Last week I wrote about learning how much to charge clients for your services and work. Lots of you left great comments, and I could tell I had hit a nerve. So, today I’d like to return to the topic of business finances. Only this week, I want to discuss getting paid on time.
In all of my contracts, I require that I get paid in full at least two weeks before the celebration, wedding or event I’ve been hired to design. Many others industry folks I know have similar requirements — it has been my experience that it’s fairly standard to request full payment between two weeks and one month prior to an event. And if a client doesn’t come through, the vendor can and should cancel.
However, I know there are some vendors who give their clients as much as thirty days after their event to settle their bill. I don’t understand this.
What incentive do your clients have to pay up after you’ve done a beautiful job for them and everything is over? And why would anyone want to pay on the day of their event or in the weeks afterward? Who wants to hassle with money on their wedding day or while they’re on their honeymoon? Personally, I think paying your bills is the last thing you’ll want to be doing then!
Over the years, I’ve faced a few very rare situations where clients either didn’t or couldn’t pay me on time. I’m a big fan of payment plans and set up this system with all of my clients — it has yet to fail me. One thing I avoid, though, is lawsuits; they are a waste of time and money. Even if you win, you lose.
Dear Readers, what is your approach? When and how do you require payment? Have you ever had trouble getting your money? How did you handle it? Did you sue or were you able to avoid going to court?