Fortunately, having a deadbeat client who owes me money doesn’t happen very often because I’ve put systems and processes in place. To this day, I still have never been totally stiffed on a payment because I eventually get my money.
However, there are a few occasions in which yes, I am owed a significant amount of money for work that I’ve done. This is where I call upon my experience having worked in a small business prior to running my own. I had to chase clients down for my old boss all the time, and I became a bit of a ninja at it. Here are some of the things you can do when a client owes you money.
Follow up with an email.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a Goodfellas moment, but hear me out. Sometimes, invoices really do get lost. Sometimes there’s also a total lack of communication between departments – especially if your clients happen to be large corporations. In this case you aren’t dealing with a deadbeat client, just disorganization.
This is why you can’t jump into this situation by busting down the door demanding your money. At this point it’s simply about sending follow-up emails to your contact to see what happened to the payment. This usually does the trick.
If that doesn’t work and all you hear is crickets or your client seems to be dodging you, then you begin imploring other methods outlines below.
Do some digging on LinkedIn to find the right contact.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool when you’re trying to find the right person to email about payment. I implored this method just recently when a client owed me money and my contact’s email seemed to be disconnected.
Fortunately, I’m aimed with the power of a signed contract, email correspondence, invoices and LinkedIn. I went on LinkedIn, searched the company name, found the head of the accounting department and contacted him. Why him? Because my last correspondence with my contact said the invoice information was handed over to the accounting department.
Aside from LinkedIn, you can also just call to find out. If emails don’t work I suggest calling to speak directly with the person.
Use your brand as leverage.
Making sure you get payment from a deadbeat client is another reason to make sure to you build your own brand with your own following. Why? Because you can use it as leverage when you tell the client that you will publicly write about your bad experience and share it with thousands of followers.
Fortunately, I’ve never had to do this, but I do have a few colleagues who have. I also wouldn’t be opposed to doing it if the company was really dragging their feet or just ignoring my requests.
Just note that while this method is extremely effective, it should only be used as a last resort. You also want to be respectful if you do end up putting them on blast.
Hopefully, if you’ve got the right systems and tools in place you won’t have to deal with many deadbeat clients. However, just in case you do, make sure to use a few of these tips to make sure you get paid.