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What do you do when Client doesn't pay?


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Hello,

 

so I've come upon the situation that we all dread and that's that a client has not payed me and was supposed to do so over 5 weeks ago. I thought he was a friend, I produced and basically performed 90% of everything on his CD and he was very happy with it. It was to be his calling card in his new city of Nashville. I did not have it finished when he left but gave him some rough mixes. I had harmony vocals and final Mixes yet to do. He was a friend and was waiting for his house to sell and told me I would have the $$ within 2 weeks...It's been 5 weeks and He's been giving me a bunch of excuses and i'm at wits end about it. I have been counting on the $$ and spent other funds on gear and upgrading the studio and it was to be replaced by the money the songwriter owed me. I NEVER would have even given anyone else a rough mix if they had not paid me but this guy was a friend. Now i'm livid, in a rough position and Would love to know what anyone else has done or would do in this situation. I would like to sue him in small claims court for the limit of $5000(I would take a loss but it would be quick). I believe his house sale up here will be finalized within 2 or 3 weeks but I think I can get a legal judgement before he can buy another place. I believe I would have a chance at getting my money because his credit would be damaged and it's very important to him.

 

Should I write him a settlement letter first? There have been many phone calls over the last 5 weeks and many broken promises by him. I want to get paid and I will send him his masters on a DVD and be done with it. I'm at the point where I want to delete his entire CD but I know it's evidence..I have all the invoices, many witnesses and much proof that I did the work. I think I would win easily in court....

 

Anyway, if anyone has any insights to this I would love to hear it..I'm ready for court over this out of principal because i KNOW this guy has the $$..he is liquid over $100K from the sale of his house in a couple weeks as well...

 

One other thing, i was giving him a super "Friend" rate discount and now i'm going to be demanding full rate and several Thousand more $$ because of the non-payment. I can't let it go and would never be able to, so there needs to be action....sorry for the long post.

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Been there and it sucks.

I always put all agreements in writing now. Discounts can be tied to payment terms ("pay on time and you get this price or pay later and you get that price + intrest").

 

You should NOT settle for less than what he really owes you. If he has not done it already, make him sign a deed ASAP.

 

Next, write him a letter and deliver it in person, insist that he pays all money he owes you (+ intrest), payment expected within 48 hours or you will take it to court.

 

Good luck!

 

/Mats

http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/man.gif

What do we want? Procrastination!

When do we want it? Later!

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If it's a friend, I'd wait until his house closes and hopefully he'll pay you with the money he makes on the deal. I don't know what the situation is, but maybe all his cash is tied up in escrow on a new place in Nashville or he just doesn't have the money til the house sells. Imagine that, a musician without money.Sit tight. You might not be as good of friends when this is over, you might not even speak, but I wouldn't want to take a friend to court. This is one of the biggest problems having a studio and being able to produce and play a few instruments. Everybody thinks it'll be great for us to work on my shit for free. From here on out, when you work with anyone, it's business.
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Originally posted by Mats Olsson.:

Been there and it sucks.

I always put all agreements in writing now. Discounts can be tied to payment terms ("pay on time and you get this price or pay later and you get that price + intrest").

 

You should NOT settle for less than what he really owes you. If he has not done it already, make him sign a deed ASAP.

 

Next, write him a letter and deliver it in person, insist that he pays all money he owes you (+ intrest), payment expected within 48 hours or you will take it to court.

 

Good luck!

 

/Mats

Mats. He moved from Alaska to Nashville....
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Originally posted by FullRefusal.com:

Mats. He moved from Alaska to Nashville....
Ok then, write him a letter: "pay all that you owe me now or I take you to court, but then I might also demand full payment according to scale for this project."

 

/Mats

http://www.lexam.net/peter/carnut/man.gif

What do we want? Procrastination!

When do we want it? Later!

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I am going agest the grain on this one..... I think if your talking court, you have already lost.

 

I don't know if you guys are still friends.. BUT, tey phoneing him up and saying hey what you up to tonight, ... want to grab a beer?

 

bring it up after you guys are hanging for a bit.

