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Advice needed: Not paying?

Hello all,

I've been taking on fursuit commissions for about 4-5 years now. There's been a few small bumps in the road with customers (which I have written about previously on here) but now it's getting funky with financial problems.

Late December I opened for commissions again. I took on 6 slots. Of those 6 slots, 3 people are not even close to half-way done with paying for their fursuits. In detail, 1 person is a previous client so I trust her; 1 works a few jobs and does pay as promised but with an irregular and not always agreed to amount; 1 has paid 1/6th of the commission but is waiting for a big check.

What's killing me even more is that another client of mine, a friend, secured a slot from me last April and STILL has not finished paying it off. They expect it for a convention in July. It's only a head and paws, I'm nearly done, but the kicker is that whenever I ask if they're going to pay they say "next week", then upload commissioned artwork from other people onto their FurAffinity a few times a week.

I've had to raise my fursuit prices because of the delay (plus was undercharging to begin with) but is there really anything I can do so I can actually get these commissions done and not spend months with the same list? I already make pre-mades on the side and try to remind them once every 2 weeks or so if there's no communication from the other person with their said payment due date (ex: every week, once a month, etc.)

Thanks.

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Comments

( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
keyoki
Mar. 21st, 2015 02:47 pm (UTC)
I suggest you switch to invoicing right away.

I used to do the "downpayment first and the rest whenever" thing but it makes it impossible to know if you're being strung along. Set up a repeating payment of something like $100-200 a month so that your customers treat the fursuit like any other bill. On top of this add in an abandonment clause into your ToS which lays out how you deal with missed payments and/or no cominication.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 03:02 pm (UTC)
Actually had a client invoice me last night.

Only thing is that I'm beyond terrible with invoices, I get that they're easy to set up but I always forget. Should I just try e-mailing more often as a friendly reminder or ask when the next payment will be so I'm not completely out in the dark?
(no subject) - sbneko - Mar. 21st, 2015 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keyoki - Mar. 21st, 2015 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 21st, 2015 08:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - keyoki - Mar. 22nd, 2015 01:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snobahr - Mar. 21st, 2015 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
lackoflollies
Mar. 21st, 2015 02:50 pm (UTC)
In regards to the friend who hasn't paid it off; Don't give them a single part of their suit until they do. Do NOT be pressured into it. Tbh i'd also stop working on it until something resembling a decent payment is received, work on other projects that have been or are being properly paid for.

Edited in a few letters.

Edited at 2015-03-21 02:53 pm (UTC)
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC)
That's what my last A_B was about: Someone I gave a suit to because we were "friends" and they never paid again. Nope. Not happening.

I will say, though, that I asked them after I posted this and their excuse was rent. Apparently all the art they've commissioned was from months ago.
Left a bad taste in my mouth because they posted on Twitter "what a great fucking way to wake up" and then posted on both Twitter and Facebook an emoji (":^)") which they use sarcastically.

Edit: Cannot use the same adjective in a sentence twice.

Edited at 2015-03-21 03:00 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - kattotang - Mar. 22nd, 2015 12:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 22nd, 2015 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kattotang - Mar. 22nd, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 22nd, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Mar. 22nd, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 22nd, 2015 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gunstar_private - Mar. 25th, 2015 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
fayv
Mar. 21st, 2015 04:18 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you don't have any minimal downpayment, I could be wrong, but honestly you shouldn't be doing any work without some payment.

The minimum downpayment (30% is pretty standard) allows you to buy materials. Even if you have materials now you have money for materials in the future and keep things steady so you don't have long breaks while waiting on basic stuff.

It also means that anyone actually interested in your work has at least the capacity to pay the 30% or save up for it.

The other thing is I agree with comments above, an abandonment clause in the TOS is a good thing.

This is a business, even if it's on the side, and while that may not make people happy, if you must wait months on end for payment for someone to get around to paying you then that is not fair to you. If it is "friends" trying to guilt you into it, then they are not really good friends to have.

Minimum downpayment, scheduled payments, and abandonment clauses.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
You're right, I don't have a set minimum downpayment. I was thinking earlier about setting it to 30% and I think I will do that.

The abandonment clause is listed in my TOS, it's along the lines of "Buying a fursuit is not a necessity, do not commission if you do not think you can pay". However I set this recently so my friend didn't know about it.

(no subject) - fayv - Mar. 22nd, 2015 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
teekchan
Mar. 21st, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC)
I dont have much advice except; Do NOT let friendships in before business.

When my friends commission me I swap over to a 'business mode' and treat them as any other commissioners. They should understand that theyre just regular customers, and if they get pissy or rude, it's a great way to weed out if they were hoping for a deal or freebies.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 05:44 pm (UTC)
I probably worded this weirdly in that I'm not letting the friendship get in the way. They probably think they can weasel their way out and pay less or infrequently, which is why they acted rudely when I asked about a payment. They lied about something else at a con we attended (not together) so I'm weary about getting this finished as quickly as possible and lessening my bond with the individual. :x

I used to have a difference between friend commissions and regular commissions but over the last year it's become very strictly business-only for anyone and everyone. I have taxes and bills to pay too, I can't wait on you to pay when you want because we're friends.
raisindust
Mar. 21st, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC)
FRIENDS ARE NOT FRIENDS IN BUSINESS. I've run into it, pretty sure everyone that works for commission has run into it.

