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Non-paying Clients/ Associates

Updated on August 24, 2011

Non-payment after work done is a grave issue faced by myriads of small-businesses/freelancers/consultants all over the world and I am no exception.

It is a common phenomenon OF today with even corporate giants in certain parts of the world and people who pose like good businessmen, not to keep up the promise of returning the favor of a job well done, not realizing that they are ruining it for the other ethical business players.

An Out-cry by a few designers

Below lists a few frustrations from a community who is so mistreated for just keeping their part of the bargain.


Copyright  2011 Remy Francis
Copyright 2011 Remy Francis

Surely enough I have a sketch to let out the aggravation and all too often it finds its appeal in a gallery... Amusing to see how something has managed to get back my dues in such irony.

My Take

I always consider a "Client is King" when doing them any design project and though my respect for my loyal clients stay the greatest, I never fail to talk my terms before I start a project. I must advice that never ever give away your work for free unless it is for a social cause.

By not allowing bad experiences such as this to pull down our spirits, skills or integrity, doing it right and being assertive to get that payment in the end is the key. Charity has no place where corporates ask work for free only to turn it over into profits for them. That cannot be a fair game.

A day in a miserable life of a non-vigilant freelancer

  1. Passing the buck to finance departments after the job is completed and published. Then nobody wants to take a responsibility for the non-payment.
  2. Listening to an undeniable saintly voice saying "Your amount will be transferred in a couple of days to your account" which never happens.
  3. Cancelling appointments without prior-notice, making failed promises taking it for granted that that a freelancer will always come back.

People who do not understand the passion of art & crafts alone would treat art or artists/craftsmen as commodity.
ethical way of doing business as taught by the masters Peter Drucker or Philip Kotler or our very own model of a great business tycoon "Warren Buffet" is to be truthful in your dealings, simple and straight-forward and then do charity with ones own earnings, and not that of others.

Copyright 2011 Remy Francis
Copyright 2011 Remy Francis | Source

What I do to strike a balance

Selling ourselves low to help abusers is the worst thing we could do for our profession. We need to keep our value and standard and (mind you!) if we give in, it is a chain reaction and the whole world goes down with us.

With globalization this has been the greatest imbalance that has come upon the world and today with most in all nations nearly unemployed because someone in some part of the world does the same job for a tenth of the actual price and the inventors of the job are already bankrupt.

Let's stay moderate and not over-value or under-value ourselves. Let's make ourselves approachable and let's stand up for what we are worth and help the world community thrive as a species. It is a matter of survival yes?

Thank you for reading my views.

I knew I could not delay writing about non-payments from clients, an unpaid job culture etc. any longer as it is especially very frustrating when working with numerous clients across borders when clients only need to answer to their national jurisdiction in case of default. In many instances they come out of it clean. This recession is only worsening these issues like an epidemic. At the same time some clients (who obviously do not care) need work asking for it absolutely free.

Is this becoming another stigma as a result of recession filled years?

It would be interesting to hear about how you guys here are dealing with these issues effectively.


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    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      7 years ago from Creative Zone Dubai

      Hi Pat

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes that's mostly the case...we spent so much in phone calls, visits and actually the awkwardness of bringing it up with the energy so much more lost!

      See you around!

    • 2patricias profile image


      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Until about 10 years ago Pat's Wonderful Husband was self-employed. She has one very bad memory of a non-paying client. The work done took about 1/100th of the effort that went into collecting the fee.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      7 years ago from Creative Zone Dubai

      Ahh gosh yes tell me about it! Hyphenbird

      What are they thinking eh? I have been there too...landed doing charity for many non-profits, family & if they don't value our work. Aside from my immediate family and very close friends...nobody cares to pay...I can't understand the logic...else they should go to a charity organisation.

      ..talking about people whom we depend on as our market...I too find working with upfront payments puts us on a better wicket. But alas..some treat talent like commodities...also because quality is compromised when they go to someone else to get unpaid work like interns...there it is a losing battle. The creative field still doesn't have a yardstick when it's in a global market. That's why I have many service offerings under one umbrella of creatives...then create sketches and get lost in those scenes ;o)

      Thank you for your insights in sharing my sentiments.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Many nonprofits want me to work for free just because they are a nonproft. Now, if I volunteer, That is a whole other matter. I had one ask me to write a grant and I would be paid "when it funds." Well that is out of my control of course. So I declined. I also do a lot of photography and find friends and family expect that for free. I now require a $50 deposit to even show up for a consultation. If the client books a session or contracts a grant, it is applied as credit to their account. And I require 50% of my fee up front when we begin. If they abscond (I love that word) without paying the rest,I have something to show for my hard work.

    • rembrandz profile imageAUTHOR

      Remy Francis 

      7 years ago from Creative Zone Dubai

      Hey Cheryl J

      Thank you for passing by and your comments.

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 

      7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Very interesting hub. We should stand up for our beliefs and put action where it is more effective in our community and others. Good job.


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