 

ALso , maybe he is concerned about teh new house, I would imagine that he want to put down as much cash as possible, and if we are talk 5000+ that a lota change that he is likly thing to put down on teh house.

 

SO you couls also offer, to pay over teh next 3 months or some (though honestly I would not do this as it would real push the problem back , not fix it), but its a thought.

 

lastly yea court is the way to go.

 

and I don't know if it all 1 project, but any way to sue him 2 times in court? .. may 1once for your worrk , 1 for studio rent?.. I don't knwo ,I guess it depends on how youset things up in term of a business.

 

Kevin Nemrava

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Originally posted by Linwood:

Imagine that, a musician without money.Sit tight. You might not be as good of friends when this is over, you might not even speak, but I wouldn't want to take a friend to court.

Forget that...

 

The longer you wait, the less chance you'll ever see a dime. I can't speak from personal experience in the music field, but I used to own property, and was often stiffed by 'nice people'. People I think REALLY DID intend on paying, but didn't. One thing I learned is that if they don't have to pay you, they probably won't.

 

You can bet he's paying his electric bill and his car payment. Why? Because he loses those things if he doesn't pay them. All of a sudden, you and that music you did for him drop to the bottom of the list of things to do. It sucks, I know. But that's the way it is.

 

I hate to tell you this, but you are at his mercy. You can take him to court, but it will cost you money to do so. Even if you do and win a judgement, he may not pay you. That mean's you may end up in court again to garnish his wages or something. But then, he might change jobs, or move.

 

I've taken people to court and won....and still never saw a dime.

 

I think the solution is that payment is due *AS* services are rendered. In other words, studio time is payed for at the end of THAT day. None of this; "Oh, I'll pay you in full at the end of this big project I'm working on", or "I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday", crap. And start getting at least a 10% deposit up front. This is your livelyhood.

 

It sucks.

 

I hope you get a better response from someone else than the one I just gave you. Sorry...

Super 8

 

Hear my stuff here

 

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Sorry I can't help you with your problem.

 

I went over to your website and listenend to your stuff.

 

Only thing I can say about your music is :

 

It's one of the nicest things I've ever heared.

 

Every time I sing ,people tell me I have the greatest voice they evere heard. Now I can give them your website's adress and tell them THAT is the man with the nicest voice you'll ever will hear.

 

Thankz you made my day!

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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Originally posted by boosh:

Sorry I can't help you with your problem.

 

I went over to your website and listenend to your stuff.

 

Only thing I can say about your music is :

 

It's one of the nicest things I've ever heared.

 

Every time I sing ,people tell me I have the greatest voice they evere heard. Now I can give them your website's adress and tell them THAT is the man with the nicest voice you'll ever will hear.

 

Thankz you made my day!

WOW!!!!...What an absolutely nice thing to say! Thank you for taking time to listen to my stuff and take care.
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I think the solution is that payment is due *AS* services are rendered. In other words, studio time is payed for at the end of THAT day. None of this; "Oh, I'll pay you in full at the end of this big project I'm working on", or "I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday", crap. And start getting at least a 10% deposit up front. This is your livelyhood.

I am so sorry to hear about that, FullRefusal...

 

I have gotten shafted myself a few times now...well, twice. After the first time (he had convinced me he would paym, extremely "awesome" person), I started working in a way similarly described by Super8. The second time I did get shafted again, but only for 8 hours of work worth.

 

It's almost funny because it's such a ridi us situation, but this particular client is the phoniest person I have ever met in my entire life...he'd make APPOINTMENTS to meet so he could give me the check, EVERY single day of the first week, only for me to find out he didn't have the money when I got to his office, or that he wasn't even there. 2 months later of this clown act I parked myself outside of his house. I did get paid then. Almost same thing with subsequent studiobills with him.

 

He still owes 8 hours' worth. So now about every week we get a call of either him, or the band he is paying the project for, that they'll show up at such day at such and such time. Never showed up.