Friends shouldn't be given lenience in pricing, in how often they pay, nothing, because during the times you guys are arranging a business deal they are no longer your friend, but your customer ( you are no longer their friend, but the professional they are working with ). You can resume being friends during off hours but trusting someone because they are a friend generally ends up bad all around.

So I'd tell your friend that he either needs to pay within a certain date or you'll abandon the project.

Also setting up monthly plans would be the best bet. Simply buying a calander, marking off the days, and emailing people when a payment is due would be fine if you didn't want to go the invoice route. Late payments would be charged more to make up for the lost wages their airheadedness caused you.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
Already touched base on that in the previous comment.

I don't really trust this person at this point, due to them not paying well (being 4 months behind when they said they'd finish paying) and spreading rumors about my best friend to give me an anxiety attack at a con.

Generally I accept weekly, bi-weekly and monthly payments. The friend was doing bi-weekly for a good amount of time, then just "forgot" about it. Not fair to me.
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Mar. 21st, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 21st, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Mar. 21st, 2015 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 21st, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
bigblued
Mar. 21st, 2015 09:22 pm (UTC)
Payapl allows you to generate a "subscription service" button. You can set the amount paid per cycle, how long a cycle is (weekly, monthly, etc. ) and how many cycles the subscription lasts. The money is automatically taken from them at the set schedule.

I haven't seen this mentioned in the fursuit community, but I have talked with artists in other areas who use it with customers to make sure they get paid for larger projects.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 21st, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC)
I'm so, so surprised I haven't heard of this sooner. It sounds heavenly.

I'll look into it right away and see how it works more in detail. I might want to use this when I re-open for commissions.

Edit: Stop using the same adjectives.

Edited at 2015-03-21 09:26 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - naparum - Mar. 22nd, 2015 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 22nd, 2015 01:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bigblued - Mar. 22nd, 2015 02:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 22nd, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
tylociraptor
Mar. 21st, 2015 09:48 pm (UTC)
Their fursuit bills should be treated as any other bill- they made the choice to order from you and need to pay on time.

Invoices, set to a certain date are important. Also, LATE. FEES. I can't stress this enough. If they told their cable provider they couldn't pay their bill several months in a row because of this excuse or that excuse, they'd at THE LEAST be incurring huge late fees, if not facing cancellation of the service.

Just because it's within fandom, from a friend, etc. does not make your business and bills any less legitimate than ANY other bills.
dinogrrl
Mar. 21st, 2015 10:45 pm (UTC)
Good point. Luckily I haven't had that problem but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have something about late fees in my ToS. What kind of fees would you consider standard? *clueless*
(no subject) - tylociraptor - Mar. 21st, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
duster
Mar. 22nd, 2015 08:12 am (UTC)
"Due to continued lack of payment, I am ceasing work on your fursuit.

You have until (day here) to pay (amount here) to continue work on your fursuit. Your fursuit will not be turned over to you until it is paid in full. If you do not pay (amount here) by the aforementioned deadline you will be refunded what you have paid thus far [minus your deposit of X dollars if you have a deposit] and the project abandoned."

No extensions, no excuses, no "lending" the suit for "just one convention," nothing. Tell your friend to either pay up or no suit. And kudos for mentioning up there you won't bend to this deadline without payment! If your friend needed this suit by that con, they'd have paid by now!

It sucks putting your foot down, I'm the worst at being assertive so I feel your pain, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and tell someone to stop taking advantage of you which this friend clearly is.
laughsatthunder
Mar. 22nd, 2015 01:48 pm (UTC)
Sadly the suit is finished at this point. It's just going to sit in my room until they finish paying for it. I know they requested me to bring it to a furmeet so they could try it on but that's a joke.

They're so, so close to finishing payment on it, I don't understand why they have to give a hard time and buy other things. The excuse of "I need to pay rent" and then them buying 3-5 commissions makes NO sense because they're spending more money on the commissions than they they would on an agreed payment for the suit.
(no subject) - kaliedosock - Mar. 23rd, 2015 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaliedosock - Mar. 23rd, 2015 07:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Mar. 23rd, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 02:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Mar. 23rd, 2015 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 03:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dinogrrl - Mar. 23rd, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dinogrrl - Mar. 23rd, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
laughsatthunder
Mar. 23rd, 2015 08:26 pm (UTC)
Entry submitted. I had such a hard time getting the correct screenshots because of so many irrelevant messages.
familliaraver
Mar. 23rd, 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
Feel free to take whatever you need from my TOS. Reading through the tos of other builders helped me develop mine.

http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/6386897/

laughsatthunder
Mar. 23rd, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! <3 I'm always looking at other TOSes but feel like I'm outright stealing if I do take others points. Kinda realize it's a little silly since safer methods mean a safer transaction.
(no subject) - laughsatthunder - Mar. 23rd, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 54 comments — Leave a comment )

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