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Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


I'm going to keep this pretty vague as I know the modeling industry is a small world and I don't want what I'm saying here to come back to bite me. But I need help.

I did some hair/makeup for someone on two occasions, the last being Nov 3rd. I gave this person a deal memo to sign, outlining everything. We discussed payment dates together, in which I feel I applied no pressure to pay me quickly, and I let them write down a date of final payment (Nov 12th) then they signed it. I received a partial payment of 200 at the time of my services, but they still owe me 360.

I called Nov 13th to find out if the money order was mailed as promised on Nov 12th. I got an excuse. They said they could pay me friday (the 16th), so I called today to find out if I can pick up my money tomorrow, and I got more excuses. Now they're telling me monday "maybe, hopefully, I'll try".

I wouldn't normally be pushy about this, but I'm moving to another city in about a month and if I don't get paid before I move, I'm never getting paid. I don't want this person to know I'm moving, for that reason.

Any suggestions?
Nov 15 12 09:29 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I'm going to keep this pretty vague as I know the modeling industry is a small world and I don't want what I'm saying here to come back to bite me. But I need help.

I did some hair/makeup for someone on two occasions, the last being Nov 3rd. I gave this person a deal memo to sign, outlining everything. We discussed payment dates together, in which I feel I applied no pressure to pay me quickly, and I let them write down a date of final payment (Nov 12th) then they signed it. I received a partial payment of 200 at the time of my services, but they still owe me 360.

I called Nov 13th to find out if the money order was mailed as promised on Nov 12th. I got an excuse. They said they could pay me friday (the 16th), so I called today to find out if I can pick up my money tomorrow, and I got more excuses. Now they're telling me monday "maybe, hopefully, I'll try".

I wouldn't normally be pushy about this, but I'm moving to another city in about a month and if I don't get paid before I move, I'm never getting paid. I don't want this person to know I'm moving, for that reason.

Any suggestions?

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. A phone call is more powerful than a letter, a personal visit more powerful than a call and becoming a constant presence in their life is about as powerful as it gets.
How badly do you want the 360?
ETA: If this person is local you may want to pay them repeated visits demanding a small "token" amount each time until the full balance is paid.

Nov 15 12 09:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


I definitely thought about that! But I also don't know what connections this person has in the industry, and I don't necessarily want to be known by others as a nuisance this early on in my career.

I also thought about sending this person a letter via registered mail next week (along with more frequent phone calls), summarizing what has happened since they failed to pay me. I think most people know what that means...that I'm gathering documentation to take them to court. Which of course, I won't! I'm moving in a month! But it might strike some fear into their heart.

But I'm just wondering if I'm being rude. Is this just the industry? Or is a contract a contract and I'm not out of line to pursue my payment?
Nov 15 12 10:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NewBoldPhoto
Posts: 4,897
PORT MURRAY, New Jersey, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I definitely thought about that! But I also don't know what connections this person has in the industry, and I don't necessarily want to be known by others as a nuisance this early on in my career.

I also thought about sending this person a letter via registered mail next week (along with more frequent phone calls), summarizing what has happened since they failed to pay me. I think most people know what that means...that I'm gathering documentation to take them to court. Which of course, I won't! I'm moving in a month! But it might strike some fear into their heart.

But I'm just wondering if I'm being rude. Is this just the industry? Or is a contract a contract and I'm not out of line to pursue my payment?

You're not out of line to expect to get paid. Be aware that taking someone to court over $360 is a losing proposition and this person knows that. How far are you moving and how far do you honestly think this person can reach?
ETA: You might be expecting a bit much if you are hoping to get paid in under 30days What were the terms of the agreement?

Nov 15 12 10:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Howick Image Studio
Posts: 906
Clifford, Ontario, Canada


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I definitely thought about that! But I also don't know what connections this person has in the industry, and I don't necessarily want to be known by others as a nuisance this early on in my career.

I also thought about sending this person a letter via registered mail next week (along with more frequent phone calls), summarizing what has happened since they failed to pay me. I think most people know what that means...that I'm gathering documentation to take them to court. Which of course, I won't! I'm moving in a month! But it might strike some fear into their heart.

But I'm just wondering if I'm being rude. Is this just the industry? Or is a contract a contract and I'm not out of line to pursue my payment?

If you have a signed contract, doing what is necessary to enforce it would only be considered rude nor a nuisance by someone intending not to pay.  Small Claims Court (or its equivalent in your state) is your friend in cases like the one you describe.

Nov 15 12 10:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
LC Makeup and Styling
Posts: 90
Perth, Western Australia, Australia


Not being rude or a nuisance at all! You did the work and deserve to be paid for it and they've signed that they will pay you.  Did you remind them of what they signed?  Maybe tell them each week you are coming by to pick up $150 and the 3rd week the final payment of $60.  If she couldnt afford this, she shouldnt have hired you in the first place.  I would definately be more persistant. $360 is alot of money!
Nov 15 12 10:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


I'm moving about 2500 miles away. So yeah, there probably wouldn't be any damage to my reputation, except if they find me on google and write a bad review of my young business. Probably unlikely still, but I'm trying to be as professional as possible.

