Kseniya ThomasKeymaster@kseniya14 years, 8 months ago
I had the question the other day about what to do when a customer doesn’t pay–the client of the printer with the problem had had an unpaid balance for a month. This has happened to me, too: a really nice customer who’d I’d enjoyed working with disappeared suddenly when payment was due, and I had to call her dad to try and track her (and payment) down! I love printing, of course, but it’s just a hobby unless I get paid. So now, in addition to the non-refundable deposit, I also require that the balance be paid before the stationery ships. What are your payment stories and solutions?
Jen StarshapedParticipant@jenstarshaped14 years, 8 months ago
What a drag! I haven’t had this problem in a while, but have had it. I usually get enough of a deposit to at least cover all my base expenses going into a job, and then get the rest when the job ships/is picked up. Sometimes clients will send a check in the mail so I don’t get the balance right away. Usually I do, though, within a reasonable time (I use a net 15 for my invoices). After a few weeks I send a friendly email reminder, and if nothing comes of that, a more stern email (or two). After that I assume that karma will take its course on negligent clients. 🙂 Luckily, I haven’t been in this situation often! I find that having a personal connection with clients helps a lot… maybe it guilts them into paying promptly?This is my first year of getting up to speed with Quickbooks, so we’ll see how it all pans out at the end of the year. I’m not positive, but isn’t there some kind of tax write off/benefit dealing with unpaid invoices? I seem to recall hearing something like that in school…
Kelly – Paper StoriesParticipant@kelly-paperstories14 years, 8 months ago
That is what it says in my contract that all custom order folks must sign… 50% non refundable due upfront, balance plus shipping due prior to delivery. I wouldn’t do it any other way.
Maia de RaatParticipant@maiaderaat14 years, 7 months ago
I ask for a deposit of half the job’s fee up front before I begin work and I have all my local clients come to my studio to pick up the finished job. That way I get the remainder of the balance from them before the goods leave the studio and don’t have to do any waiting. If it’s a rush job, and the client will be picking it up from me, I will occasionally skip the deposit and get the full amount at the end.As for dead-beats, I find being cheerful and unfailingly polite while at the same time relentless in my contacting of them, email, phone calls, snail mail, all combined and done over and over again, works pretty well at getting them to pay up. It has this Norm Bates feel about it that seems to get to them….
Rachael HetzelParticipant@rachaelhetzel14 years, 7 months ago
I agree with Kelly. I always get a 50% non-refundable deposit and the balance is due before shipment. If the client is in a hurry I let them know they can send final check the week before shipment and I also started taking credit cards. I’ve been burned once or twice when I was overly generous with a client, but quickly learned my lesson!
Helen EvansParticipant@helenevans14 years, 5 months ago
Agreed… I take a 50% non-refundable deposit when the project agreement is signed, and the balance plus shipping upon completion of the job (and before the job is shipped). Clients can use credit card, but I take checks as well so I also included in my standard agreement: “checks must clear before design work can begin and before the final order can be shipped respectively”. I have let that slide once or twice for friends-of-friends, but it’s good to have it there.I think you can write off “bad debts” (unpaid invoices) in your taxes but I don’t have any real idea how that works!
Shelly KuzniarekParticipant@shellykuzniarek14 years, 5 months ago
This happened to me once. Lesson learned. I require 1/2 upfront & signed estimate (doubles as contract) BEFORE design is even considered. Payment is due in full PRIOR to sending. This doesn’t necessarily save my butt if the client bails…but at least I’m making my materials cost from the first payment. I find it also necessary to state that all work is under the sole copyright of my company. I have found people like to look, steal, and do it themselves. Not good when a gal’s trying to make a living. Hope this helps.
Adrienne BerryParticipant@adrienneberry14 years, 4 months ago
I require 100% down (terms outlined in the initial estimate). If job is canceled during design phase they get 60% back. Once design is approved then job turns over to non-refundable status.If the client is stingy and asks for 50% down instead, then I bill first 50% at beginning of job, and then last 50% upon approval of artwork. If additional pieces get added or add-ons they are billed and must be paid before job ships. Everything is outlined in the estimate so the client knows what to expect before making the initial purchase. If they are uncomfortable with the term I invite them to purchase a sample first or assume that it’s probably not someone worth my time in the end…haven’t had many problems with not receiving payment.Wholesale orders require a CC on file and buyer must have made 4 POs before a credit app can be applied for. Once credit is granted it’s net 30 with interest after that. If payment hasn’t been made in 3 months, I bill invoice to the initial CC on file.
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