Whether you’re a freelancer, consultant, contractor or a plumber, the longer you are in business, the higher the odds of encountering that one client that is almost an exercise in futility to to pay up on an over due balance. This can be quite frustrating as often you don’t want to lose the client over the matter and we all have that basic desire of not wanting to come across as “the bad guy”.

If you have not encountered this yet, fantastic! But it’s still a good idea to learn about the situation so you can manage expectations and have the appropriate measures in place to protect yourself.

If you have dealt with this or are dealing with this, here’s some solid, real-world working advice on collecting from a client while aiming to retain the client.

Chip Camden writes on TechRepublic tips on how to get your client to pay you on their own volition, continue to be your client, and pay you on time in the future. He also shares the single most important thing you can do to ensure timely payment.
Read Chip’s article on “What to do when your client doesn’t pay”

Carrie Smith writes on the WePay blog a great 5 step approach starting with being pro-active from the start, taking action to keep it from getting worse and what to do if it does.
Read Carrie’s article “5 Steps to Dealing with a Client Who Doesn’t Pay”

Sunday Steinkirchner’s article for Forbes emphasizes from the start “Take Action!”. Do not let it slide, know your rights and use the resources available to get paid and go about your business.
Read Sunday’s article “What To Do When A Client Doesn’t Pay”

Robert Bowen writes for Smashing Magazine how you can put some safeguards in place to guarantee that if this kind of client disrespects you and a dispute arises, that you are not left without any leverage to help you resolve the situation. While this article is geared mainly towards designers, there are great pro-active and reactive steps to take and Robert gives great advice on the pros and cons of each step.
Read Robert’s article “Dealing With Clients Who Refuse To Pay”

Meredith Wood writes on Freelance Switch how you need to take proper and effective precautions to make sure you don’t find yourself in a position where a customer is paying you late or not even paying you at all. Key points: Communication and documentation.
Read Meredith’s article “Getting Paid: How To Prevent Clients From Paying You Late”

Overall take-away: Be sure to manage expectations up-front before a problem arises, document everything and utilize every available option before legal recourse is needed

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