Posts Tagged ‘make sure you get paid for your time’

Make Sure You Get Paid

In freelance, freelance copywriter, getting hired on September 3, 2012 at 2:48 am

For a long time, I used to get a project from a new client, give them my quote, work on the project and then wait for payment. Sometimes I would request a retainer fee, which was 50% of the full payment, and/or have the client sign a written quote before I started. Unfortunately, I was pretty slack about that and trusted clients (even those I had no connection to) to pay me for my time.

I learned the hard way, why people need to do things like require a retainer fee to protect themselves from getting jipped. On Tuesday, May 8th, I received a call from Carolina Puig from CPL Graphic Design Solutions requesting that I do a proofreading project. She needed the project to be proofread and revised by that Thursday. I agreed, quoted her and got to work. On May 10th, I sent her the revised document via email and we discussed parts of it on the phone.

On Friday, May 11th, I received the following email from the client at 4:39PM:

“STOP the project!!!!!! please. Client want to do this by themselves!

PLease let me know what I have to do now.
Thank you so much.”

Ummm…really? Because I already finished it for them yesterday so I’m not sure what they are going to “do.”
I wrote back and told her that she can either pay me via check or paypal – whichever was best for her. She asked for a formal invoice and I sent one. Then…I never heard back.

I followed up on May 29th with the following email:
“Just wanted to confirm you received the invoice I sent a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you!”

No response. I sent another on June 3rd:
“Just wanted to follow up because I haven’t heard back from you. Please confirm receipt of my invoice.
Thank you.”

On June 10th:
“Just following up. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about my invoice.
Thank you.”

On July 2nd:
“I have not heard back from you regarding payment for the proofreading project that I worked on back in early May. Could you please let me know when I can expect payment?
Thank you.”

And finally on July 9th:

“I have tried and tried to contact you and it’s become evident that you have no intention to pay me for my time.

I just thought it would be fair of me to give you the heads up and let you know I will be writing a blog on my experience working with CPL Graphic Design to forewarn other freelancers or industry professionals of your lack of professionalism and respect of others time.

It’s not even about the money because the amount I charged was nominal – which actually makes it worse to me. Its not like its a large sum of money that the client didn’t have. There was just a total lack of respect for my time. I feel I was taken advantage of and manipulated into working for free. It’s not all her fault. I allowed this to happen by not taking the appropriate measures. I may not have gained any cash from this job, but I did learn a valuable lesson.
Don’t leave it up to the good will of your clients to pay you. Protect yourself and require a signed contract and/or retainer fee.