I have a couple of clients that are in a habit of paying their invoices late. In truth, I have several clients that regularly pay a couple of months late but as the fees involved are usually quite small I don't get too vexed about them.
But one particular client usually pays their invoices between 1 and 2 months late (and even then only after me repeatedly chasing). The invoices involved are moderately large - roughly 1/2 to a full months' income.
They do always pay in full in the end, and are otherwise an okay client, who has provided a pretty steady stream of work over the past 4 or 5 years. Yet I am not reliant upon them and have recently turned away some nice projects because I'm busy on their stuff.
A couple of months' back a large invoice was unpaid a couple of months down the line, despite repeated reminders. I contacted them to say that I was unhappy with this and from now on all invoices would be due upon receipt and should any invoice be 30 days overdue I would halt work until it has cleared.
The business owner and my marketing contact there were both apologetic and said they'd make sure it did not happen again.
Yet, this month, the same situation. Because (mostly) of the late payment of this invoice, my business account became overdrawn. As there is no work ongoing with them at this very moment, I can't "halt" work.
I am wondering what my next step should be.
An ultimatum: "I am a small independent business. If you want me to continue working with me I need invoices to be paid within 30 days. If you are not able to do that then - with regret - I will have to stop working with you. If that is the case then I'll send a final invoice to settle the account and provide you with backups of all work completed to date."
From now on, all work must be prepaid: "So from now on we will work on a retained basis. I suggest a monthly budget of £xxx. You will transfer this to me by monthly standing order. When the budget is used up I will stop work. We can increase or decrease the retainer amount according to needs, however it does need to be paid monthly and on time."
Bite my tongue and continue chasing!
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