What do You Do When A Private Client Does Not Want To Pay?


I know we all go through the spells when it can be a complete disaster trying to get money out of a client for work we have done. The best thing to do with any private client, especially the new ones, is to get half of the money up front. If they do not want to do this and they expect a large order in return it is best to pass. Trust me I know from experience you can read more about it in my scam section. However, now the question is what do you do when one of your regular clients does not want to pay or always wants to delay payment?

  1. You remind them about pay: I know we may feel guilty about asking one of our regulars for pay but what they have to understand is that we have bills to pay just like they do.
  2. Tell them that if payment is not made in a certain amount of hours the work will be sold elsewhere. This may cause you to lose a client but what is important is that you get paid for your work. If your work is good then you will have that client replaced in no time.
  3. Tell them this will be the last assignment you can do for them: The client is going to ask you why when you notify them of this but just let them know politely that you cannot keep working for them and having delayed payments. They want prompt delivery of their work so why shouldn’t we have prompt pay. Besides many of them are making way more off of our work then we are getting paid.
I know this post may sound a little harsh but I am so sick of these clients trying to delay pay due to vacations, no funds in PayPal account and a slew of other reasons. I mean some things people may be considerate about but my thing is if I do the work I expect to be paid upon completion unless we have made some other type of arrangement. Hello! We are not just writing for our health. Our bill collectors are not going to want to hear “Oh, I can’t pay the light bill this week because my boss is on vacation, has a family member that’s sick, has been working and is tired….”. They are going to want their money right then or whatever it is that you cannot pay will get cut off. It is time for us writers to stand up and not accept delayed payment, even if it is from a regular. Trust me my inbox stays booked with work all of the time so by cutting one client lose you will be giving yourself less of a headache, especially since the ones who like to delay payment are the ones who aren’t even paying that much in the first place.
I look forward to hearing everyone’s ideas about cheap clients, clients delaying payments and just plain out rude clients.
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14 thoughts on “What do You Do When A Private Client Does Not Want To Pay?

  1. I think online business would go alot more smoothly with two things, A: A portfolio of your sample work, and B: A method to accept credit card/debit payments. Recently I got a Paypal business debit card. Supposedly you can accept credit card payments with Paypals Premium account and it cost me nothing to upgrade. So say a client wants $800 worth of work done. If they’re serious then they’d pay upfront. I don’t know any real world business where you don’t pay first before getting a product. You don’t get an item off Ebay until you pay after the auction, or you don’t get a downloaded video or music itunes until after you pay for it. It’s just that simple. If they get your work and run, you have NO way of getting your money. People who don’t understand this shouldn’t even be working online, because they’ll be robbed. So it’s important to know people you can trust.

    1. I also get paid through Paypal or other times I get paid via Green Dot. However, with all the scam artists around it is going to be very rare to find a client that is going to pay a large amount of money up front. What I do for large assignments is have them pay half up front or milestones along the way. It is true about what you say about paying for products before you receive them yet in the writing world it doesn’t always work that way.

  2. Hey Sydney– You would be surprised at some of the things you’ll run across in this business. Luckily, the bad eggs are probably less than 1 percent of the total people that you will deal with, and there is plenty of work for good writers.

    FunMom– I’m with you- if you have done the work, it should be paid for. Here’s a post I wrote ranting about it back in February that might give you a few more ideas:
    http://writeandgetpaid.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/getting-paidwhen-freelance-writing-clients-won%e2%80%99t-pay/

    1. Denisegabbard, thanks so much for the encouragement.
      I too checked out your site and have bookmarked it, very helpful advice.
      I hope to land some private clients very soon, but so far my CL add has 0 bites.
      Oh, well!

      1. Thats odd what city do you post in. I have had quite a few clients that have come from cl and one regular. I must say that they are willing to pay a whole lot more than the average client however it is mostly academic work and resumes.

      2. Try posting in other cities aside from your own. I post in places where I know a lot of colleges are at. People pay good money for academic papers if you are into that type of work.

      3. I don’t offer that kind of work, more like general articles and free lance writing.
        Forgive me I don’t want to sound rude here, if this is something that you do, I’m not judging but isn’t writing college papers for students cheating? Again if I’m wrong please let me know, I sure don’t want to imply that you are doing anything bad.

      4. Your okay not being rude at all. I also do general articles and other types of writing. Guess I am just a jack of all trades when it comes to the writing thing. Never though about it being wrong because all of the essay writing services, admission writing services and personal statement writing services that are all over the web. Many of them have been discussed on the news and magazines. However, I understand that people dont like to do this type of work but when it comes down to doing some school work or eating I would definitely say the school work will win. But, if it was like doing a final test or something like that I wouldn’t indulge in that.

        Not trying to persuade you or anything but you know like when people do fake reviews. Wouldn’t that be worst than helping someone with school work? Since, it would be leading people to buy a product that may not actually work at all?

  3. I don’t have client yet, but I’ve had trouble with potential clients. Some people I thought might give me some over flow work got upset and snippy with me when I had the “nerve” to ask them some questions. I’m sorry, but if I’m going to work with you and you have a problem with my asking questions than it’s not going to work. I need to know if I’m understanding what they’re saying and if they want me to write what I see as a typo or grammar issue. So no luck with private clients yet, and no luck with potential clients. I agree with your way of dealing with late clients. If they can’t pay, than they shouldn’t ask for the work in advance. They should plan better.
    It’s not harsh to be polite and run a business. At least that’s what I think.

    1. Glad to see someone shares my opinion. I’m sorry you haven’t obtained private clients yet. Have you tried digital forum? I was able to find most of my regulars from there and a few from craigslist. Also, I have just had to get rid of to of my writers that help me out so I may be hiring again soon.

      1. Well let me know, but don’t worry no pressure. I would love to help you write though. I’ll try digital forum thanks for the advice.

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