I acknowledge that not very much time has passed. But I also told this person, "No rush on the date(s) of payment, lets work out what works for you. Just write on the contract the latest date you could pay me, for my own records." And they said, "Oh no, I'll pay you quickly, probably a week. Lets say the 12th". Which they wrote down and signed. I said ok!

It is definitely a small amount of money to pursue in small claims court, but I wondered if sending letters of that type might startle them just enough to pay up. Sounds like not sad
Nov 15 12 10:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Howick Image Studio
Posts: 906
Clifford, Ontario, Canada


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I'm moving about 2500 miles away. So yeah, there probably wouldn't be any damage to my reputation, except if they find me on google and write a bad review of my young business. Probably unlikely still, but I'm trying to be as professional as possible.

I acknowledge that not very much time has passed. But I also told this person, "No rush on the date(s) of payment, lets work out what works for you. Just write on the contract the latest date you could pay me, for my own records." And they said, "Oh no, I'll pay you quickly, probably a week. Lets say the 12th". Which they wrote down and signed. I said ok!

It is definitely a small amount of money to pursue in small claims court, but I wondered if sending letters of that type might startle them just enough to pay up. Sounds like not sad

It doesn't matter how much time has passed - default is default.  Send the registered letter as you suggest, demanding a final payment within 7 days, then be prepared to file a Small Claims Court action the following day if payment is not received.  Filing cost tends to range $50-75., depending on jurisdiction.  The filing fee and any expenses incurred to collect prior to the claim should be added to the $360. debt.

Nov 15 12 10:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


I highly doubt my case would be heard within the next month, but I will send the letter anyways.

What do you guys think about me showing up at the business with some other people? Not necessarily big beefy dudes, but for example, my husband and brother in law hah. Just average size people. But thats 3-1. Strength in numbers? Or is that taking it too far? :p
Nov 15 12 10:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Howick Image Studio
Posts: 906
Clifford, Ontario, Canada


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I highly doubt my case would be heard within the next month, but I will send the letter anyways.

What do you guys think about me showing up at the business with some other people? Not necessarily big beefy dudes, but for example, my husband and brother in law hah. Just average size people. But thats 3-1. Strength in numbers? Or is that taking it too far? :p

Not a supporter of intimidation tactics. 

No idea how effectively the Oregon SCC works, but the offices that accept claims are usually pretty co-operative.  If you tell them you are moving to another state soon, they may be able to fast track the claim, or tell you how to deal with it from afar.

Nov 15 12 11:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


Good to know! Thanks!
Nov 15 12 11:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
In Balance Photography
Posts: 3,370
Boston, Massachusetts, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
...
But I also don't know what connections this person has in the industry, and I don't necessarily want to be known by others as a nuisance this early on in my career.
...

Don't worry about that. What's the likelihood that someone that can't come up with a few hundred dollars to pay your bill has any influence with anyone in the industry with any kind of importance?

Nov 16 12 04:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,739
Houston, Texas, US


A photographer friend of mine, went to the business's address to try to get a check.  She was given the run-around, like you.  She decided to order the stinkiest pizza she could find. She ate it in the lobby, stinking up the whole place.... She left with payment in full..

Obviously not THE tactic for all occasions.  I'd say you need to keep calling.  I sent a certified, signed receipt letter on more than one occasion with very strict language about how they had not kept  to their part of the bargain.   Most of the time I got paid..but it took constant badgering.

I agree with the above post...  No one in the industry will fault you for trying to collect on your invoice.  They've all had to do the exact same thing, at some point.   You don't need to advertise it. But in my beginning years, I DID have a list that I and fellow photographers kept of bad/slow paying clients and we shared that readily.   Needless to say those clients did not stay in business terribly long.
Nov 16 12 05:28 am  Link  Quote 
Clothing Designer
Wilde Hunt Corsetry
Posts: 343
Columbus, Ohio, US


I've found being consistent and polite about requesting the money is key. If you can send them a Paypal invoice the day before they get paid, it helps keep you fresh in their thoughts. Paying via Paypal is a lot more convenient than writing a check and the more barriers you can eliminate to them opening their wallet - the better. Paypal also has a "reminder" button too, if they don't pay you within a few days - don't hesitate to click that button!

It's also  helpful to call them and explain that this money owed to you is basically the equivalent of you missing an entire pay check and that you really count on that money to pay your bills. I think sometimes people don't understand that this isn't just for fun - this is your livelihood.

