Sometimes you get a jerk who doesn't pay you - even when you've got a freelance writing contract. Sure, you can take him to small claims court and eventually get your money (sometimes)... but you need to start a paper trail immediately.
Your paper trail needs to include your contract, your requests for payment and any records of attempts you've made to collect. Save all email correspondence with every client - no matter what.
Once you've got your ducks in a row, you can send a collection letter. Some freelance writers are reluctant to send collection letters. Don't be.
It's your money. You earned it, and the guy who isn't paying you is the jerk - not you.
Your freelance writing fee collection letter should:
- be typed on company letterhead
- include your name & contact information
- include the deadbeat client's name & contact information
- reference previous correspondence you've had with the deadbeat client, including payment terms
- include the amount he owes you
- include the payment methods you accept
Here's a template I've used with success:
Your first attempt at collection should be polite and to-the-point. Don't be rude, and don't threaten with anything you can't back up (like saying you're going to put it on his credit report or anything) - especially in the first letter.
Sometimes the missed payment is an oversight... but if that deadbeat has been dodging your calls and ignoring your emails, it probably isn't.
Do you have a form letter for collections? Do you use it frequently?
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© Angie Papple Johnston 2011.
Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.