There’s nothing better than starting the day by sending out a few polite-but-firm cash-chasing emails. O, the satisfaction of hitting the ‘send’ button. The butterfly-tummy anticipation of the arrival of entertaining excuses, peevish replies or (hopefully) actual cash.
Every business relies on good cash flow. It’s easy to mistake a regular customer for a good customer; in my experience, the only good customers are the ones who pay. The best ones pay on time.
I’m fortunate that most of my customers are ace at paying but it has to be said, some are really really rubbish at it. Hence this morning’s email splurge. (I like to imagine cash-chasing emails as paint-ball bullets – in my mind a client opens the email and immediately gets spattered with sticky, purple late-payment juice that takes ages to wipe off their keyboard).
While I enjoy a good spreadsheet as much as the next person (?) I have a guy who handles all my accounts stuff: the invoicing, the payments, everything. And the bit he likes most of all is the credit control part.
He’s a unique individual, my accounts guy. There are rumours he was born in a pod. He can smell weather. He eats staples. He has the milky-eyed look of a being who never goes out in daylight, unless it’s to stand completely motionless in the middle of roundabouts. In the office, we call him Hell Boy.
Here’s a picture.
You can guess what his cash-chasing style’s like, can’t you?
So we share the task. He plays the opening gambit and if a client is particularly tardy, I do the follow-up.
The excuses we get for late payment are ALL THE SAME.
“We never got your invoice! Or the duplicates! Or the duplicates of duplicates! Or ANY of the many, many statements! Gosh! Where ON EARTH could they BE? Tsk – our email system’s PANTS! Please send us another load of paperwork so we can use this simple delaying tactic to try to eke out a few more days’ credit and we promise to absolutely pay you unequivocally immediately, yes (not really, LOL).”
Some aren’t so subtle. One guy I had to chase had the brass neck to say: “We’re not going to pay you. We’ve used the audio but we’re not going to pay you.”
Reader, I sued him.
Another said: “You know when I said I’d sent the cheque? I lied.”
I sued him too.
Don’t get the wrong impression; I only sue people if they really take the piss, if they’re really late or ignore all communication. The ignorers are the worst. They feed vampirically on your resources only to reluctantly cough up big gouts of YOUR MONEY once they receive the court summons.
Hell Boy dislikes those customers the most. Rumour has it he just has to look at their email address and they immediately get boils.
But the joy of being paid for a job well done! The joy of a promise fulfilled! The joy of not having to share information about bad payers with others in the voiceover community! The joy, even, of agreeing a sensible payment plan!
I find being paid on time helps grease the wheels of commercial relationships. It also helps a recovering economy.
If you owe a voiceover a chunk of money, just try getting them to complete ‘ultra urgently-needed’ audio and you’ll see what I mean.