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Thread: Payment owed to me ( again )

  1. #1
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    Payment owed to me ( again )

    Hi all,

    It seems that I have this huge LED light on my forehead saying, "Please don't pay me".

    I do IT work for a public school on a monthly basis. SLA. agreement is I go TWICE a month to this school and do maintenance on the workstations and server.

    Now last month I only went there ONCE. Not twice. Went to have a word with the lady who pays the bill and she said, "How many times have you been here this month?"

    I answered, "Only once".

    She told me it's twice a month and then said, "OK well then you're just going to have to owe us an extra visit next month." ( Schools are closed at the moment ). she said they were discussing it just the other day. Now, I assume they were discussing why I haven't been there yet for that month.

    If they didn't want me anymore, I'm sure she would've told me. Or.... I could be on probation and not even know it?

    The agreement is they pay on the last day of the month via EFT.

    Age of contract : 2 months

    Did they pay on time the first month? Yes

    Have they paid for this month yet? NO

    Money owed to me: R1714

    Now my question....

    Should I mail this lady and ask for payment? she's on holiday at the moment, but I'm sure she checks her e-mail's. ( Mweb POP3 mail ).

    Thing is, I don't want to lose this SLA. It's a new client, I did VERY good work in last month for them, I help them immediately when they have a problem, I'm always available on my cell phone etc etc

    I'm afraid that if I do ask for payment, this lady is going to turn around and say, "How can we pay you if the agreement was for twice a month, and you only came once?"

    OK, then pay me half the amount now until I go out there again when the schools open?

    Do I suck it up & wait for the schol's to re-open and then confront her about payment?

    Do I ask for it now risking them saying, "Wow, second month & already we having issues with you. Good-bye"

    Everyone makes mistakes, I made one by not going out twice this month.

    I'm posting asking for help, because just like everyone, I budget, and this payment not coming in is kinda hurting the budget for this month.

    Your views guys?

    How do I approach this in such a way that it doesn't enrage the client to a point where they say, "Thx but we'll get someone else from now on".

    Hope someone can help.

  2. #2
    Email problem KimH's Avatar
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    Perhaps they haven't paid yet due to an oversight? Shutting down for the holidays it may have just slipped their mind.

    The thing is they have an SLA with you (which I presume has been signed?) - you have completed half of the work and they do have an obligation to pay you for at least the work already carried out, so you have the full right to follow up on the payment. I would send a reminder via email... that is providing that she even checks her mails while on leave (send with a read receipt just to make sure). Pre-arrange to catch up on the outstanding visit within the first week of the schools re-opening perhaps? The thing is that due to the school holidays July is a very short month and 3 visits could be a bit much - August though is a 5 week month so perhaps arrange to incorporate the balance of visits then to make sure that the client has received the number of visits due by the end of that month. Perhaps even look at an modifying your SLA to accommodate for school holidays in future.

    Your focus should be on giving your clients the best service you can and spending less time making assumptions about what they are thinking

    Best of luck, let us know how it turned out in the end.
    "If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you."

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    Dave A (07-Jul-11), Perform Computers (04-Jul-11)

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    Thank you

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    **UPDATE**

    Went to the school yesterday, did the work & got paid.

    Lesson: DO NOT take your clients for granted, and DO the work properly.

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    Email problem mother's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Andrew, I believe even if you had done the 2nd job before the holidays, you probably still wouldn't have got your money until now. Many schools or parents of schoolkids have this terrible habit of postponing payments until school is in, even if it was made clear that payment is due at the end/start of the month. Over school holidays (and Jul holidays being the worst), nearly 60% of our debtors "forget" to pay until the start of the next school term.

    But hey, great that you finally got your payment!

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    That reminds me, better start making payment arrangements for December. I'm not waiting 3 weeks again for payment.

    Server goes down, I'm there the same day. Internet goes down, I'm there the same day. Mail goes down, I'm there. So in return for that service, I'm going to expect my payment on time.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I think that the wording of your SLA agreement might be the problem.

    What you think you said:
    SLA R 17... per month.
    2 Service calls - FREE
    Further calls - R.. / hour

    What she reads:
    R 17... for 2 visits
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

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    AndyD (19-Jul-11), Blurock (19-Jul-11), Perform Computers (19-Jul-11)

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Good advice Adrian. This comes back to a proper needs analysis before writing the SLA. 2 visits per month is just not practical if the school is closed for the holidays. Do a "what if" analysis and ask the questions. Never assume - cross the T's and dot the I's when you negotiate.

    It may also be wise to talk to your customer. Let them understand where you come from and that you need payment monthly, or you will not be around to service them for much longer. It is very important to build the customer/supplier relationship so that everyone is on the same page and you all know what is expected.

    I once had a client with a huge property portfolio , earning substantial rental income. He had a poor credit record because his tenants (the major ones being banks and other big corporates) did not pay consistently on the last day of the month, but any time up to the 15th.

    His perception was that the banks and big business has this strategy of paying late and he just had to wait. Not so. From the bank's side, the payment was manually done by a clerk who thought that she could do the payment when she had the time after month end. No-one told her that it had to be on a specific date!

    After discussing the issue with the larger tenants, they agreed to sign stop orders or diarise for EFT's to be done at month end. Problem solved.

  11. Thanks given for this post:

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