 

Besides not paying attention to his promises anymore, I now backed up their project on a somewhat faulty drive...I'll give them a call explaining that some tracks on the project might be lost because of the unreliable drive. That is, if they don't pay soon enough! He he.

 

artnoiser

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I have no audio/musician friends. I'm in business to make money, not friends. And I like it. I get asked no favors. You might try something like this...

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

Client agrees to the hourly rate of $------ with a 2 hour minimum. Studio

time will be charged at 15 minute increments after the second hour.

 

Payment is required upon completion of each session. Payment may be made by

cash, personal or company check or money order. There is a $30 fee for

returned checks.

 

A $----- NON-REFUNDABLE deposit is required prior to the start of the first

session. This will be applied to the total project cost.

 

Session times begin at the time you have scheduled. If you arrive late, you

will be charged from the time the session was scheduled to begin.

 

The hourly charges do not include the cost of recording media i.e.; 8mm,

DAT, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs or other supplies necessary to complete the

project.

 

No audio tapes or media shall be released to Client until Client is current

with payments that are owed to ---------.

 

------- shall endeavor to secure all recording media (all master

tapes, slaves, final DATs, cassettes and all other magnetic or optical media

storage devices) owned by Client and left or stored on studio premises but is

not responsible for loss or damage. ------- is not responsible

for ANY property left on premises by Client.

 

Client's recording media left on premises 7 days after completion of last

recording session or service shall become the property of -------, if all monies due to -----have not been paid.

 

------ is not responsible for any audio data or MIDI sequence

data that is lost due to an electrical outage during the recording session.

 

Client shall be responsible for any loss or damage to -----------'s

property incurred by Client, employees of Client, guests of Client or agents

of client acting under Client's instruction as a result of misuse,

negligence and or carelessness.

 

Receipt of recording media from ---- to Client is

acknowledgement between both parties that the quality of all services

rendered by ----- is satisfactory to Client and shall release

---- from any and all liability regarding said recording

media and services rendered.

 

Absolutely no illegal substances are allowed on the premises.

 

Absolutely no smoking on the studio premises.

 

Absolutely no food or beverages are allowed in the control room.

 

These Terms and Conditions of business constitute an agreement between Client

and ----- and may not be modified, changed or terminated in any

way unless there is a written agreement signed by both parties.

 

I, the undersigned Client, confirm that I have read the herein TERMS AND

CONDITIONS prior to its execution and I am fully familiar with the contents

thereof.

 

CLIENT

 

________________________________ / / 04

GY

 

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Originally posted by Mr Nice Jazz Guitar Guy:

Originally posted by Super 8:

What do you do when Client doesn't pay?

Good question, what do garage bands get per hour anyway? It might not even be worth bringing it to small claims court.
Wow, another insightfull reply from mr Jazz. You're about as usefull a tits on a bull, aren't you.

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President Abraham Lincoln: "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion."

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Yeah. I'm sorry. I don't have anything spiffy to say. I got shatfted pretty bad a couple of years ago. I produced, engineered, wrote a song, played guitar on three tunes of a CD the guy was finishing. I kept trying and insisting he not get anything until his bill was paid. He was waiting for funding. You know the routine. I finally "mastered" the tunes in a, what I thought was, not useable manner. I think he ended up owing me $1,500. The problem is somewhere out there is a shitty job and example of me purposely mis-mastering a CD.

 

Pity, There were a couple of famous and very successful songwriters on this project too. So it was good getting associated with these guys. That's the positive spin. Experience was the other.

All the best,

 

Henry Robinett

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Originally posted by Henchman:

Originally posted by Mr Nice Jazz Guitar Guy:

Originally posted by Super 8:

What do you do when Client doesn't pay?

Good question, what do garage bands get per hour anyway? It might not even be worth bringing it to small claims court.
Wow, another insightfull reply from mr Jazz. You're about as usefull a tits on a bull, aren't you.
That depends. You might like travestite bulls. Me, I don't anything to do with them, except over a bar-b-que grill.

 

Is Bull Breast Meat all white?

Have you recorded an MP3 today?
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Friends or not, this is not personal it's business.

