The 4 Trip-Wires to Compensation
You worked your fingers to the bone and your brain to the last pulsing morsel knowing that you should be able to FINALLY bask in the fruits of your hard-earned labor.
With a happy smile on your face, you bill your client.
And then… the bomb dropped.
No matter how rushed the project is, it does not automatically translate to a rushed payment. Because your client's finance department has RULES. And these rules totally side-eye your contract.
Alright, so your client agreed to your '50% downpayment upon initial presentation' deal and clearly signed off on it. But when collection time came, she went into complete panic because apparently, your cheque is still in the middle of a verrry long processing period. Can you do anything about it? Can she do anything about it? No. Because these are company rules which cannot be deterred even with the crudest hacksaw.
So you give in (because it's better to get paid late than never). With your thumbs gone raw from over-twiddling, the 90-day wait is up and you jump with complete and utter glee! Only to discover that the date on the cheque requires that you wait some more. You question your client on the postdated-ness and get another helpless reply. It's an in thing to release postdated checks nowadays. It's like saying 'Hey, I already paid you… NOT!' Company rules, company rules, company rules...
3. FOR DEPOSIT ONLY
After that extended wait, you run off to your bank to get the cheque encashed. New issue, my friend. Easy money is still a dream as the cheque can only be deposited. Because that's the only kind of cheque your client's finance department releases. Per rules. Per engraved-in-stone rules.
4. 3-DAY CLEARANCE
And so you twiddle the remaining bones of your thumbs as you wait for another three days for your cheque to get cleared.
When it finally does, you withdraw your money. By this time, you're just way too emotionally exhausted to celebrate.
Is there a cure for this kind of business setback? Not much, I'm afraid. Company rules debunk your well-written (and SIGNED!) contract when 'There's really nothing we can do.' comes into the conversation. The only way you can prepare for such hurdles is to be in-the-know. Before accepting the project, dig deep into your client's company compensation rules. It's not enough to stick by your own terms and conditions for some negotiations. Your client is not always the voice of cheque releases either. But you can always grill her to find out what finance monster you're dealing with so you can prepare for it.
If you can handle the wait, then all is good --so long as you have this all written down and signed by 'the real person concerned' so that there will be no further trip-wires along the way.
Send reminders regularly. Some clients have a tendency to 'forget' processing your payment that you have to give them that extra nudge to get the ball rolling.
And don't put all your eggs in one particular client basket. Keep working on other projects just in case another client decides to drop a surprise billing bomb.
Well, that's all i can think of to keep yourself protected. Research will always be your shield. That and possibly getting some legal backbone support.
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