A big part of running your own company is making sure that you are paid on time.
Actually my expectations have gone down so much I’m happy as long as I’m paid what I’m owed – the “on-time” part is less important. After years in business, I’ve only encountered two companies which actually called to remind me to collect payment. Most are happy to play dumb until you chase them.
Below is my personal top 10 list of excuses I’ve heard from companies trying to avoid payment.
10. Sorry I forgot to bring my cheque-book along. This is urgent, can I collect the goods first? I’ll pay you back when I get back to the office. (This is for “cash on delivery” orders)
9. How can you chase us for payment? I’ve already promised you that I will pay. (Especially for small companies where you deal direct with the bosses. Face is very important to them)
8. We can only process payment with the original invoice. (Strangely enough, they have no problems with the downpayment to start the work)
7. I’ve posted it to you, didn’t you receive it? No? Don’t worry, I’ll send it out again. (Repeat every time I call)
6. We can only process payments at the end of the month. Call us next month to check. (Repeat every month)
5. The boss is not in. (I suspect that the “manager” I’m speaking to is actually the Boss)
4. The cheques are ready but the boss has not signed them yet. He is not in.
3. Our client hasn’t paid us yet so I can’t pay you. (Why has your problem become my problem?)
2. Our client has paid us, but we made a loss on this project. So I can’t pay you. (Ditto #3)
1. I’ve got no money. So sue me. (Don’t sue, you will just be throwing good money after bad).
So what do you think of the top 10 list? Do you have any more to add?