NASE Blogs

Butcher, Baker, Bill Collector?

Friday, April 30, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - We know that small business owners wear many hats, from bookkeeper to office manager to janitor, but this Wall Street Journal article highlights another role that many business owners are unexpectedly having to take on - that of bill collector.

The article states that:

"About 40% of freelancers had trouble getting paid in 2009, according to a survey released in mid-April by the New York-based Freelancers Union, a 135,000-member organization for independent contractors across the country in fields such as media, technology, and advertising."

 

The WSJ cautions that the problem could get worse as more professionals turn to freelance work because of the financial crisis and subsequent high unemployment rates.  In addition, independent contractors aren't covered by most federal laws, and so don't have the same legal protections on wages as permanent employees. Where a permanent employee can turn to federal or state labor departments if they don't get paid, independent contractors often must turn to the court system.

To avoid such problems, the article suggests that freelances take a few steps before accepting a job, such as searching consumer complaint websites and industry discussion boards to make sure their potential client doesn't have a history of late payments and have the terms of payment and late penalties built into a written contract.  If the deadline for payment passes, don't wait! Instead, "immediately try to connect with the person responsible for payment by phone. If they don't respond, send a revised invoice with the agreed-upon fees or interest charges added on."

[More Freelancers Fight to Be Paid]

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