Never Kill a Customer, Mungo!

Being self-employed has advantages, like for example following the own sleep-wake-rhythm or generally being able to do things the way one likes them to be done.
A down side is the fact that one depends on the payment of other people. And they pay – or not. Is it three weeks now? I finished some texts for an institution, it is the third or fourth time I read, corrected and edited these writings, now they may print them – gottbefohlen. I sent a (very friendly!) bill, but it does not work this way.
At the start of this month I got a small recherche, as you may remember I went to the Spessart to read church books; I sent over results, transcriptions, pictures, additional materials; I did it  fast to leave time for payment in time. Reaction – none.

I swear by the few things that remained holy to me: If I ever win the lottery or get a fixed position – whatever happens first – I swear that I will never ever again work for someone else, be it a private customer, a university or a company; I will never ever again make the mistake and believe in shallow words like “Yes, for money; we’ll pay you!”
The very least one could expect is that they pay the lousy hundreds dosh in time! Not even this. “Never kill a customer” … naja … not even a little bit, maybe?


12 thoughts on “Never Kill a Customer, Mungo!

  1. I did some freelance writing, editing, illustrating, programming as a side business. I only had one client who was delinquent in paying, but they did eventually pay. Considering the experiences of others, I may have been very lucky in this regard.

    Perhaps in the future, require a deposit before beginning work. For example, 50% of the estimated bill in advance. Here, it would not be a unusual requirement for either professional or skilled services. Of course, I have no idea of business practices in Franconia.

  2. It’s not inappropriate to say something on the topic, XL! The Vorauszahlung or Anzahlung is not uncommon, but mostly used when one purchases or buys something expensive, We will receive payment, in all those years we always received the amount in question – but never sooner, always later. The sad summit once reached the local cultural administration of the gouvernement – these bastards did not pay for four or five months. And we did it fulltime. If you want cash up front from an institution you will receive none, and there is the strong possibility “that other contenders are better suited for this peculiar task” …

    The Italian mob is of no use in the Balkans, Norma, one would need Russians. What means that I prefer to wait.

  3. Do you have a contract that you use with these people/institutions? I would perhaps have something in the contract that states the expected time frame for payment and that if payment is not made within the expected time that they would owe a certain amount of money more. Perhaps discussing the payment expectation upfront as well before taking a job would serve as a reminder to the person hiring you that you rely on these payments for your living expenses and delayed payments creates a financial burden.

  4. Hello Annabel, what a nice surprise to see you here! I have to beg your pardon for not having commented on your site for some time!
    For larger projects there is always a contract with the time frame, payments, different steps and points to reach. This is generally nice and will be followed mostly – but we had such a contract also when we waited for half a year on our money while we were working on the governement project – what I mentioned before in my answer to XL.
    On every billing is written “please pay two weeks after receiving this billing latest” – does not impress nobody. And the people in this actual case know very well that I have to live from this income.

  5. I wish I could give them a good talking to for you, Mago. That they know you need to be paid to live, like most people, and just don’t bother for weeks or months is despicable. And beyond my ken. Hope they cough up soon.

  6. I have a grand total of one client, which is a university, and whilst they are slow to pay, they are predictably and reliably slow, which is OK.

    And when the day inevitably comes when they don’t need me any more, I will at least have time to desperately seek more work, as the Uni will make their final payment weeks after I finish the work.

  7. I hope that one day I will read something written by the legendary MsScarlet again on the web …

    Mm …. you take contracts and work abroad, Eryl?

    Reliably slow is okay with me too 1looby. When I worked for a uni here the only payed after the semester. But this time I thought it was clear that I can not wait ’til hell freezes over – and what puzzles me is the absolute lack of reaction.

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