A reader asks, “how can I get my money paid?”
I’ve only been scammed by a client once.
I think it was around $600.
I completed an order of $600 worth of article with this client and we both agreed that I did everything right. The only problem came when it was time to pay me.
This particular client twice told me that he’d sent the payment (when he didn’t), and not having Paypal support made things worse.
After several emails, waiting for a few weeks and chatting with the client on Skype, I decided it was no longer worth it and I stopped contacting this particular client.
If you’ve been scammed by a client before or if you’re afraid this is happening or might happen, here’s how you can avoid it and get clients to pay you:
1. Only Work with Clients You Trust
This sounds like basic advice but our definition of trust is relative.
You may trust who I won’t trust and vice versa. With that said, here’s how I determine whether a client can be trusted:
Take a look at the website or publication the client wants you to write for, the description of the job the client wants you to do, and the general understanding the client has of what you do.
A client from a reputable publication will most likely pay you on time because the damage to her brand will be great should the client decide not to pay and word gets out about this.
A client with a brand new site won’t be as trustworthy as a client with a major site, and in that case you can do what I recommend in point number 2 below.
In my own case with the client who scammed me, the site wasn’t well established.
2. Use the “50/50” Rule
According to Wikipedia’s definition of the 50/50 rule:
“50% credit is earned when an element of work is started, and the remaining 50% is earned upon completion”
Ever since I was scammed by a client, I started using the 50/50 rule for most of my clients. If I see that I can trust a client completely, then I don’t bother with the 50/50 rule.
For example, with my major client (a client who has paid out 5 figures to me in a single month) I only get paid for work done once it has been completed. I did the same for most of my old clients since I’d grown to trust them and I’ve had issues with them over the years.
With new clients, however, I start with the 50/50 rule. I get paid 50% before I start, and the remaining 50% once my work is completed. Once I can trust them and don’t have any major payment issues, I can then revert to getting paid once my work is completed.
Note: While the 50/50 rule can be very powerful, it can be equally dangerous, especially if you find it difficult to discipline yourself. If you’re not sure you can get the work done on time, then avoid using the 50/50 rule.
3. Take Control before You Start
“A new client who wants you to complete 100 articles in 1 month and you only get paid once the work is complete”
“A client who wants you to write guest posts for her on other blogs and she wants to provide the email address you will use for outreach. She also demands to be given the password and the email account you’ll be using”
In any of the above scenarios, it’s important that you take control.
Unless you really trust a client, giving her full control can be damaging to you. If a client wants full control, let the client pay you in half or in full before the work is done.
If a client isn’t willing to pay you yet, then you should be ready to take some kind of action once your work is done. This could be terminating your agreement, removing the articles if you still have access to them, or making some other kind of changes. If you’ve already sacrificed control, there’s nothing you can do.
4. Threaten to Stop Working
This only works with recurring clients who, for some reasons delayed your payment and did not let you know the reason for doing so.
If your emails are no longer being responded to, send another email telling them you’ll stop working until outstanding balances are settled.
I’ve only had to use this once with a client and it was effective.
5. Do Nothing
Like with my example above, I could have kept sending the reminders. I could have posted a lot of threads on forums -badmouthing the client. I could have wasted my time doing a lot of unproductive things just to get back at the client. But that’s just what they’ll be, “unproductive things”.
If nothing is effective in getting you your money, if the amount you’re owed is insignificant, forget it. If it’s significant, you might want to pursue legal action – depending on your agreement with the client.
Have you ever had issues with a client not paying you for work done before? In that case, what did you do? Please share with us in the comments!