What do you do when you’ve literally exhausted all the possibilities to reconcile a debt owed to you by a client. You have sent out letters, notices, invoices and emails. You have even made calls to every available number, only to be rejected, talked to very disrespectfully and brushed aside as if you are not a priority for them. How does it make you feel when you have to decide, as a business owner and entrepreneur, if you will pay your rent, buy food for your family or pay your car note because your livelihood was interrupted by BAD clients?
Surely, knowing that you have to make tough decisions just to survive is a hard pill to swallow but as you swallow that pill you have to realize when enough is enough. When to throw in the towel and make sure your family’s well-being is a priority over all things, including the needs of your client. Unfortunately, too many small business owners, especially Christians ones, don’t want to feel as if they are worldly because they think of themselves first. Well, it’s time to stop that mentality because your family will always suffer at the hands of irresponsible and self serving business owners.
Let’s look at these scenarios:
A PR consultant signs two contracts with an organization in Euclid, Ohio and a party rental business in Desoto, Texas. The owners of each of these businesses willingly and proudly signed the contracts the PR firm rendered them. Then chaos broke out.
As the work was completed and invoices sent to the party rental company in Texas, the owner stopped being so vocal about things that were needed, despite ordering a logo, PR services and other things to ensure the exposure of a bridal event. The PR consultant does the work by sending out information to all event boards and media outlets in a 25 mile or more radius from the hotel the event was to be held at, creates the logo and maintains documents for the event. The party rental company fails to pay the invoice three days after the event was held, so the PR consultant began negotiations to receive payment. In good faith the owners agree to all of the new payment terms, so much so that a fake payment was made in an effort to delay payment. The party rental company even insults the PR firm and claims work was never completed, despite being able to search for postings to various media outlets through all Internet search engines. After more than 90 days of collection attempts the PR consultants decides to seek an alternative collection method.
The organization in Ohio requested two logos, a website revamp and PR services. After promoting the event that was to be held in September to honor women who set the world on fire, a website revamp and many hours of meetings the owner of the organization decides not to pay the invoice and states financial hardship after the itemized invoice was sent. The owner even went as far as to file a complaint about the invoice being unclear with the Ohio State Attorney’s General. The owner refused letters of intent to sue but sent several emails stating payments would be made and even agreed to a payment arrangement and automatic withdrawals, which the owner went to the bank and rejected.
What do you think the owner of the PR firm did wrong?
Millions of Christian business owners have these same issues daily. They, in good faith, begin work thinking everything will be okay. They think with their heart and not their financial mind. It’s time to stop being placed on the back burner when it comes to bad business owners. So here are some tips to help you with getting paid:
Enforce your contract and all of the necessary and appropriate fees immediately. Do NOT wait until you are almost homeless before you enforce the policies of your contract. If you have a 90 day collection policy, then enforce it. You cannot have a bleeding heart when your business and livelihood suffers from individuals who refuse to pay for your services or products. Take time to get familiar with your local court procedures and keep copies of filing paperwork in your office as well as the fee so you can ensure timely filing with the courts.
Don’t negotiate payments structures. One of the things many business owners do is attempt to collect some money from BAD business owners. So much so that they are even more willing to just call it a loss. Don’t do this. If your client owes you $2,000 for services rendered, then collect your fees plus the cost of court. You have to ensure business owners are held accountable for bad business practices. If they don’t have the money to pay then you can file a judgement against them and force collection at tax time.
Set up automatic payments. This can be hard to maintain especially if the business owner is not keen on paying their bill on time but make every effort to collect credit card or bank information if you are not collecting all of your money upfront. When you do this you can set it automatically to draft out of their account into yours. Quickbooks has a great auto-pay system for business owners. Granted there is a fee for use but it beats not getting your money at all.
Change your payment structure. If you break up payments to accommodate your client and it always lead to your frustration, then it’s time to make a change. Instead of a payment plan, consider upfront payment or holding onto the work until the full payment is received. Keep in mind if you are struggling with this one… they either want to do business with you or they don’t but don’t lose money over it.
Say no. You can literally discern if a client has the potential to be a bad seed. If you feel that in your spirit then say no without feeling sorry and definitely without wondering how you are going to pay your bills. You have to have enough faith in God and in yourself to know a better deal will come along. Don’t worry about because it will save you financial headaches later.
Final thing, don’t forget to tithe. Yes tithing off what you make is a great way to ensure you will continue to have. You may experience setbacks but they won’t be as strong as the will be if you fail to honor God with your first fruits. So stop letting clients have their way with your finances… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!