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Unread 07-06-2011, 12:39 AM   #1
Doug Miles
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Default What would you do?

I did an event on June 2 for a local YMCA. I expected payment the night of the event, but the "Treasurer" was not present. So I gave an invoice to the person I had been dealing with, and they told me they would have a check sent to me. Well, it's been a little over a month and I have yet to see a check.

This happened to me once before, and everything turned out ok in the end. And, I suspect it will this time also. Problem is that I could really use the money right now. Now, before I blast the customer (once again), I'll set the record straight. In my haste and confusion, I never sent them a contract, so I don't have a good case for "payment when services are rendered". Although, that should be expected, IMHO. But, I have now made two phone calls to my "contact", which in my opinion I should not have to do.

So my questions is, what would you do? Would you have demanded payment before even setting up at the event? Would you have demanded payment before leaving for the night? Would you have implemented a "penalty" for late payment? I'm not sure how to handle this. I don't like any of the above solutions, mainly because that tends to put the customer on the defensive, and might effect future business with them. I'm pretty sure I will get paid, and I would definitely do another event for them. So, what can I do right now? I really have no idea how these types of organizations operate. Am I using the wrong terms, or saying the wrong things? Any thoughts?
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Unread 07-06-2011, 08:16 AM   #2
JPR
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Send them another bill showing an outstanding balance, maybe write up a short letter showing balance and stating how long it has been outstanding. Obviously keep it courteous. I've dealt with YMCA's before and they to have been slow. You maay want to wait a week or two before doing anything. This time of year everyone is slow due to vacationing.

When it comes to these types of organizations (YMCA's, schools, churches, corporations, etc) I usually invoice them and accept payment later. It's just how they work usually. To work with them you have to deal with their red tape. I know it sucks becaue you do a job and you want to get paid.
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Unread 07-06-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
JPR
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Forgot to add that you should always do these type of things in writing. And if it really becomes an issue certify the letters. If you have to take legal action or use a collection agency you have to show that you made an effort to collect.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
Mackinac Movies
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Unfortunately every now and then, yes it does happen. Just happened to me at a wedding last week. What am I gonna do, ruin their wedding? Yes they should have had their check to me 2 weeks before the even, like their contract states, but every now and then, it happens.

Organizations, are not businesses, and usually don't have a full time treasurer. Sometimes it takes 4-6 weeks to process bills at our snowmobile club. That is just the way it happens, we try to take care of it, but people have to prioritize.

Now one thing I will say, it you gotta cover yourself from a liability standpoint. Having an informal relationship with someone is OK, but I would have shown up with contract in hand, and before I started, gotten someone from the organization to sign it. Would the payment clauses hold up? Probably. But what if something happened? No contract at all and you are in a tough spot. If you have someones signature, then at least you have some defense.

Send them an overdue invoice, you will get you $$.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:07 PM   #5
Doug Miles
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Yep, you guys make good points.

Good news is that I got the check yesterday. I wasn't really concerned that they would "stiff" me, I just really needed the money now. Glad to hear that it's not just me when working with these kind of organizations. And, I can't blame them, I know how organizations often work. Oh well, just something we need to deal with I guess.
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