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Advice regarding payment plans?


I've recently come into a bit of a problem regarding my allowing payment plans to pay for fursuit parts. I've currently got about 3 commissions in the WIP stage and one completed commission that are on a payment plan and I was to receive quite a bit in total for the payments this week. Well, something suddenly came up with every single commissioner and I haven't been paid at all. Some of these commissions are going on week two and three of being unpaid/updated with a payment.

I don't want to stop accepting payment plans at all because I know they're incredibly helpful for people, and I don't want a few bad apples to ruin this. And I know that other people have problems and I don't want to seem insensitive, but I have bills as well and it's kind of hard to count on such a large payment after a ton of hard work and then have every customer just be so nonchalant and just "lol I'll get it to you sometime next week I think".

I suppose my question is what do I do in this situation? I don't know what to add to my TOS in terms of how soon something should be paid off or what to do if someone is unable to pay for a while. I don't really know how to handle this at all.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2014 08:42 am (UTC)
How much do you take per payment and do you have any set dates?
Personally I'd think you definitely should have a payment deadline of couple weeks max, and if the commissioner can't pay by that date to cancel/partially refund and use/auction the finished work on other projects if just possible.
Obviously leeway is possible to discuss if the commissioner is in a tight spot but like any real bills, you can't just pay "whenever" and leave it at that with no communication.
Aug. 31st, 2014 01:13 pm (UTC)
I think if anything it might be good to discuss a tentative payment plan, like a schedule of when payment is expected. I know at my previous job (I worked at a veterinary hospital and we did do a few payment plans with clients) we often formed an idea of when to do payments with post-dated checks. Like creating a list - you expect payment on this particular day based on the duration of how long the payment plan is - (every other week, the first Monday of every month, so forth) ahead of time so they can get an idea of what to expect and when to pay so they can be prepared.

Granted, owners would write checks for those dates and we would hold onto them and we would deposit the check for that specific date and this would go on until we were paid. You can do something similar to this, where at the beginning when a client requests the payment plan you can go "you will have to pay a portion of the total (based on what you agreed upon) on this particular day(s) (or for example, every other week, Monday, with Wednesday being the last day possible in that week - something of that sort).

Granted this is just a potential idea, not entirely sure how you do your payment plans or anything of that sort. c:

Another thing you might want to include in your TOS is that if payment stops, then so does your work. I think this is a given but the last thing is that you've put more effort into it then what you were paid for and the client bails on you or kind of jerks you around. Also if a client happens to get upset because you are not working on their particular piece, you are covered by stating that since they have no paid you the requested amount, then you cannot go further (considering that the money helps pay for supplies, your time and labor, etc).

These are all suggestions, but I hope this helps somewhat. I agree with the other suggestions and that they are worth to consider as well, depending on how you go about this. c:

((edited to add something on and spelling error))

Edited at 2014-08-31 01:16 pm (UTC)
Aug. 31st, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
I haven't used it, but Paypal has a subscription service option. As I understand it, you can set it up so that the subscription will automagically take X$ every Y time period, and end after Z payments.

Looking at it for 30 secoonds, it looks like you might have to learn a tiny bit of code. But it seems pretty straighforward.


Also, possibly add something to your TOS that says soemthing like "Delays in payment will result in delays in completing your project. I have a very busy schedule and need to focus my time on clients who are current on their payments." When they say lol I'll get it to you next week, you then say lol, your delivery date is now pushed back a week.
Aug. 31st, 2014 04:22 pm (UTC)
Im not sure how many slots you take at once, but say you take 5 slots, only allow two of them to be pay plans. make it limited so you won't end up with all of them being payment plans.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Aug. 31st, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 31st, 2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
Take a larger deposit up-front.

Less payments are best. Split it up into thirds or in half depending on the size of the commission. For anything under 100 bucks I wouldn't let them stretch that past a month unless it was a special case.

Missed payments void deadlines.

Missed payments move work to the back of the queue to allow paying customers to get finished.

I charge rent at around 10 percent for every missed pay period for larger projects.

Be pro-active now. Set deadlines, be professional, and stick to your guns.

Sep. 1st, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
I'm just going to give some contract law advice, take it or leave it.

The amount and time line for payments is something that's better to be indvidually agreed on in a contract.

Having some basic info in you TOS is okay, but just remember that TOS don't replace contracts.

If your TOS says that you accept payments with a non-refundablee deposit of 20%, then four equal payments of the remainder in monthly intervals that's great. It lets your buyer know the ground rule.

Then send your contract and in it list the exact amounts specific to the client, the deposit amount, and payment amounts, and also the exact dates.

So for example $500 non refundable, then $175 for four months, payment one on April 2nd, payment two May 2nd, etc. Be sure that this is section is initialed by the client along with the signature on the main body of the contract.
That way your butt is truly covered.

Also just check your local state/federal laws on how much grace period time you have to give the buyer when they miss a payment, and how many payments they have to miss(usually two payments, with ten days grace period for each payment day, but be sure and check) before you can consider the buyer in breach and cancel the deal.
Sep. 1st, 2014 12:07 am (UTC)
My math is bad. Haha, ignore the math. You get the idea even if the math is bad.

I'm happy to explain the scan/sign method of online contracts too if anyone needs it. I've done it here on aA-B before so some have seen it.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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