One of the things that people don’t tell you about running your own business, is how much time you can sometimes spend chasing down money that’s owed to you. It’s just part of the job sometimes and it sucks. Ideally, you want to set yourself up for success from the beginning so that this DOESN’T happen. But there are sometimes instances that happen where you don’t get paid, your contact went missing or the brand refuses to pay you. So what do you do? How can you make sure you get paid on time?
First, let’s chat about how you can set yourself up on your end to reduce the likelihood of this happening. Here are some important things to have set up for our business to prevent nonpayment or even delayed payments from happening.
What To Do When You Haven’t Been Paid
Have A Contract
By having everyone involved in a partnership signing a contract, it legally holds everyone accountable. You can check out our contract template here in our library if you’re a member! Contracts should include a pay schedule and also a late payment clause.
Send An Invoice + W9
By sending an invoice and W9 right away, it allows the brand to begin processing payment. Make sure your invoice has a clear payment date and any payment terms.
We love to use Wave Apps for creating our invoices. It allows you to add an option to pay by credit card or by ACH. Sure it takes out a small fee, but you’ll likely get paid faster. And it may reduce the risk of not getting paid in general.
Set Yourself A Reminder
Put on your calendar one week before payment is due to follow up with the brand to ensure they have everything they need to process your payment. Sometimes things slip people’s minds and they just need a friendly reminder. Maybe they need you to fill out a form that they didn’t send at first. Setting a reminder will keep you on top of your invoices and top of mind for people who owe you money.
Now that you’ve done everything on your part to make sure you do get paid, there’s still the off chance that a brand may just not want to pay you. Or totally forget. What do you do?
Follow up persistently. Give yourself 1-2 weeks to follow up and get an update that you can. Sometimes it’s just being the squeaky wheel that will get you paid. If this doesn’t work, move on to Step Two.
CALL THEM! Pick up the phone and give them a call. This will likely get a fire under their butts. When you call, be sure to ask if there’s someone in accounts payable who you can reach out to. This is the person in the organization who is responsible for paying any invoices to vendors.
If you’re still not getting a response from your contact and also accounts payable, you will need to send a payment demand letter. This letter is designed to be a final notice that payment is due before taking legal action. You can easily Google sample payment demand letters to get an idea of what should be included. Or you can always work with a lawyer to help create this. This letter will usually escalate the situation and hopefully get you paid finally.
What To Do If Nothing Works?
What to do if none of these things work? You may want to reach out to a lawyer to discuss your options. But oftentimes, it’s not worth the legal fees. Suck it up, learn from it and move on. We’ve all been there and it happens, so ensure you have systems in place to prevent this from happening in the future. And as always, work with reputable brands and agencies who respect the blogging industry