Recently, I did a rush article for a client. She agreed to the fee (2 hours’ regular fee plus $50 for rush), and I provided the article hours before her deadline.
I billed her… and waited.
I billed her again… and am still waiting.
I didn't even get this much communication!
E-mails to her have gone unanswered. So I have no idea why she hasn’t paid me. I thought of some possibilities:
• She’s broke and was too embarrassed to say so (I would have worked out a payment plan for her, if that would help).
• She never intended to pay me in the first place (in which case, she’s a cheater and a liar); or
• She meant to pay me, but then she had some unexpected setbacks and couldn’t (See first reason above).
• She ran off to South America after pulling off a bank heist.
• She is lying in a hospital somewhere after a bad accident and can’t speak. Obviously can’t e-mail.
• She is deceased.
No way can I know which if these, if any, is true. That’s what gets to me.
Once, I bugged a client for $400 he owed me for an entire year. Dozens of phone calls, e-mails, calls to the Accounts Payable Department of his company. Finally, I got the check. But what did all this fretting and bugging do to me? It kept me upset for a whole year. Maybe shortened my life by a week or two. That was the first time I got screwed over. This is only the second (unless she pays me) in nine years, so I guess I should be glad that the great majority of my clients are honest and pay for copywriting assignments on time.
So, this time, whether I understand why this client isn’t paying me for some (darn good) copywriting or not, I’m going to forgive her and move on.
Not for her sake, but for my own.
I found her phone number and called. Turns out she and her family had been out of town for spring break, and she hadn’t had a chance to answer my e-mails. She said someone in the office is cutting me a check today. Will let you know if “the check is in the mail” or not.
UPDATE! Got the check! Wow.