I think it’s fair to say every freelancer who’s been in the game longer than a month has had at least one bad client. And by bad client, I mean a client who doesn’t pay.
Most of the freelancers I know have the ability to withhold their work if they don’t get paid — designers can refuse to release high quality PSDs (while the low quality jpegs perfectly display the work), people who host websites can take them down, my friend who’s a video editor watermarks everything until he gets paid.
As copywriters we don’t really have that option. There’s nothing to stop the client refusing to pay their bill once they have the work in their hands. Contract? Can we really afford to go to court to pursue a Â£500 bill?
So how about we set up a blacklist?
Viewable to members only, each member would have the ability to name a non-paying client, the nature of the work, the amount of money, and so on. Searchable, it would give other copywriters the ability to avoid bad clients (because doubtless the client will try to pull the same trick on another copywriter next time around). But moreover it would also give us vital leverage against non-paying clients…
“Look, every serious copywriter in the country is a member of the PCN, if I blacklist you, you will never be able to get a professional copywriter to work with you again, so it’s probably in your interests to pay up.”
I think with nearly 400 copywriters as members we have the leverage to do it. It would mean greater security for us, and more bills being settled on time. What do you guys think?
Yep, me too.
In 8 years I’ve only once had a client refuse to pay – but by God it was annoying..!
A complete dumbass who couldn’t even speak good English, telling me my writing was “not very selling good” and so he wasn’t going to pay the balance and worse, wanted a refund of his 50% deposit.
I actually gave him the money just to get him out of my hair and the foul taste out of my mouth. Urgh, horrid little creep; makes me shudder to remember him.
Did this ever happen? I think this is a great idea, but would suggest a traffic-light system instead:
Red: Do not trade with this business/individual/agency under any circumstances.
Yellow: Late payer, problematic account management, lack of professionalism etc.
Green (optional): Companies we would recommend working for.
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