 

We have URL=http://www.npstudios.com/rates_and_rules.html]strict rules[/url]regarding payment that all clients must sign before any dates are booked, friend or not.

 

Since I assume you have no written contract, I'd sugest sending him a registered letter, stating how much he owes, for how long, and that if the pbalance is not paid in full within X number of days (say 10 business days), his files wil be permanently deleted.

 

I guarantee that will get his attention.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

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Originally posted by where02190:

Since I assume you have no written contract, I'd sugest sending him a registered letter, stating how much he owes, for how long, and that if the pbalance is not paid in full within X number of days (say 10 business days), his files wil be permanently deleted.

I think this is generally a good approach. And from the post above, it does seem like he has the money. It's just always such a sticky situation when a friend is involved. And I know you're probably thinking, "Hey, if he was such a friend and has the money, then he should pay, right?". And you'd be right. But when it's friends, it always seems to be more complex.

 

I hope that you are able to get the money from him amicably. Maybe you could consider hanging out with the guy and bringing this up, and if that doesn't work, THEN do something like the above?

 

I wish you luck whatever the case may be.

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If you intend to go to court, think of it soon. If he goes first, you'll be going to Nashville. Not a bad place, but quite expensive to go back and forth from Alaska.

 

He'll have to do the travel if you set the venue.

 

Food for thought.

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If all he has are rough mixes, you are not totally screwed....

 

But here are some things to mull over:

1) You do not have the right to change the terms of your business arrangement with him. (i.e., charge him full rate for work you agreed to do on the cheap).

2) Going to court MIGHT get you a few bucks. Some day. Probably not.

3) If you really want to play the dickhead, you COULD have a lawyer put a lien against his house - - he wouldn't be able to sell it till dealing with his debt to you. But you'd end up getting bad word-of-mouth and bad karma out of that. An a new enemy.

 

My advice: hold onto his tracks.

 

Finish your part of the deal:

Get beautiful mixes done for him. And allow him to hear some 20 second snips of it. Maybe email him some MP3 snips. Get him drooling to have his hands on his demo... After all, it's his ticket into Nashville, right?

The more he wants it, the more likely he'll start coughing up some dollars for you.

 

Not only that, but it enhances your legal standing ("Judge, he didn't even finish the project! Why should I have to pay him for it?")

 

Offer him terms, for example: "Pay me $100/month, and when it reaches an amount equal to one of your songs, you get that song mix. And not before."

 

If the dude is really determined to leave you in the lurch, there's not that much you can do about it. Chalk it up to experience. They don't have debtor prisons or indentured servitude anymore, so you can't really lock him up (well, they still do here in Iowa -- they charge you $70 a day to be in jail... but that's another story..)

 

Good luck.

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Originally posted by philbo_Tangent:

If all he has are rough mixes, you are not totally screwed....

 

But here are some things to mull over:

1) You do not have the right to change the terms of your business arrangement with him. (i.e., charge him full rate for work you agreed to do on the cheap).

2) Going to court MIGHT get you a few bucks. Some day. Probably not.

3) If you really want to play the dickhead, you COULD have a lawyer put a lien against his house - - he wouldn't be able to sell it till dealing with his debt to you. But you'd end up getting bad word-of-mouth and bad karma out of that. An a new enemy.

 

My advice: hold onto his tracks.

 

Finish your part of the deal:

Get beautiful mixes done for him. And allow him to hear some 20 second snips of it. Maybe email him some MP3 snips. Get him drooling to have his hands on his demo... After all, it's his ticket into Nashville, right?

The more he wants it, the more likely he'll start coughing up some dollars for you.

 

Not only that, but it enhances your legal standing ("Judge, he didn't even finish the project! Why should I have to pay him for it?")

 

Offer him terms, for example: "Pay me $100/month, and when it reaches an amount equal to one of your songs, you get that song mix. And not before."

 

If the dude is really determined to leave you in the lurch, there's not that much you can do about it. Chalk it up to experience. They don't have debtor prisons or indentured servitude anymore, so you can't really lock him up (well, they still do here in Iowa -- they charge you $70 a day to be in jail... but that's another story..)

