Few things are as frustrating as providing a product or a service to a client who promises to pay and then finding that they are never going to make good on that promise. Even if you took a down payment at the beginning to protect yourself, they may not pay the balance of their bill.
For instance, many artistic works are sold with a system that asks for 50% payment upfront and 50% when the job is done. A client may pay at the beginning and then fail to pay the final balance, even though the project has been delivered. To understand how to move forward, you need to consider why the payment failures happen. There are several possibilities.
The client’s financial situation has changed
Maybe the client felt like they had plenty of capital when the project you were hired to complete got started, but now they’ve run into financial troubles. They didn’t want to cancel the project, but they’ve known that it was unaffordable for some time.
You don’t have any method to penalize late payments
One issue could be that your contract does not include late fees. You feel pressure to get paid, but the client feels no pressure to pay. They intend to make good on the debt eventually, but it makes no difference to them when they do it, so they’re not in a hurry.
They never intended to pay the full amount
Some clients try to take advantage of small business owners and independent contractors. They may have never intended to pay the full amount, hoping you would have no way to make them do so and assuming you’d write it off as a loss. Don’t worry: You do have options to get the payment you deserve. Working with an attorney to collect from your debtors may be your best option.