Graphic Design Podcast :: The Deeply Graphic DesignCast

When Clients Don’t Pay

When Clients Don’t Pay

One of the toughest pills to swallow as a designer is when we run into that client who just refuses to pay you. I think we’ve all run into this at one point or another.

In today’s episode, we’re joined by Steve Pomerantz, CEO of Freelance Collection, which is a collection service for creatives. He goes over how to avoid non-payment in the first place, what to do when you’re being stiffed, as well as 3 types of non-paying clients to watch out for.

He’s also prepared a handy little guide: 20 Types of Non-Paying Clients & Strategies For Getting Paid

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May 15, 2019

Hey guys, I was listening to your episode of “WHEN CLIENTS DON’T PAY” and an incident I experienced in my early freelance years came to mind.

Someone called me up late one night asking if I can manage the layout for their magazine. I accepted the job and asked how the client wanted to be billed (monthly, bi-weekly, ect.) to which he responded, “No thanks, I will pay per week,” which I was more than happy with. After the first issue went out, I contacted the client to ask how he wanted to pay. He told me that he decided he’ll pay in a lump sum, probably bi-weekly. After two weeks he told me he was still waiting to get paid from the customers advertising in the magazine and would get me the money soon. I foolishly trusted him and figured I would get one big check sometime or another, but after 8 issues I realized that he was stringing me along and I most likely wouldn’t receive a penny. He kept insisting that he will be paying, he’s just waiting for payment himself. After a few months of pursuing him (I obviously stopped my work for the magazine), my family members decided to get involved. My brother works in the IT field and retrieved the man’s address from the back-end of his website, which he gave to a friend of mine. My friend is a pretty nice guy and went to talk to him face to face, figuring the client would feel guilty and finally pay, which did not happen. When I warned the client I would have to take him to court for his debt, he got freaked out and threatened to tell the judge that my friend “touched” him and would sue us for abuse. This, of course, was a lie from a clearly desperate man who would play as dirty as he could to avoid payment. I figured it wasn’t worth the money and stress to deal with someone like that, so I let it go.

It’s been about two years since this happened, my brother recently decided he would pursue the client himself over the phone. He expressed to the client how wrong he was and how much he lied about paying me, which caused me much stress. To my great surprise, a couple of days later the client sent me $200 (which only made a dent in what he really owed). But after all that, I guess he did have a conscience.

Since that experience, I will only take on a big job after I receive a 50% deposit. Surprisingly, most of the new clients understand and even take me more seriously for that rule.

Lesson learned…


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