 

Good luck.

All Good Advice...I agree...However the guy sent me a $1000 check astonishingly enough! Let's see if it clears...Thanks for all the good advice..I really learned a lesson on this on no matter what. I will do NO more work then the hours i'm paid for...PERIOD.
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You've said he's been "making excuses", so that means you're still "talking" with him?

 

If he's saying he "wants" to pay you but can't until his house closes, ask him to give you a note on the money with the house as collateral.

 

Essentially a second or third or whatever. You can get the basic note document from most office supply places or buy one of those cheapo law software packages.

 

If you file the note with the appropriate legal authorities, as a lein against the property, then he HAS to pay you out of the escrow... HE doesn't get HIS money when his house closes, unless YOU get yours.

 

This is a LOT better than trying to sue him, may get you paid, and if he says no... well you know he's NOT serious about paying. No more excuses.

 

guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Originally posted by philbo_Tangent:

If all he has are rough mixes, you are not totally screwed....

 

But here are some things to mull over:

1) You do not have the right to change the terms of your business arrangement with him. (i.e., charge him full rate for work you agreed to do on the cheap).

2) Going to court MIGHT get you a few bucks. Some day. Probably not.

3) If you really want to play the dickhead, you COULD have a lawyer put a lien against his house - - he wouldn't be able to sell it till dealing with his debt to you. But you'd end up getting bad word-of-mouth and bad karma out of that. An a new enemy.

 

My advice: hold onto his tracks.

 

Finish your part of the deal:

Get beautiful mixes done for him. And allow him to hear some 20 second snips of it. Maybe email him some MP3 snips. Get him drooling to have his hands on his demo... After all, it's his ticket into Nashville, right?

The more he wants it, the more likely he'll start coughing up some dollars for you.

 

Not only that, but it enhances your legal standing ("Judge, he didn't even finish the project! Why should I have to pay him for it?")

 

Offer him terms, for example: "Pay me $100/month, and when it reaches an amount equal to one of your songs, you get that song mix. And not before."

 

If the dude is really determined to leave you in the lurch, there's not that much you can do about it. Chalk it up to experience. They don't have debtor prisons or indentured servitude anymore, so you can't really lock him up (well, they still do here in Iowa -- they charge you $70 a day to be in jail... but that's another story..)

 

Good luck.

Why spend hours/days doing work you may not get paid for. You have his tracks, tell him pay up or you'll delete them. If he really wants them, he'll pay, if he's intending on screwing you, he won't.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

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Well, after a number of years working in collections, I can tell you that you've pretty much got your hands full unless he decides to pay. You can get a judgement on him, but you will have to sue him in the county and state that he now resides in. So, how much will it cost you to take him to small claims court in Nashville? What is their maximum? How much will an attorney cost you should you decide to go to civil court? Also, getting a judgement is one thing, collecting is another. If he is purchasing another house, then you could attach the judgement on the house and you would get paid when he sells that one. It could be years, but you would get paid. A home title tranfer will not happen if there are any leins against the property. Otherwise, you suck it up, call it an expensive education, and start using a legally enforcible contract.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by can't work for no one:

Well, after a number of years working in collections, I can tell you that you've pretty much got your hands full unless he decides to pay. You can get a judgement on him, but you will have to sue him in the county and state that he now resides in. So, how much will it cost you to take him to small claims court in Nashville? What is their maximum? How much will an attorney cost you should you decide to go to civil court? Also, getting a judgement is one thing, collecting is another. If he is purchasing another house, then you could attach the judgement on the house and you would get paid when he sells that one. It could be years, but you would get paid. A home title tranfer will not happen if there are any leins against the property. Otherwise, you suck it up, call it an expensive education, and start using a legally enforcible contract.

Right..this is exacty what i was going to do and he would have been screwed as he was selling his house...I was paid and now it's fine..But i have learned that I will be paid after each session unless I have been paid for a block of hours upfront.. Those are the only 2 ways I will do business again..Lesson learned. Thanks.
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