When you do the work, and you don’t get paid, more often than not, there is a simple fix to the problem. But a simple resolution may take days, weeks, even months in the biggest corporations. Avoid this hit to your bank account with these steps:
- Know who the real person is in charge of your working relationship and cultivate that relationship. Make a point of gathering all of their contact information, including a direct phone number, email address, and old-fashioned mailing address. Make sure they have your information, as well. If you haven’t already spoken with this person, reach out and schedule a phone call to say hello and thanks. And if it is not too stalker-ish, follow them on social media.
- Make sure you have all the correct information you need to get your invoice to the right person or department. Check and double-check the name of the company, the person or department, the address, phone number, email, and the correct PO number (if needed).
- Be very clear on what they expect and your scope of work. How to invoice, when to invoice, set up of the invoice, the payment terms, how the description of services should read, and very important— where and how payment will transpire.
- Remember, one misspelling or incorrectly capitalized word, even the wrong word, can kick your invoice out of the most simple or sophisticated systems. Confirm all this information is correct with your “real person” before you send that first invoice.
- Set timely reminders and notifications on your calendar and in your accounting program to invoice on the correct day and then get it done. Your procrastination does not make it an emergency on their part.
- Once the invoice is sent, ask for confirmation or check their online system (if available) a few days after you submit or upload the invoice. It may take 24-48 hours for it to show up in their system. If you still see nothing after that, send an email to your contact and ask if they can check when they get a chance. Glitches happen.
- Set a reminder to look for the payment when it is due. If there is still no payment 24-48 hours after that due date, start with an email query, then move on to a personal call.
- When all else fails, always remember your “real person” is your lifeline. That real person relationship you cultivated at the beginning of this working partnership will come in handy but don’t take advantage of it or burn bridges. Be kind, be nice, be courteous, be professional. And, if they do help you solve something, send a handwritten thank you note. I promise you will need this person again at some point in the future. And if you have done all this, they will be there to help you another time.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what is yours. You did the work. Ask for the pay. Most people on both sides of this equation understand this and will do what they can to help. More often than not, a “t” wasn’t crossed, or an “i” wasn’t dotted. If you take care of all of the above, odds are it is payday!