The Angry Designer
Aug. 13, 2021

Getting paid! How to ensure you don’t get stiffed for the work you do.

Getting paid! How to ensure you don’t get stiffed for the work you do.

F**k you – pay me!

The past 10 years have been truly revolutionary in marketing. We remember the days when it was normal to check your emails once a day!

But one thing that’s never changed is people like us, and you, getting stiffed on a regular basis. Or having to wait an eternity for payments.

Why does this happen? We’re keen, we’re eager, we want that job, especially if you’re early on in your career. But we’re also empaths. We’re about feelings and being caught up in the creativity. For us, money is a cold, necessary evil. So we don’t want to beg for money, and we don’t want clients to think we’re greedy.

All too often, we don’t value ourselves and what we do. And so, we give up too easily. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to take control and say f**k you, pay me!

 

Common excuses for not paying

We’ve all heard them. Those pitiful, bulls**t excuses for why clients aren’t going to pay you. They’re the equivalent of “my dog ate my homework”.

Here are the most used ones:

We’ve decided not the use the creative after all
You’ve gone to town on the project and handed over the work. But now the client says they’ve cut the campaign totally, changed their mind internally, or decided they don’t need the creative after all.

And they think that means they don’t have to pay. You know what we say to that? F**k you – pay me!

You’ve done the work, you’ve met your end of the deal, and now they need to meet theirs. If they’ve changed their mind, that’s not your problem. You deserve to be paid…every…last…penny.

We went in a different direction with this
You’re two thirds of the way through the project, the end is in sight, and the client announces they’ve decided to go in a different direction. Once again, that’s not your problem! They need to pay you! Not only have you delivered you end of the deal, but they should have updated you earlier on in the process if they were changing direction, and to be brutally honest, how do you know they aren’t going to use your material anyway?

F**k you, pay me!

The project has been cancelled
You’ve put everything together, you’ve created the landing page, you’ve created all the materials. And now the client has the audacity to announce the project has been cancelled.

Oh, I’m sorry about that, but it’s really not my problem. F**k you, pay me!

We haven’t used the work yet
You’ve delivered everything you were supposed to, and you’ve delivered on time. But there’s been a delay or an issue at their end, meaning the campaign is pushed back, the website isn’t launching for another six months, you know the drill. Astonishingly, they don’t think they need to pay you until they use the creative. NO! F**k you, pay me!

Things are a little tight right now
Not. Your. Problem. Things are going to be a little tight for you if they don’t pay. If they couldn’t afford you, they shouldn’t have hired you. F**k you, pay me! You’ve done the work, and now you need to be paid for it.

 

So, how do you avoid ending up in this situation?

It sucks that these people exist, but sadly they do. So you need to find ways to stop it from happening to you.

Here are our top tips for how you can do just that. We can’t promise you’ll never get screwed again, but at least you’ll be minimizing the risk.

Sign a statement of work (SOW)
Creatives hate contracts. They feel cold and corporate. But you need something in place to protect you.

The solution? Create a SOW. This lets the customer know what you’re going to do for them, what they’re going to receive, and how they’re going to pay. It sets clear expectations on both sides. And, just like a contract, they need to sign it before you start work, protecting both parties from getting short changed.

Always invoice in stages if possible
If a job is worth more than a set amount, invoice in stages. And make sure you get paid at every stage before you even think about progressing on to the next one. Break down your processes and invoice at every stage. Never leave yourself owed more money that you are willing to lose.

Give yourself leverage
We’ve all been there. You’ve delivered the final project and handed over the working files, only to realise you have no leverage. If the client decides not to pay, you’ve got nothing to hold over them. So put in your statement of work, that you will launch the website, but you won’t teach them how to use the CMS until they final payment is received, or you won’t hand over the logo files without watermarks until they’ve made the final payment. Make sure you don’t give up all the control until you’ve received all your money.

So, there we have it, our guide to getting paid. And always remember – if someone gives you an excuse not to pay, NEVER, EVER do work for that person again. They don’t respect you, your work, or the relationship. Forget them, move on, you’re done. Over time, this is how you ensure you only have good clients, the ones who become more like partners and would never try to screw you over.

To find out more and hear some of our stories of getting paid, and not getting paid, head over to the podcast.