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James

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I have just been reading and responding to a post all about how to accept payment.

It got me thinking about all the reasons why people couldn't pay me as agreed.

my standard terms are end of month plus 10 days and probably 60% of my invoices get paid within those terms.
30% under two months late
10% either not paid or paid very late (over 3 months)

What are the
best / funny / original / outrageous excuses that people have given for not paying you?

I will start with a real life example from my files.

circa. 2K bill for industrial customer (urgent machine repair)
same day service, call out and investigate problem.
found faulty contactor and vfd drive
sourced replacement parts, returned to site fitted, commissioned and back to service same day.
customer thrilled with service, happy with costs.
bill sent

bill ignored
2 weeks overdue, quick call to them.

WE CANT PAY IT BECAUSE THE LADY WHO DOES PAYMENTS IS ON HOLIDAY FOR 2 WEEKS.
apparently she is the only one with the password to authorise bank payments.

next day, as luck would have it, another machine developed a fault.
I suggested that my response time to breakdowns is directly proportional to there response time in paying the bill.

would you believe it, apparently there accountant can autherise payments in emergencys and I got paid that day.
 
TL;DR
Best non payment excuse
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ipf

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I had a call out from a factory with half the installation on the fringe of shut down due to a 200amp cut out on the blink. I'd been and quoted, expecting to do the job ASAP but no contact. They got in touch the week after, emergency call out, half the factory down. Got there and was told by one of the partners (accountant) that they needed three quotes....so I told them to whistle for it and went offsite. Within 10 minutes the MD called and asked me to get back in. Ended up having to get mats the same day and working very late to get up for production the day after. Before starting, the quote had gone up 50%, for immediate attention and dropping everything else. As regards payment, no question.
 

Vortigern

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If you travel in Morocco you will find it is a national trait to dicker over the price. Often encountering such cultural niceties here in blighty I have a technique when the bargaining starts. I quote the price, they say well can you do it £200 cheaper, I say Oh hang on the price has just gone up £200. Great puzzlement is seen on their face wondering how the price went up. I explain that the more they argue the price down the more I put it up. Works like a charm every time. They accept the original price with alacrity and we are all happy.
 

Gavin John Hyde

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Had a customer leave me keys to install an EV charger on side of the house whilst they were on a 2 week cruise, completed job, even banged 2 rods in and all tested and paperwork done, submitted my invoice with their return date plus 3 days on invoice.
when it was a day or so late I called and asked if everything was okay and where they happy with charger etc...
Customer then says what am I on about? they were expecting me to come back and fit it!?
turned out some thieving so and so had gone round and took it off the wall and stolen it!
customer thought there must have been an issue and that I had gone to suppliers to get replacement or something.
So they obviously hadn't paid invoice and to be fair they hadn't even opened all the post yet due to seeing family.
Makes you wonder how many ev chargers do get stolen off the wall. the smart ones are traceable but the dumb units aren't. open it up and easy to disconnect the supply or trip the rcd and away you go...
 
My payment terms are on completion of works or on demand for longer works. Materials are in stage payments as need ordering, labour as expended & completed, this normally week end. I don't know why credit terms on clients projects are offered, there is no legal requirement to do so. Just like Maccies, tesco or lidl
 

davesparks

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I don't know why credit terms on clients projects are offered, there is no legal requirement to do so. Just like Maccies, tesco or lidl
A lot of bigger companies have their established payment systems and procedures, you can either accept this and do work for them or not work for them.

However for domestic and smaller business customers I completely agree, pay on the day.
 
Thank you, I have had many a discussion (heated) telling me legally I have to wait 30 days. But all legal adisri have tells me otherwise.
 

davesparks

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Thank you, I have had many a discussion (heated) telling me legally I have to wait 30 days. But all legal adisri have tells me otherwise.
I think you have to wait 30 days from the due date before you can start to pursue them through legal channels, but as far as I'm aware it's perfectly legal to ask for full payment upfront, on the day or within any terms you agree on before starting the job.

Sometimes contractors don't help themselves by not even discussing payment terms before starting a job, they just blindly assume that a company will pay in 30 days, then moan about it when they discover the hard way that the company pays on 60 days unless otherwise agreed.
I have one commercial customer who state 30 days as standard, but the first time I quoted a job for them I explained that I normally work on 14 days, so we discussed it and they agreed to 14 days. And 5 years on they have never been late, and usually pay within 7 days.
 
I try to avoid it getting to the 30 days & leal. I have on online banking, cash & cheque acceptance & card reader, also my accounting, estimating & invoicing app which is mobile, so Bar the unplanned maintenance there is only one reason for clients not to pay on demand or completion.
 

ipf

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Waiting pees me off, sometimes, with industrial/commercial kitchens, say. Subcontracting to main installers who are, in turn, contracting and so have to wait for payment, not their fault. What niggles is rushing to finish on a Friday, say......so they can open for trade that night.
That's the way things are.
Got to remember, though, we are given time to pay by wholesalers.....but that doesn't mean we don't have to pay wages or get by ourselves, does it?
 

Risteard

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I think you have to wait 30 days from the due date before you can start to pursue them through legal channels, but as far as I'm aware it's perfectly legal to ask for full payment upfront, on the day or within any terms you agree on before starting the job.

Sometimes contractors don't help themselves by not even discussing payment terms before starting a job, they just blindly assume that a company will pay in 30 days, then moan about it when they discover the hard way that the company pays on 60 days unless otherwise agreed.
I have one commercial customer who state 30 days as standard, but the first time I quoted a job for them I explained that I normally work on 14 days, so we discussed it and they agreed to 14 days. And 5 years on they have never been late, and usually pay within 7 days.
In the absence of agreed contractual terms other than 30 days then 30 days is the legal default. If the contract states 7 days then you can pursue this legally after 7 days and not 30.
 
Payment terms on demand or on receipt of invoice unless alternative terms agreed prior to commencement of work agreed.

Payment accepted, cash, Bacs, Internet Banking.
Natwest, Lizard Electrical, Account No. xxxxxxxx, Sort code xx xx xx.


I just put this on everything I send out.
 

plugsandsparks

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Funniest one i have encountered was were one prime contractor said they could not pay me because they had not been paid. 2nd funniest was prime contractor (web based "find a trader" type stated they could not pay me as "paypal" had frozen some of their payments incoming from customers.

I have only commercial customers and some pay me religiously at 30 days and some are more random, sometimes it can take 90 days. I dont get stressed, its just normal and has been for ever.

Currently waiting for payment from a very larger heating appliance manufacturer to pay me for a warranty claim. This will be interesting as i am on the 3rd time chasing.
 
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