When Clients Don't Pay on Time

With All Due Respect, Sir: Eff You, Pay Me :-|

When Clients Don't Pay on Time

Dear Accounts Payable Customer,

Hey, how are you? I’m reaching out to you on behalf of the freelancers, small businesses, service providers, coaches and consultants you work with in order to get critical projects and needs for your business done – on time. We have come together to provide a uniform message, one we hoped we’d never, ever, ever need to send to you.

With all due respect: Eff you, Pay Me.

As small business owners and freelancers ourselves, we work very hard to bring you the best products and services we have to offer. We spend money on our professional education so we can stay up to date on the latest happenings in the industry. We develop strong services that are largely tailored to the needs of your business.

We work with you to make sure you’re more than happy by the time the finished product is used for your business and given to your clients. We stay up late at night, and sometimes a few days at a time, tirelessly working to make sure we’re putting in work to give you exactly what you agreed to pay for.

Yet, despite all of this great work we do, and all the results we provide which you’re pleased with, you somehow manage to forget one thing: if it’s not paid prior to the beginning of the final leg, your service payment is due upon completion of the project. Not the day after. Not the week after. Not after you pay for your new iPhone or after you go to SXSW.

Right now.

Don’t tell us that you’re only doing the best you can, or that you’re working on it.

People always have the time and money to do exactly whatever it is they make time and priority to do.

Nice shoes, by the way. They go really well with that prestigious new business suit you purchased to enhance your image. Oh, you think we don’t these things?

We are not bounty hunters but we have lawyers, contracts and the hunger to keep our credit in good standing with other people that keeps us willing to act like ones if we need to. 

It’s not that we want to be disruptive, rude or negative jerks who want to ruin your day. We don’t. We have mouths to feed – mainly ours and our family’s. When we get paid, everyone’s happy. When we don’t, yeah, we have no problem pissing you off with our nice and pleasant reminders, “just so happened to notice I didn’t see your invoice payment initiate so I decided to call you” phone calls, replying to every Tweet you send, and hitting every Facebook status you have periodically… with ever increasing frequency.

You’re busy?

Eff you, pay me.

You pay your bills on time, right? You would be pissed if your employer forgot to cut your paychecks on time, right? You’d cry bloody murder over the injustice of having to deal with a barrage of calls from creditors and collections departments all day because someone didn’t pay you for services rendered on time, right?

Okay then, that’s what I thought.

F*ck you. Pay me.

And not in gum.

Take a stand against getting stiffed by clients with the Freelancers Union’s World’s Largest Invoice

2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from San Francisco Creative Mornings on Vimeo.


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  • http://www.geeklesstech.com Steve Hughes

    It just breaks the whole chain when you don’t get paid. I know with security services we ask for 50% up front, and 50% at completion. Would this be accepted with your clients? It least takes away some of the risk and headache for you.

    • http://www.thelauryndoll.com L. Raquel Peterson

      Hey Steve,

      Thanks for commenting!

      50% – 100% is going to be required for every project going forward from now on. Some people you work with off recognizance and others you realize just need to stay far the eff away! LOL.

  • http://smallbizdiamonds.com/ Ashley Neal (@smallbizatlanta)

    I couldn’t have said it better myself…great post!

    • http://www.thelauryndoll.com L. Raquel Peterson

      Thanks Ashley!

  • http://Joleenenaylor.com Joleene Naylor

    I have been very lucky and only had one person completely stiff me ($30 – just wasn’t worth it to hassle it out of him. he had more excuses than I have teeth) but I have had some people who drag it out beautifully. I don’t mind IF they tell me in advance “I can’t pay until I get the taxes back/someone pays me/etc etc”. The most annoying are when they won’t even acknowledge receipt of the files because they know they will have to pay. my computer crashed and I was down for one week. I had one woman who was in such a hurry she sent me a nasty note (all that was left to do for her cover was to adjust the font -AGAIN, we’d been through six adjustments and EACH time she approved it, only to change her mind a couple days later) and informed me she would just go elsewhere, so I informed her that she had a useable, finished cover which she had previously approved, so she owed me anyway and I would send her the layered files, etc. I sent the files and two months later still had not heard a word (sent them multiple times) finally I sent her a semi-snarky mail telling her that she was in SUCH a hurry she could not wait a week for my computer to be fixed (and that it was her own fault for constantly changing her mind – and not offering to pay any extra for each of those revisions, might I add) and I wanted to know had she received the files or not so I could close her account out and she finally paid – never answered the mail, however. *rolls eyes*

    • http://www.thelauryndoll.com L. Raquel Peterson

      Joleene – Wow that is crazy!
      It’s amazing what people will do and how they will act after you hold them accountable to their invoices.

      I’m *so* over it. When people are forced to pay in advance… they’ll learn. I have a friend whose contract requires $500 or less to be paid upfront.

  • http://ryzeonline.com Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca

    I’ve learned that “not being paid” is basically 100% dependent on myself, personally.

    It has nothing to do with the client.

    I have full control and responsibility.

    I used to design, coach, and sell by receiving money AFTER delivery.

    Until I adopted a new model, because I’m a badass, I work purely with CLIENTS WHO TRUST ME, and they have to DEMONSTRATE that trust by paying up front.

    I invest my time, heart, energy, and love into getting them results, and I can’t get it back.

    So they can put money up front, which they CAN get back if they’re not satisfied.

    My time is gone FOREVER if I spend it up front, their money isn’t.

    Pure and simple, I’m awesome, if you trust me, put your money where your mouth is, if you DONT trust me, fuck off – you’re not my target market. At all :)

    See? It’s all in how *I* decide to do business.

    • http://www.thelauryndoll.com L. Raquel Peterson


      You badass you.
      I guess that’s what life is molding me to do.
      This post has gotten quite a bit of feedback but I definitely love your perspective being added to the mix. This is completely true. And I’ve learned the hard way!

      • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca

         Yep, I did too – but it puts me in a great position to teach others :D hehe. Glad you’re feelin’ it!

    • http://www.danimagestro.com Dani

      Jason, you know I Love You right? These are fantastic points.

      • http://ryzeonline.com/ JasonFonceca


        Thank ya, Dani – you rock too :D