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Help, My Clients Aren't Paying...

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, rest assured, you are not alone in this situation. Not getting paid is probably the number one inconvenience about being a freelancer. Since we can’t rely on a fixed salary, our stress level increases as our bank account dramatically decreases. First, you should read our last blog article, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">on <a href="" target="_blank">9 tips to get paid on time</a>.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Still having problems? Your client is taking too much time to pay?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here’s what to do. </span></p> <h3><b>1. Constant reminders</b></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sometimes, we are afraid of being annoying if you remind our client several times, but you can’t just let this go or the situation could degenerate. From the first day of a late payment, gently remind them. We say ‘gently’ because the check could have been sent already and it is stuck at the post office or maybe your client likes to wait until the last minute to pay you. But, at least your client will be notified that payments aren’t taken lightly. Then, you can wait a few days and remind them every 14 days or so. </span></p> <h3><b>2. Stay inflexible</b></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your client gives you a wide variety of excuses to justify his delays? Remind them that you are a freelancer and that these bills are your only income: you rely on them to live. Simply tell them that the agreed work has been delivered and that you must be paid. Do not hesitate to implement the measures you have determined for delays, such as charging interest. Do not allow any privilege, because you will expose yourself to a problem that might be repeating itself.</span></p> <h3><b>3. Refuse any new jobs</b></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You still have not been paid and your client wants you to start a new job? Decline as long as you have not received your due. If you had already started a new contract, pause it. It is an extreme measure and your client might be upset but at least it will get your point across: you need to get paid, and on time. </span></p> <h3><b>4. Formal notice</b></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still no sign of payment after several attempts and reminders? Perhaps the time has come to make a formal notice. It must be sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt. It is possible to write it yourself or ask a legal professional to do it. You will find on the </span><a href="" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Éducaloi</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> website all the information you need about formal notices. Do not forget to keep a copy of your letter and the acknowledgment of receipt when you receive it. Generally, a formal notice is enough for our customer to settle the payment. If you do not follow up on this warning, either you drop and charge those losses or you start legal proceedings. </span></p> <h3><b>5. Prosecution</b></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You never hope to get there, but when you have tried to get paid for a long time now, you can try to settle the dispute at the Small Claims Court if the amount claimed is 15,000 $ or less, without interest. Consider collecting all the documents that may be required: formal notice, invoices, contracts, etc. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Are you hesitating on taking action for fear of losing your client? Remember that it is better to find customers who can pay and who you can rely on, especially when you reputation is also at stake. </span><br> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Good luck!</span></em></p>

Marilyn Préfontaine