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Old 07-09-2012, 03:42 PM   #1
 
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An agency client of mine has expressed disappointment at my polite refusal of very small jobs. I like the company personally, and the jobs are generally interesting, but they can take up to 90 days to pay. I don't consider this reasonable, although like many slow-payers, they claim it's "normal." They do not frequently use me, so I'm not on a "small checks continually trickling in" basis with them.

What has been your experience with payment as a freelancer?

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Old 07-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #2
 
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An agency client of mine has expressed disappointment at my polite refusal of very small jobs. I like the company personally, and the jobs are generally interesting, but they can take up to 90 days to pay. I don't consider this reasonable, although like many slow-payers, they claim it's "normal." They do not frequently use me, so I'm not on a "small checks continually trickling in" basis with them.

What has been your experience with payment as a freelancer?

TIA
Ninety days is not normal. I find payment times can vary widely, usually averaging about 30 days or so. The projects that I do that pay little usually pay quickly. Otherwise, what's the motivation to do it?

I have been waiting, however, a good 90 plus days to be paid for a piece that's already been published. Frustrating. I've also been waiting almost 90 days to be edited on a piece. Editor is completely ignoring me. Infuriating. I do know the piece is in the sked for October, so I don't get the radio silence. If the piece sucks, tell me! I'll revise.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:44 PM   #3
 
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Thanks for your input, journo. I feel that a 30 day turnaround is tolerable, though not ideal. I've begun requesting a down payment from my business clients, and that's been very helpful. I do find it's the more challenging clients who treat one cheaply then claim it's customary. And naturally they're the most demanding, as well.

Sorry for your delays. A slow-moving editor is annoying, indeed. I sincerely hope you get paid soon, as well. I've been there, heaven knows.
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:09 PM   #4
 
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Thanks for your input, journo. I feel that a 30 day turnaround is tolerable, though not ideal. I've begun requesting a down payment from my business clients, and that's been very helpful. I do find it's the more challenging clients who treat one cheaply then claim it's customary. And naturally they're the most demanding, as well.

Sorry for your delays. A slow-moving editor is annoying, indeed. I sincerely hope you get paid soon, as well. I've been there, heaven knows.
Fortunately, I've got a contract gig that's 9 to 5, so for now, it's not a hardship if someone pays slowly.

Magazines and web publications don't go for the downpayments. That's something that my husband does with his production company though, with any client.
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
 
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I know, which is one reason I'm less and less interested in magazine and straight web writing. Good for you getting something ongoing. That's the direction I'm trying to move in.

It stings that this friendly client is taking my refusal so personally. I've been pay-delayed so many times in the past with others (most notably, a poorly run newspaper, though there have been others) that I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. So why the mini-lecture about "life as a freelancer" and the letdown?
Business is business.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:13 PM   #6
 
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I know, which is one reason I'm less and less interested in magazine and straight web writing. Good for you getting something ongoing. That's the direction I'm trying to move in.

It stings that this friendly client is taking my refusal so personally. I've been pay-delayed so many times in the past with others (most notably, a poorly run newspaper, though there have been others) that I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. So why the mini-lecture about "life as a freelancer" and the letdown?
Business is business.
I think it's because people in general don't value words/writing as a skill set. They think it's something that you're just magically able to do because you're "creative" and don't see writing as something you've worked hard at to develop.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:31 PM   #7
 
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But she's a writer herself! She knows how hard it is.

Sometimes people get mad when you walk away from something they wouldn't, I suppose. I'm not really sure. If my refusal is increasing her workload, perhaps they require someone willing to stand for the extreme pay delays?
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:44 PM   #8
 
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I'm not a freelancer but I've hired many of them. It's normal to require payment within 30 days and charge a late fee for every 30 days they're late. If you're not doing that, you definitely should. It is also normal for freelancers to require a certain amount up front.

You can also charge more for smaller jobs to make up for the fact that it's not as lucrative. Again, perfectly normal.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:37 AM   #9
 
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Thank you so much for that information, mrsp.

They've actually tried to cap my fee at less than my hourly rate.

I think I've been a bit naive about their niceness v. their business practices.
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