Best luck getting paid, I hope it works out for you. I know it really sucks to be in this situation!
Nov 17 12 01:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


I sent them a very polite letter set to arrive today, summarizing everything thats happened and asking for payment by the 27th. I really hope it works...I know that appealing to this persons moral side and basically guilt tripping them will work better than being rude and demanding payment, even though thats what I really want to do!

What do you guys do...do you ask in advance for full payment the day of the service? Being that this is one of my first jobs I booked outside my salon, I think I went in too naive. But the photographer I was working with had worked with this business several times before. So obviously they pay him ha
Nov 17 12 01:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
_PURE_
Posts: 24
Honolulu, Hawaii, US


Thoughts:

1) You generally don't hear about mm'ers billing much.

2) This is why you generally don't hear about mm'ers billing much.
Nov 17 12 02:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
But I'm just wondering if I'm being rude. Is this just the industry? Or is a contract a contract and I'm not out of line to pursue my payment?

There is no industry where failure to fulfill a contract and to satisfy a debt is acceptable.

Why would you even think you are out of line expecting another person to fulfill their end of a written agreement?

If you don't get the money before you move it's not lost forever just because you're not in the area. People do business with others all over the world, not just with people in their own town.

If you haven't received payment by the time you leave contact a collections agency and turn it over to them. They will take a percentage of the amount that's received from the debt and they will send the appropriate collection letters, further actions, reporting to a credit agency if it gets to that, etc. But at least you won't have to deal with it personally.

Edit: Personal handwritten or typed letters are most likely going to do no good. They will be disregarded. If you're going to take the collection upon yourself find out about the collections process and get form letters and research when to schedule them.

This link might help with general info. This is business. You should feel no guilt collecting your money. The person felt no guilt obtaining your services and receiving those benefits.

http://www.wikihow.com/Collect-Small-Business-Debt

Nov 17 12 03:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DG at studio47
Posts: 2,364
East Ridge, Tennessee, US


Do you know any lawyers? Sometimes a lawyer will write a "letter" that can dislodge $$$ from someones pocketbook.

In the future, get paid WHEN you do the work--period.I always have the $$ in a nice thank you card ready to hand to the MUA/HS at the shoot.
Nov 17 12 03:13 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


In Balance Photography wrote:

Don't worry about that. What's the likelihood that someone that can't come up with a few hundred dollars to pay your bill has any influence with anyone in the industry with any kind of importance?

AGREED!      I don't fear people that don't have a pot to piss in.  People just don't pay attention to them generally.

so this is a business that owes you?  were the photos used commercially? Who owes you, the business or the photographer that was hired by the business?

Nov 17 12 03:58 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I sent them a very polite letter set to arrive today, summarizing everything thats happened and asking for payment by the 27th. I really hope it works...I know that appealing to this persons moral side and basically guilt tripping them will work better than being rude and demanding payment, even though thats what I really want to do!

What do you guys do...do you ask in advance for full payment the day of the service? Being that this is one of my first jobs I booked outside my salon, I think I went in too naive. But the photographer I was working with had worked with this business several times before. So obviously they pay him ha

Just my 2 cents


Sounds like you've been a sweetie and I think you should continue being a sweetie , they know you want to get paid, you said they were moral , maybe they are having some serious financial problems.  I mean really. It's not a lot of money but if you need it really badly I'd say it once and let it go. You never know where this relationship can build to and being the " good guy" works better than being a nag. From the way you make it sound they feel bad and are aware   If you can afford it.  Extend an olive branch...... A lot of people are having financial difficulties
Better to save the relationship and have them think of you fondly
Than threaten someone with a court case or any other aggresive action

Nov 17 12 04:01 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


TheMakeupMan wrote:
Just my 2 cents


Sounds like you've been a sweetie and I think you should continue being a sweetie , they know you want to get paid, you said they were moral , maybe they are having some serious financial problems.  I mean really. It's not a lot of money but if you need it really badly I'd say it once and let it go. You never know where this relationship can build to and being the " good guy" works better than being a nag. From the way you make it sound they feel bad and are aware   If you can afford it.  Extend an olive branch...... A lot of people are having financial difficulties
Better to save the relationship and have them think of you fondly
Than threaten someone with a court case or any other aggresive action

I do agree...and this is why I asked what the photos were for...

If they were for commercial ads, something like that...I would be more assertive because this is a business dealing with a business and they used me to make money.  If it's a photographer trying to build his or her portfolio I would be much more forgiving...  But then what if it's a photographer that charged the customer for my services and then kept my money?  well then assertive turns into aggressive and small claims would be an option.  I need much more info on the person owing the money to really give accurate advice.

Nov 17 12 04:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I definitely thought about that! But I also don't know what connections this person has in the industry, and I don't necessarily want to be known by others as a nuisance this early on in my career.

I also thought about sending this person a letter via registered mail next week (along with more frequent phone calls), summarizing what has happened since they failed to pay me. I think most people know what that means...that I'm gathering documentation to take them to court. Which of course, I won't! I'm moving in a month! But it might strike some fear into their heart.

