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Getting Paid

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by leglace, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. leglace

    leglace New Member

    Would like some advice from other freelancers on how to get paid in a timely fashion. I don't ususally have problems but the paper I've been stringing for during the past year is just terrible about getting checks out. Their accounts payable person tells me she has no set schedule and just "sends checks when she feels like it."
  2. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    This is an ongoing (and unchanging, it seems) fact of life in freelancing. Mrs. Editude has a consistent client who clearly puts sending checks far down the to-do list. The solution? Hound them. And still the payments will flow in inconsistently. It's not personal. When the hounding becomes more a part of the equation than the writing/editing/designing, then step away from the gig.
  3. Talk to the editor(s) who assigned you the story and let them know you need to be paid in a more timely fashion, i.e., weekly, biweekly, monthly, whatever. If it's taking more than a month, that's wrong.

    You can jokingly suggest that you can start filing the stories "when you feel like it," but really your only recourse is to stop taking their assignments. And if it's your main deal, you probably aren't in a position to do so.
  4. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    I have a mag right now that owes me a better-than-average check for a story I did a long time ago. I felt like crap until I found out a buddy has a paper that owes him from 18 months ago.
    Just sort of a fact of the trade that I have to deal with a lot as a full-time freelancer.
  5. Cubman71

    Cubman71 Guest

    This just happened to me for a website I was working for and producing tons of content. Usually, my check would come in the first 3-4 days of the month. This month, it didn't come until the third week (9/16 to be exact), with no advance notice from the powers that be.

    Since I've been burned before from a previous stop for bouncing checks, my decision was to stop producing the work (and since I was responsible for posting content during football season, when it doubled), that really put a crimp on the site I was working for.

    My mantra is...you expect timely content, I expect timely paycheck.
  6. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    I work for a relatively mid-sized daily paper (our circ. <100,000)

    I turn in a freelance paysheet every two weeks, come hell or high water. It's gotten so timely that if the pay's a day late, I get a call or two wondering if I'm OK.

    There's no excuse for someone to go more than a month after a story's publication and not be paid.

    Hell, we do it within 2-3 weeks at my lil' ragtag shop.
  7. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    After speaking with the SE, start filing an invoice to the SE and Accounts Receivable lady.


    Oct. 15, 2008

    Mr. Leglace
    123 Main St.
    Anytown, Anystate

    Re: September freelance

    Then list the dates, events covered and amount per event, followed by the total.

    Her response of "sending checks when she feels like it" is unprofessional.
  8. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I waited for months for a check this year. Even then they tried to argue about the pay rate. That made me real mad. I'm sorry the person who guaranteed me xx.xx per story is no longer working there- but that's not my problem.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    You shouldn't be dealing with that person to begin with. Deal with your assigning editor and don't settle for being pushed onto an accounting dept or anyone else. With luck you'll have an editor with a conscience-- the last one I dealt with on a delayed payment responded to my e-mail inquiry by saying "how embarrassing!" I had a check within the week.

    And yes, file invoices.
  10. WoodyWommack

    WoodyWommack Member

    Yeah, no doubt. Most of the places I work for pay in a timely matter but I have a paper that still owes me from the NBA Summer League. Honestly I just keep good records of who owes me how much, and if it goes beyond six weeks I start emailing/calling on a regular basis.
  11. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Very important - keep good records.

    I was freelancing for a paper on a regular basis and they decided to change the payment agreement. AFTER I'd submitted several weeks worth of work.

    I took them to small claims court.

    I won.

    It cost them more money than if they would have just paid what they owed me in the first place.
  12. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    Records are key. I've learned that making sure to get everything signed or at least have some sort of proof that Company X knew I was doing a project for such and such a fee. That being said, I am still hounding a guy almost two months after I handed in job for him. Sigh.
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