{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I have a great loyal local client who has me on retainer. But with the covid pandemic, they have come on hard times and are about to be two months behind on payment. They keep sending me work and I want to support them pushing through this. I have considered offering product trade out instead of payment but am hesitant cuz I’d rather have them pay me once they’re on their feet. I also don’t want to keep working for free. Any advice?", "post_id": "5ea83b6515cc77001a5e481d", "reply_count": 17, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "The Work-Life Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }

I have a great loyal local client who has me on retainer. But with the covid pandemic, they have come on hard times and are about to be two months behind on payment. They keep sending me work and I want to support them pushing through this. I have considered offering product trade out instead of payment but am hesitant cuz I’d rather have them pay me once they’re on their feet. I also don’t want to keep working for free. Any advice?

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Talk to them. You want to keep them as clients and you don’t want them to lose the business. Let them know you appreciate their business and see what kind of plan you can work out with them. What gets negotiated between you both depends on how badly you require their payment and how much they can afford to pay you.

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Ask for a meetinvg and offer a payment plan (e.g. 25% of what’s owned now, the rest in 4 installments) given your excellent relationship etc.

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I second this. Just had to do the same thing myself, and the client took it really well.

Most of us are trained to believe that it's impolite to discuss money, but there's nothing wrong with discussing business. The funny thing is that discussing billing and contract stipulations IS business. If you approach it from that angle, they're unlikely to take anything personally.

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Are they likely to make it? If yes, negotiate some payment terms that work for them. If not, get what you can now in trade.

likehelpful

I think they’ll make it, and resume paying, I just have a hunch these two months might not ever get paid and remain invoiced limbo 😬

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Call a meeting to discuss the situation. Explain your position and see what unfolds.

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Depends on your value system.
Mine would tell me to do the right thing by discussing it with them and not worrying about the money right now, especially since you have a day job that pays the bills. Relationships are what matter in business. The positive word of mouth and the fact that they will probably be grateful for your loyalty and stick with you for life is invaluable. I would expect to get paid in full once things get better.
Our company has also allowed customers to defer payments or set up financing no questions asked, during this difficult time.

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Thank you so much, I think this hits on a lot of the things that are going back and forth in my mind and that I want our community and businesses to come out the other end of this in tact.

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Take 5% of the equity

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How big of a company are they?

How long have you been working with them?

How important is your relationship with them?

How pressed are you for money?

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They’re pretty small but have never missed a payment before and this is our third year in cahoots. I really enjoy the relationship with them and have been in talks to go in house with them in the past. But this is bringing to light the risks that could entail. I’m not as pressed for money as others since my in-house day job is still kicking full time, but this client has been a reliable source to supplement my income to span the gap between what my day job salary can pay me and what I should be getting paid (IMO) but feeling the pressure with my s/o out of work during this and I’m having to carry us both through this.

Think about your values - for your company and your client relationship. Prioritize this client, but work out a realistic way to ensure you aren't simply spending this time to work for free. And weigh how your available options will affect your financial health to determine your flexibility / negotiating appetite here. Can you pause / reduce the payments and have them make it up in a quarter or two? What is their likeliness of making up that money - are there red flags? Can they offer you something else of value in return, like equity?

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I'd have an honest conversation. They're a business. This is a business contract. Why on Earth would they just assume you would keep working for free?

If your pay is delayed or slashed or whatever, it should be done with full agreement from both parties. Not just because it happened and one party assumed it was okay. Maybe they have a lot going on and something was miscommunicated? Won't know unless you ask.

See if you can work out something agreeable to you both. If it were me, I would be willing to offer a discount or extended terms to keep the relationship going. I don't know that I'd be okay with just forgiving 2 months. They're a company. You're one person. Why would you bare the brunt of this situation?

smart

Honestly, I’d ask if they could do a payment plan. Some is better than nothing and it puts it on their radar.

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Can you hold your work as collateral until they pay?

I guess I could since the product doesn’t get made without the design work but then that also halts their sales process. And that might make it even harder for them to pay by further limiting money coming in. Definitely something to consider tho so thank you

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