But I'm just wondering if I'm being rude. Is this just the industry? Or is a contract a contract and I'm not out of line to pursue my payment?

You're not out of line to pursue your payment even without a contract.

Go in person, don't accept a check, cash or money order.

When people don't have the money to pay you and they are going to, they say "I don't have the money". When people say they are going to pay you and don't, they're going to do everything they can to avoid paying you, and this will not have been their first time doing it.

They will turn the tables on you and try to make you feel guilty "everyone is struggling in this economy, why are you being like this?" or make you feel fear "This is a bad reputation for you to have." Do not fall for this crap. They can't retell the story without announcing that their word is no good. They can flat out lie, but they're in the wrong, they have no reason to do that. The only people who would spread lies intentionally will do that regardless of you pursuing the money that you're owed.

Also, you don't want the opposite story spread - that if people don't pay you, you won't pursue them.

Collecting money can be very tough. In some cases it's worth it to accept less to not have to spend the time to collect the full amount.

I've had people take two years to pay me, 14 months of which involved lawyers.

Small claims court is very easy. And if you have something in writing, there should be no problem. I can't see why you wouldn't spend the $20 and file on Monday.

The only negative thing about filing is that they'll use it as a way to delay payment. Why should they pay you now when you've filed the breech out contract suit?

If they're smart, they'll ask for an adjournment which can postpone for another four months. They probably can't ask for a second. Then once you win they'll have 30 days to pay you and if they don't you'll have to hire a marshall to collect.

That's a long time before you get paid, but if asking isn't doing anything, then at least it puts a definite date on it.


Also, it's important to not make any threats of any kind. One, because you have to follow through if they call your bluff and two, it may put you in the wrong. This person has been through this game before and is probably very experienced. Do you know anyone else he/she has hired or their close friends? I bet for the most part, you're totally separate from any other part of their life, which means they keep people away from each other as a way to control them, which is a sign that they've been playing this game a long time and will be way ahead of you and have no problem lying.

If you're persistent you'll get it. I think one reason to follow through with all of the unpleasantness is that it will make it easier for you to insist on payment in full upfront. Once you apply the make up, you've got no leverage.

Nov 17 12 04:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Mary wrote:

I do agree...and this is why I asked what the photos were for...

If they were for commercial ads, something like that...I would be more assertive because this is a business dealing with a business and they used me to make money.  If it's a photographer trying to build his or her portfolio I would be much more forgiving...  But then what if it's a photographer that charged the customer for my services and then kept my money?  well then assertive turns into aggressive and small claims would be an option.  I need much more info on the person owing the money to really give accurate advice.

Small claims is not aggressive. It's a very civilized and professional way to handle things.

Nov 17 12 04:11 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
D S P
Posts: 510
Portland, Oregon, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
In the future, get paid WHEN you do the work--period.I always have the $$ in a nice thank you card ready to hand to the MUA/HS at the shoot.

This is what I do when I'm the party responsible for paying the freelance support people.

Nov 17 12 04:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


TheMakeupMan wrote:

Just my 2 cents


Sounds like you've been a sweetie and I think you should continue being a sweetie , they know you want to get paid, you said they were moral , maybe they are having some serious financial problems.  I mean really. It's not a lot of money but if you need it really badly I'd say it once and let it go. You never know where this relationship can build to and being the " good guy" works better than being a nag. From the way you make it sound they feel bad and are aware   If you can afford it.  Extend an olive branch...... A lot of people are having financial difficulties
Better to save the relationship and have them think of you fondly
Than threaten someone with a court case or any other aggresive action

People who are having financial difficulties have no business agreeing to rates they can't afford. And this person is not claiming financial difficulties.

In this case, you don't want to save the relationship because all it means is that you'll be going through the same thing again. If you're not getting paid, it's called volunteering, so there's no need to worry about working for them again.

Nov 17 12 04:14 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


MC Photo wrote:
Small claims is not aggressive. It's a very civilized and professional way to handle things.

In my market, small claims is considered aggressive and a last resort. To be used rarely.

Nov 17 12 04:15 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


Mary. Your always spot on.   Love you !
Nov 17 12 04:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

There is no industry where failure to fulfill a contract and to satisfy a debt is acceptable.

Why would you even think you are out of line expecting another person to fulfill their end of a written agreement?

If you don't get the money before you move it's not lost forever just because you're not in the area. People do business with others all over the world, not just with people in their own town.

If you haven't received payment by the time you leave contact a collections agency and turn it over to them. They will take a percentage of the amount that's received from the debt and they will send the appropriate collection letters, further actions, reporting to a credit agency if it gets to that, etc. But at least you won't have to deal with it personally.

