Freelancing: 10 weeks and invoice not yet paid – ideas?

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  • Freelancing: 10 weeks and invoice not yet paid – ideas?
  • cakefest

    Back in November I did some freelance work for 2x companies (Company1, and Company2, who are subconsultants on Co1’s job). I invoiced both companies separately, but at the same time, on Dec 1st. Company1 have paid up. Company2 have not yet paid. We are now 10 weeks down the line.

    Co2 say that as Co1 was the main consultant, and Co2 were only a sub-consultant, they are not liable for my invoice – and Co1 sould take care of it. Co1 say that as the work was done for Co2 and the work benefitted them, then Co2 should pay up. I don’t mind who pays, I just want paying and am now frustrated at the lack of payment. I understand the argument, though.

    I have contacted Co2 to chase them up, as the invoice went directly to them. They told me about the conflict between themselves and Co1. I contacted Co1, my main client on the project, and my [apparently very busy] contact said he will sort it out back in early January. Despite my numerous phonecalls and emails he has not sorted it out.

    On my original invoice back in December I stated that overdue payments would incur a 1.5% per month interest. As yet that has not been enforced. I am willing to do that. It will possibly endanger my chances of getting more work with either client, as they may perceive me as being impatient. I don’t particularly want to endanger my chances.

    Does anyone have experience of this? Or any advice on what the next step might be?

    Or just sit tight and wait?
    Or keep phoning/emailing every other day?
    Or express my frustration to my client?

    Thanks for any considered responses.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    Who actually asked you to do the work? If you have email or letter from Company 2, then they are liable.

    If it was me, I would be down their offices with said letter and my invoice insisting on a payment.

    Would you want future work from a company that is not paying you for work done?

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    if it were me and given the current economic situatiion I’d be chasing Company 2 very hard (assuming you had some formal ‘order’ from them to do the work).

    You coudl always look at getting a factor involved.

    do you have a purchase order? if you do then the company issuing it is the one that pays, contention or not.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Threaten legal action if you are not paid within seven days, then take it.

    Tell them you need the money, it’s not personal. Would you really want to work for them again anyway though?

    Search for the legislation for small claims, it’s easy to find and cheap/free for you to take action.

    i’m willing to forgive late payment for companies that are honest with me, if they are likely to give you more work and you are satisfied with their explanation the 10 weeks isn’t that far over the average in some industries.

    i’ve played the statutory interest thing as well in the past and it doesn’t really work, the amount it penalizes the company is not big enough to do anything but guarantee they won’t use you in the future

    Premier Icon binners

    Having been in this position myself many times, you only have one option: go legal. Its taken me a few years of trying to be reasonable for this to sink in.

    They’ll **** you about forever if you’re nice. And you’ll never get paid. Its amazing how fast the cheque book comes out if they know you’re serious.

    The argument is between themselves, not you, so **** em! Leave them to sort it between themselves once you’ve been paid


    What Matt said about who instructed you for the work. Up to you whether/how you chase them but I’d put a bit more effort in before passing to debt collectors. If you p1ss them off for chasing them then they are not worth having as clients IMO.

    Payment terms are also industry-specific, for example in my work it can take 2-3 months to get paid (By insurers), and that’s just the way it is. 10 weeks sounds long though!


    Agree that it’s down to who instructed you to do the work…I’d suggest a patient but persistent approach…keep being a pain in the arse who obviously won’t go away! works in the end

    I’,m in the same boat frequently but wouldn’t threaten legal action as am sure that it would mean an end to future business

    In the current climate bad payers are still worth having as clients!

    oh and ride your bike lots to clear the frustration!


    Theyll go bust or are near it, passing the buck is a sure sign, been there before.

    Beat them , make them bankrupt you can if the debt is over a certain amount.


    I had some good advice from the (old) forum when I was in a similar situation (though it was 6 months late…). The first step was to send another invoice requesting payment within 7 days or a late payment fee would be added. Then interest. Then backdated interest to the date of the first invoice. This is all legit under the Late Payment of Commercial Debt Act (1988) – quote this at both of them – it will focus their minds. Then add that the Small Claims Court will be your next step. What makes it trickier for you is the buck-passing. In the end, after a cheery phonecall to the company’s accountant I was paid within 2 weeks and didn’t charge them the extra money – getting the accountant on side was crucial.


    Contracts signed outlining limits of responsibility?

    Premier Icon NZCol

    We have 30 day payment terms. We then addd a cululative 5% per week beyond that and enforce it. Anyeon that pays > 50 days gets a nice letter explaining that we don;t wish to work with them as they obviously do not value our work.
    My customers pretty much always pay within 7 days now. And they know that we have so much access to their systems its like having a very gentle squeeze on their bawbags 😉
    I did have one copany default on 5K of work, Karma meant that somewhere down the line we came across the same guy in another role who really needed help but sadly he knew what was coming when we were brought in…..its amazing how bad one person can be made to look by the simple doctoring of a few logs ….

    I would also have a look at the, Contract (rights of third parties) Act 1999


    Does your invioce tell them how long they have to settle the account?
    Mine’s “Payment within 28 days”.
    Before you issue a Small Claims Court action you must warn them thus, in writing, with 7 days grace to settle the a/c.
    I’m no legal Eagle, but you could do a lot worse than have a word with your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, they’re excellent and free.
    Good luck.


    Just find out who you have a contract with and take them to court.

    It will not cost you anything as they have to pay court charges, you will be awarded interest and hopefully you will get your money quickish.

    As said above clients that dont pay are not worth having


    Try this lot – solicitors but costs are reasonable and they seem pretty effective

    Debt recovery solicitors

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