally, and with all due respect to everyone who has had it happened to them, but it's a bit of a non-story.  Now I don't want to sound like an expert, because frankly I'm not, but one of the first and key things I've heard when starting, was to get a good lawyer or legal counsler to write your delivery conditions and expect companies to give you the shaft.

    It isn't even a matter of "if", it's a matter of "when". At some point a company is going to not pay you for whatever reason, perhaps they go bankrupt or they didn't like your service or the company is just ran by assholes who think they can get away with it. There also is nothing you can do about it, even if the delivery conditions perfectly cover the situation, if they don't transfer money it's moot. 

    So in terms of a soapbox article about it, I don't see how you could write a lot of words about it. There certainly isn't a lot of advice you can give people, nor is the problem all that interesting to observe.

    But like i said, that's just me, perhaps others feel different about it.



  • But perhaps said article could provide tips for how plan for something like this.  I agree that a lawyer should at least look over any contracts you sign or that you plan on having the client sign.  I'm lucky enough that I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me.  If I such was not the case however I would have shelled out the cash.  the monetary loss of a couple hours of your time as compared to the loss of weeks of your time makes this a neccessity. 



  • @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...



  • @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

     

    I wonder if there is a lawyer equivelent of thedailywtf.com  Hmmmmm   /me runs off to register thedailywtlaw.com



  • @stratos said:

    I wonder if there is a lawyer equivelent of thedailywtf.com

    Yes, it's called the US Congress.



  • @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

    Yes I do pay him although it is at a discounted rate.  Plus the rest of my family also generates him a good amount of business.


  • @stratos said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

     

    I wonder if there is a lawyer equivelent of thedailywtf.com  Hmmmmm   /me runs off to register thedailywtlaw.com

    The Daily "Wow, That's Frivolous"



  • @bstorer said:

    @stratos said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

     

    I wonder if there is a lawyer equivelent of thedailywtf.com  Hmmmmm   /me runs off to register thedailywtlaw.com

    The Daily "Wow, That's Frivolous"

    The Daily "Whoa, [bstorer is] Totally Fabulous!"



  • @galgorah said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

    Yes I do pay him although it is at a discounted rate.  Plus the rest of my family also generates him a good amount of business.
    A lot of accused murderers in your family or something?


  • @bstorer said:

    A lot of accused murderers in your family or something?
     

    Quiet fool, you must say "falsly accused" when dealing with his family lest you find yourself sleeping with the 1's and 0's!!!



  • @bstorer said:

    @galgorah said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

    Yes I do pay him although it is at a discounted rate.  Plus the rest of my family also generates him a good amount of business.
    A lot of accused murderers in your family or something?
    More like a lot of CFO's and CEO's.   Mostly in the mental health industry.  My family also buys a lot of property.


  • @galgorah said:

    @bstorer said:

    @galgorah said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

    Yes I do pay him although it is at a discounted rate.  Plus the rest of my family also generates him a good amount of business.
    A lot of accused murderers in your family or something?
    Mostly in the mental health industry facilties.
    Made that more interesting for you.


  • @bstorer said:

    @galgorah said:

    @bstorer said:

    @galgorah said:

    @DOA said:

    @galgorah said:

    I know a lawyer who is good friends of my family and looks over stuff for me
    Hope you pay him. Otherwise he's probably on some lawyer forum somewhere going "don't you just hate it when people ask you for legal advice as soon as you tell them you're a lawyer? You want to take up my time, pay me, otherwise shove off."

    Incidentally this rant sounds vaguely familiar...

    Yes I do pay him although it is at a discounted rate.  Plus the rest of my family also generates him a good amount of business.
    A lot of accused murderers in your family or something?
    Mostly in the mental health industry facilties.
    Made that more interesting for you.
    Oh sorry I forgot to mention all of batman's enemies are some how related to me as well as Galactus and the devil...

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