Edit: Personal handwritten or typed letters are most likely going to do no good. They will be disregarded. If you're going to take the collection upon yourself find out about the collections process and get form letters and research when to schedule them.

This link might help with general info. This is business. You should feel no guilt collecting your money. The person felt no guilt obtaining your services and receiving those benefits.

http://www.wikihow.com/Collect-Small-Business-Debt

+1

It's very important to know that it's not wrong to ask for what you've been promised.

There are ways to ask that are wrong, but asking isn't.

Nov 17 12 04:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


TheMakeupMan wrote:
Sounds like you've been a sweetie and I think you should continue being a sweetie , they know you want to get paid, you said they were moral , maybe they are having some serious financial problems.  I mean really. It's not a lot of money but if you need it really badly I'd say it once and let it go. You never know where this relationship can build to and being the " good guy" works better than being a nag. From the way you make it sound they feel bad and are aware   If you can afford it.  Extend an olive branch...... A lot of people are having financial difficulties
Better to save the relationship and have them think of you fondly
Than threaten someone with a court case or any other aggresive action

Well, as long as they feel bad about it now AFTER receiving the OP's services, that's what's important.

Why would the OP care if a business dealing who was unable to pay thinks of her fondly? Fond thoughts because she forgot about a debt they owed? Where was their morality when they were accepting her services if, as you say, they might be having financial difficulties?

What if she treated every non-paying client that way and just forgave every debt so they would have pleasant memories of her? How long would she be in business? Probably not long, but at least they'd have fond memories of their joyous times shared.

There's no need for anybody's feelings to be hurt. No reason for a business relationship to suffer. No bad karma or ill-will associated with collecting on a debt. This isn't a morality issue. It's business. You receive a service. You pay for that service. If you can't afford that service...you don't purchase it.

I'm all for trying to work out a scheduled payment plan and doing everything possible to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. But all these excuses why a client might not be paying or the advice to forgive the debt in the interest of benevolence and goodwill isn't doing anyone any favors.

The OP didn't ask, "How can I get my deadbeat clients to like me?" She asked how do I get this person to pay me.

And doesn't anybody find it interesting how those financial difficulties only occur AFTER they've received what they needed?

Nov 17 12 04:32 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

Well, as long as they feel bad about it now AFTER receiving the OP's services, that's what's important.

Why would the OP care if a business dealing who was unable to pay thinks of her fondly? Fond thoughts because she forgot about a debt they owed? Where was their morality when they were accepting her services if, as you say, they might be having financial difficulties?

What if she treated every non-paying client that way and just forgave every debt so they would have pleasant memories of her? How long would she be in business? Probably not long, but at least they'd have fond memories of their joyous times shared.

There's no need for anybody's feelings to be hurt. No reason for a business relationship to suffer. No bad karma or ill-will associated with collecting on a debt. This isn't a morality issue. It's business. You receive a service. You pay for that service. If you can't afford that service...you don't purchase it.




I'm all for trying to work out a scheduled payment plan and doing everything possible to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. But all these excuses why a client might not be paying or the advice to forgive the debt in the interest of benevolence and goodwill isn't doing anyone any favors.

The OP didn't ask, "How can I get my deadbeat clients to like me?" She asked how do I get this person to pay me.

And doesn't anybody find it interesting how those financial difficulties only occur AFTER they've received what they needed?

Burn bridges much ?
It's 360 dollars and yes I do believe in this situation it's better to be kind than overly aggresive
1 ) it's 360 dollars
2) we don't know who the client is or what the relationship is and can build to

I know I've had big clients have problems paying on time at times and I've been cool about it and as a result rehired and paid better and better and earned their loyalty
And referred to other good paying jobs , just don't see why one should burn bridges unless it was a horrible experience and your sure you'd never want to work with them again and that they can't negatively affect your career.
Like I said just my 2 cents.  Take it or not

Nov 17 12 04:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I sent them a very polite letter set to arrive today, summarizing everything thats happened and asking for payment by the 27th. I really hope it works...I know that appealing to this persons moral side and basically guilt tripping them will work better than being rude and demanding payment, even though thats what I really want to do!

This is the way to start. They should ask for a payment plan in response to the letter or at least call you with an explanation. When they don't, that should clue you in that this isn't accidental. Then you have to demand payment by a certain date or file. Or give up.


The last problem I had collecting was from a production company. A close friend had started working there and she hired me for two jobs, one audio, one video. The production company was really just a middle man, and on the audio job, I worked directly with their client who's client was a major cosmetics company.

I'd submitted two separate invoices. They asked to renegotiate one after the fact, which I did, because the likely alternative would be to get nothing and lose a close friend.

After more than 30 days and no return calls or emails from their accounts payable, I called my friend who said she'd do her best, but they didn't have her paycheck that week and that she was looking for a new job. That said move quick before their gone.

