In a perfect world, every client would pay on time, every time.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and the sad reality is that some clients may pay late or not at all.

So, what do you do if the payment date passes and you’re left empty handed?

The first and most obvious course of action should be to reach out to the client. While you can email them, a call would be best.

However, it can be difficult to document a call. That’s why it’s important to not simply once the call ends, you need to follow up.

“2. Immediately after the call, write a short email confirming the date that was set for payment (“you will remit payment by _______”), or recapping the dispute (“you claim that you can’t make payment because X”). 

If they levy a charge at you, deny it. Do not concede any mistakes in writing. Your email should be SHORT. It should conclude by saying “if you disagree with anything in this email, please tell me.”

If you’re dealing with a client who is disputing the work and you have the above termination clause in your contract, you should cite to the contract and tell them that they failed to abide by the termination clause.  Be careful about how you deal with the dispute.  Try to get paid but conclude every correspondence with a line to the effect of:

“this correspondence is an attempt to settle the dispute and is written without prejudice to my rights to sue under the terms of the agreement between us or common law remedies which are explicitly reserved.”  

Without something like that, any concessions you make in the correspondence may make it harder to collect.  You’re likely going to need to go to a third party like Indepayment to deal with this one because they’ve already told you their not paying.”

See the full post at Freelancers Union.