Monday, October 03, 2011

Chasing The Cash

I'm an artist not a bill collector and I don't enjoy having to chase money. I'd almost rather walk away from an unpaid debt than have to work to get paid. This is why we ask for 50% up front and then we get the other 50% just before we ship or install. If the client has paid 50% up front, they are unlikely to walk away from their investment. If we get paid the full amount before we ship glass, we don't have to worry about collecting our fee.

But occasionally, things go wrong. A few years ago, we got our 50% up front and billed for the second half with the decorator who we worked with. The window was delivered and installed and then both we and the decorator had to wait for payment. The clients held final payment back from everyone who worked on the project for a year and a half. At the end of that time, the house was sold at double the asking price when we were due to be paid. They had used all the contractors as the bank, doubled their money and then happily paid us all later on. That's the only time I came close to filing a lien on a property.

Recently we delivered some panels that we agreed to trade foe half the value and get the remainder in cash once they were installed. But somehow, when the install happened, the deal started to change, we weren't paid anything, other windows were added into the deal and the whole thing became a mess. Now the client treats us like bill collectors, we've used up our solder reserves on the project and we feel abused. I'm going to try not to let this happen again, but until it gets resolved, it saps energy away from us and makes the creative process a little less enjoyable.

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