Once they were at 60 days past due for two invoices, one of which I'd reduced, I gave them 48 hours to pay me or stop using the IP I'd created. There was no work for hire agreement, nor any type of license so technically they didn't have the right to use any of the work.

After 48 hours passed with no response, I had my lawyer write cease and desist letters to the production company, their client and their client's client, who's got in-house council and will instantly understand the vulnerable position they've been put it by the company they hired. That's for the audio job. The video job I couldn't get contact info for the client, so they didn't get a C&D.

I have no idea what happened, but the check for the audio job arrived 4-5 days after the letters went out.

My assumption is that there was a chain of WTFs back from the cosmetics company down the line saying take care of this now. Since I didn't have contact info for the video job, that didn't happen and I didn't get the check.

I spent another two months to get that check. In the end I spoke to the owner of the production company who first said "I have your check right here." I said "Really? Accounts Payable said they sent it last week." He said, "That's right they sent it last week." Oh, really? Then why did you just say that you had the check in front of you?

Then he called me by a child's version of my first name and said "why are you crying about this? Don't you know the economy is tough right now? I've got $250k in unpaid jobs that I haven't received yet. What are you going to do sick your lawyer on us again? Get over this and so we can go on with our lives."

I told him "Yes, if that's what it takes you'll hear from the lawyer again. If you want us to get on with our lives why don't you just pay me and make me go away?" I had the check two days later.


You start by asking, then you have to give them a reason to want to pay you. In this case I was more of a headache than being short the amount they owed me, so I got paid.


Really the only thing I can think of for you, besides asking nicely and court, would be to show up at one of his jobs and ask for money in front of other people he's promised to pay. He'll be furious, but he'll realize he has to pay you to keep them there and he'll say "I got the check yesterday. I told you that's when it was coming and that I'd get you the money ASAP. I've been so nice and yet you're disrupting my job? Here you go here's cash, now please leave or I'll call the police, and you're never going to work for me again."


Do people cut you a break when you owe them money? What would he do to you if the tables were turned and you owed him? Do you think he'd write you nice letters? He'd make you miserable.

But really that's not realistic because you're not the type to do that to other people. That's why you couldn't see it coming.

How many big up coming jobs did he reference? How many nice things did he say to you about you and your work?


There is the option of walking away and chalking it up to experience, but since you're about to move in a month, there's nothing to loose by pursuing the money and this will help you down the road for the next time when it's an even bigger amount, and maybe even a context where you owe people out of what you're getting paid.

Nov 17 12 04:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


Mary wrote:

In my market, small claims is considered aggressive and a last resort. To be used rarely.

In your market do people not pay each other?


She's asked and been patient. She's writing a nice letter. What else is there to do when someone keeps making empty promises?

The reason there's nothing aggressive about small claims is that unless there is a factual dispute, the person owes the money and they can make the whole thing go away in the 10 seconds it takes to write a check.

It's the act of not writing the check that's aggressive.

It's the act of hiring someone you didn't intend to pay fully that's aggressive.

Nov 17 12 05:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


TheMakeupMan wrote:

Burn bridges much ?
It's 360 dollars and yes I do believe in this situation it's better to be kind than overly aggresive
1 ) it's 360 dollars
2) we don't know who the client is or what the relationship is and can build to

I know I've had big clients have problems paying on time at times and I've been cool about it and as a result rehired and paid better and better and earned their loyalty
And referred to other good paying jobs , just don't see why one should burn bridges unless it was a horrible experience and your sure you'd never want to work with them again and that they can't negatively affect your career.
Like I said just my 2 cents.  Take it or not

The bridge is already burnt and the OP didn't do it. Certainly you don't think she's foolish enough to work for this guy again?

Big clients always pay when they say they will and they return calls. The way they delay payment is by misplacing your invoice or asking you for an independent contractor form after 30 days instead of upfront. Then you fill it out and resend the invoice and the person who signs off is on vacation, and then after a week or two, the payment process has actually begun and you get your check after 30 days, only it's 30 days from the point where all of the paperwork was submitted, not when the received the invoice or the date of the job.

Yes, it's always good to maintain good relationships with your clients and there's no reason to burn a bridge, but it's been burnt by his empty promises already.

Nov 17 12 05:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
P-Studios
Posts: 1,359
Hayward, California, US


lets keep it real you made a bad deal, and you got burned you can make all the calls you want you can kiss that money good bye. next time get paid the right want up front
Nov 17 12 05:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
PaulaMUAH
Posts: 36
Houston, Texas, US


DG at studio47 wrote:
Do you know any lawyers? Sometimes a lawyer will write a "letter" that can dislodge $$$ from someones pocketbook.

I do know a lawyer, a Yale graduate actually...my own brother. I was all for sending a demanding letter, but he read my draft and said it was waaay to confrontational. He said I should not be thinking about this in terms of "what can I do legally to force this person to pay me." I should be thinking of this in terms of "what can I do to convince this person to pay me on their own."

