How to Deal With Non-Paying Clients

Being your own boss is not as easy and fun as it sounds to be. Undeniably, there are many positive aspects of owning a business and being your own boss but then there is other side of the coin which shows the hardships one has to face. Not just one there are many pros and cons of owning a business.

From flexibility of timing to being your own boss (nobody shouting at you to complete the targets) there are many positive aspects. While on the other hand if you are handling your own business you comes across problems like infrastructure, time management, team organization, finding clients and likewise.

If you think what’s the fuss about finding clients then you really need to re-think. Ask the designers, developers and other business owners as to how many type of irritating clients one comes across. Remember our article reading Types of Irritating Clients and How to Handle them? Gosh, there is actually a variety of irritating clients you come across and handling them is hard nut to crack. We hope that article of ours was of help.

Talk about ‘Bad Payers’ and you can find an immense range of articles dedicated to them for the fact that at one point or the other, lot many people land up in the situation where they feel bad about not understanding the warning signs and acting wisely. To help you all so that you don’t become the target of such irritating clients we come up with articles in which we list down some tips and tricks.

Recently, we came up with an article in which we talked in length about ‘How to know that your Design Clients Won’t Pay‘. The ways listed in the article are the only ones that can help you in understanding and getting that warning signal.

Now, once you have recognized the bad payers what should be your next step? Stop wondering and simply read on! Below we have listed down the ways to cope up with the clients who don’t pay you for your hard work.

We can divide dealing with ‘bad payers’ into two parts.

a). Before Taking The Project

1. Clear Payment Terms

Making your payment policies clear is the first and foremost step once you have decided to undertake the project. After you and your client have settled down at a particular price for the project, talk straightforwardly about the payment terms. Business proposals, payment terms and other important things should be well written and made clear before you finally take up the project and start working on it.

2. Mode of Payment

You need to be bit flexible on this as not all clients are same and not all of them can use the same mode of payment. It is suggestive to accept all forms of payment although credit card payment is a wise idea. If its possible for you, take credit cards. This can ease the client if s(he) is not having fund presently. Look for a merchant account provider and set up credit card processing for your business. It will help you and your clients a great deal in payment process.

3. Payment in Parts

Don’t ask or agree for payment after the completion of project. Ask for some part of the payment in advance and divide the rest in parts. Asking for some midway payment. Go for 30/30/40 payment part. 30 percent advance, 30 percent midway and 4o percent after the completion of the project. Accepting partial payments always works.

4. Get the Contract Sign

It is the wise idea to get your payment policies well stated clearly on your contract. Mention the terms and policies, payment in parts and other relevant details in the contract. The contract should be written in clear and concise manner. Easily understandable language is suggestive and ask your client to read the contract throughly before signing it.


b). After Taking The Project

 1. Send a summary

Once you and your client have settled on the partial payment system after particular parts of the project are done, send a summary in written. Sending summary makes you look serious and works as a great reminder to the client that its time for the payment. Sending a summary is a subtle and polite way of asking for your payment.

2. Ask for payment before you deliver the final product

This is a sure shot way of getting the complete payment. Its always give and take. Once you are over with the project, drop an email to the client asking for the total payment before you finally deliver the end result.  Hold back enough so that before you finally deliver the finished job.

3. Do the follow up

If you get this feeling that your client is not intending to pay you for your hard-work then you need to do the regular follow-ups. Keep dropping in reminders through modes like calls or e-mails. It is not just the completion for project that you have to do instead you should spare out time to make efforts on your part to get paid for your hard work. You might find it bugging but do it on daily basis.

4. No Point Waiting Indefinitely

Once you get the gut feeling that the client is going to prove to be a bad payer for the reason that (s)he stops answering your calls and responding to your e-mails and messages you should take action. It is suggested to wait for sometime but there no point waiting indefinitely. Professional people are committed and they do what they say. Ignoring your emails and calls can be a signal for you to take action.

5. Contact the credit agencies.

While you are the business owner you need to know some formalities to get paid for your hard-work. Contact the credit agencies. Getting the warning printed on the bottom of your invoices is not enough, you need to follow it up too if you want to be taken seriously.

It might sound harsh on your part but to get paid you need to actually move steps further especially incase of the clients who are not good payers. Also, you can inform the clients and give them some stipulated time to get the payment done else you will have to take this step. It’s a powerful tool to get paid.


To sum up, getting payment for your hardwork from the bad payers if you come across is a tough call sometimes but then there are ways to deal with it. If you follow these ways or you can call them tips before and after taking the project, there are very less chances that you will not be paid.

If you have ever got into such situation and dealt with it smartly do let what you did to get paid for your hard-work? Do share your experience and smart way you chose to handle the situation.


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