Mary wrote:
so this is a business that owes you?  were the photos used commercially? Who owes you, the business or the photographer that was hired by the business?

Well this is giving away a lot of info, but the photos are being used for model portfolios for an "agency". So the models paid a certain amount to the agency (I went out to coffee with the photog and he told me they paid about 500 each!) and the agency hired a photog and mua for the shoot. So its the business that owes me. However this agency has been around for over 10 years, so its probably not doing that bad, considering how many "models" I saw around there.

TheMakeupMan wrote:
Just my 2 cents

Sounds like you've been a sweetie and I think you should continue being a sweetie , they know you want to get paid, you said they were moral , maybe they are having some serious financial problems.  I mean really. It's not a lot of money but if you need it really badly I'd say it once and let it go. You never know where this relationship can build to and being the " good guy" works better than being a nag.

I don't feel that this relationship can build to anything. I am moving to Texas in a month, and will be there for several years. My only concern was about my reputation possibly online, but I think the fellow posters have cleared that up that I don't have anything to worry about from someone like this.

The business owner has not made any efforts to "isolate" me in this situation. I have the photographers email and can contact him at any time. I thought about emailing him and asking if he's gotten paid yet, but I thought that would be very rude.

I would rather not take this to SCC. With the ruling I'd get in my favor, the judge would likely only help set up a payment plan for the defendant and it would take forever to get the money. Taking it to a collections agency is a good idea though, I will look into that. I'm also not above showing up at the business' doorstep every morning asking to get paid. But I also don't want the cops called on me for harassment sad

I realize this isn't much money at all. And I realize that not much time has gone by since the due date. But being a young person, and new to the industry, I just feel like I'm getting walked all over and I don't want to let that happen. So its the principle of it too.

I also wanted to ask everyone because A) I want input on how to prevent this from happening again, and B) I want to know the correct way to deal with this in the future so as not to ruin my reputation in a market that I won't have the opportunity to move out of in a month

Nov 17 12 05:44 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


P-Studios wrote:
lets keep it real you made a bad deal, and you got burned you can make all the calls you want you can kiss that money good bye. next time get paid the right want up front

You really can't ask for money up front on most jobs.... Most clients are just not going to go for that.  My commercial clients get 90 days and some of them take the full 90 days.  Civilians, brides, special occasion makeup, they pay before I show up.... So again...this all depends on who we are dealing with....who our clients are.   I am pretty sure if you told Vogue they would need to pay you before you did makeup the laughter would be heard in the next State over.  If I told Sony they would pay me before I worked I would hear silence followed by muffled background laughter, that would be the end of our relationship.   Brides on the other hand should expect it.. most people just won't deal with a brides and civilians unless they have full payment up front

Nov 17 12 05:44 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I do know a lawyer, a Yale graduate actually...my own brother. I was all for sending a demanding letter, but he read my draft and said it was waaay to confrontational. He said I should not be thinking about this in terms of "what can I do legally to force this person to pay me." I should be thinking of this in terms of "what can I do to convince this person to pay me on their own."


Well this is giving away a lot of info, but the photos are being used for model portfolios for an "agency". So the models paid a certain amount to the agency (I went out to coffee with the photog and he told me they paid about 500 each!) and the agency hired a photog and mua for the shoot. So its the business that owes me. However this agency has been around for over 10 years, so its probably not doing that bad, considering how many "models" I saw around there.


I don't feel that this relationship can build to anything. I am moving to Texas in a month, and will be there for several years. My only concern was about my reputation possibly online, but I think the fellow posters have cleared that up that I don't have anything to worry about from someone like this.

The business owner has not made any efforts to "isolate" me in this situation. I have the photographers email and can contact him at any time. I thought about emailing him and asking if he's gotten paid yet, but I thought that would be very rude.

I would rather not take this to SCC. With the ruling I'd get in my favor, the judge would likely only help set up a payment plan for the defendant and it would take forever to get the money. Taking it to a collections agency is a good idea though, I will look into that. I'm also not above showing up at the business' doorstep every morning asking to get paid. But I also don't want the cops called on me for harassment sad

I realize this isn't much money at all. And I realize that not much time has gone by since the due date. But being a young person, and new to the industry, I just feel like I'm getting walked all over and I don't want to let that happen. So its the principle of it too.

I also wanted to ask everyone because A) I want input on how to prevent this from happening again, and B) I want to know the correct way to deal with this in the future so as not to ruin my reputation in a market that I won't have the opportunity to move out of in a month

OK, I know enough... The "agency" owes you the money.... I think I might even know the "agency" you are referring to.... It sounds like a Photo mill agency... the scummy agencies that run ads and accept every "model"?    GET YOUR MONEY NOW... these places (mostly  franchises)  constantly close and reopen leaving massive debt behind under old company names.  They make a lot of money on poor wannabe models. I would be in Small claims at opening time Monday...I would bet you most of the money I have in the bank that you are just one of many artists that they have no intention of paying...  Do some googling on this...Try the agency name with the words "scam" example: "Explore talent scam"   use the agency name (insert yours)  with the words rip off in google.... I think you'll learn a lot.

DO NOT worry about your reputation when dealing with these types... If I'm correct in assuming this is a photo mill of some kind.  If you ever work for an agency that runs ads for models anywhere and holds photo days to shoot them all.... Get cash up front, don't even take a check.

Here is how you know if you're dealing with a photo mill and not a real agency

Photo mill

Takes all models, every size and look
advertises all over the place
Has google adwords that pop up under "model and your city"
they hold Photo days where they shoot everyone quickly
They have a long list of clients that sound too good to be true
they are very eager to sign each and every model...time is short
They hold conventions to find models

Real Agency

getting an in face interview is almost impossible
they advertise to large companies, not models or wannabees
they do NOT hold mass photo shoots
their names appear in major editorials like  "Model, Jane Doe with Ford"

Nov 17 12 05:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


PaulaMUAH wrote:
I should be thinking of this in terms of "what can I do to convince this person to pay me on their own."

(I went out to coffee with the photog and he told me they paid about 500 each!) and the agency hired a photog and mua for the shoot. So its the business that owes me.

I also wanted to ask everyone because A) I want input on how to prevent this from happening again, and B) I want to know the correct way to deal with this in the future so as not to ruin my reputation in a market that I won't have the opportunity to move out of in a month

The first part is very true, but if they didn't want to pay you so far, what possible reason could make them want to pay you now? You need some form of leverage. Maybe invoice the modeling agency? Not so much to get them to pay you, but to get them to call him and ask for an explanation.


The models paid upfront, so why don't you have your money?

Who hired you, the photographer or the modeling agency? Who called you and discussed the rates and told you when to be there?


There's no one answer to the last part.

You will have cases where you're being paid by your client. You will have cases where one person hires you and there's a separate department who pays and they person hiring them has no control over the payment.

In some cases asking for a purchase order can help. That will be a number assigned internally that indicates that the expense has been approved and no one needs to sign off on it.

There are situations that seem sketchy, but aren't. And there are situations where the credit is worth the risk.

Get something in writing, that could be email, or a web form that you have them fill out. I used to send a confirmation fax for people to sign and fax back. It confirmed additional details beyond the rate, but included the rate.


Really the best way to ensure you get paid is to be known as the best at what you do - the most desirable MUA to hire - and people will want to keep their relationship with you on good terms.

Then again, that will allow you to set payment terms that people can't normally get.

Sony didn't laugh when they wanted Rick Ruben and he said stop using plastic CD cases. I'm sure Dr Luke is getting his $60 million upfront, or if it's multiple payments, at the beginning of each year, before he's done the work, not the end.

It's always a question of leverage.

Nov 17 12 06:08 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
TheMakeupMan
Posts: 3,752
Los Angeles, California, US


Mary wrote:

OK, I know enough... The "agency" owes you the money.... I think I might even know the "agency" you are referring to.... It sounds like a Photo mill agency... the scummy agencies that run ads and accept every "model"?    GET YOUR MONEY NOW... these places (mostly  franchises)  constantly close and reopen leaving massive debt behind under old company names.  They make a lot of money on poor wannabe models. I would be in Small claims at opening time Monday...I would bet you most of the money I have in the bank that you are just one of many artists that they have no intention of paying...  Do some googling on this...Try the agency name with the words "scam" example: "Explore talent scam"   use the agency name (insert yours)  with the words rip off in google.... I think you'll learn a lot.

DO NOT worry about your reputation when dealing with these types... If I'm correct in assuming this is a photo mill of some kind.  If you ever work for an agency that runs ads for models anywhere and holds photo days to shoot them all.... Get cash up front, don't even take a check

Wow.  I didn't even know places like that existed.

Nov 17 12 06:09 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,155
Coronado, California, US


TheMakeupMan wrote:
Wow.  I didn't even know places like that existed.

Never heard of explore talent?  I edited above but I will place this here as well just to show people what they need to look for

Here is how you know if you're dealing with a photo mill and not a real agency

Photo mill

Takes all models, every size and look
advertises all over the place
Has google adwords that pop up under "model and your city"
they hold Photo days where they shoot everyone quickly
They have a long list of clients that sound too good to be true
they are very eager to sign each and every model...time is short
They hold conventions to find models
they hang out at malls to recruit young wannabees

Real Agency

getting an in face interview is almost impossible
they advertise to large companies, not models or wannabees
they do NOT hold mass photo shoots
their names appear in major editorials like  "Model, Jane Doe with Ford"

Nov 17 12 06:10 pm  Link  Quote 
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