Updated September 2023

We've got a client who's 11 months past due on an invoice. It's not a huge sum, so it's not like her nonpayment is keeping me from paying the mortgage or anything, but, hey, every little bit helps. What sticks in my craw is that the client hasn't made a peep since we delivered the job. Not even a "Got it". All along the way her feedback was positive. If she suddenly decided it wasn't what she wanted, all she had to do was tell us.

Don't be like this business owner.

3 rules you can't or won't pay a bill

  1. Shoot straight. If you aren't happy with the work, say so. Give your vendor a chance to make it right, or at least to apologize. If you don't want to pay, don't. But don't be a coward about it.
  2. Come clean. If you can't meet your obligations because of financial problems, say so. Most other small businesses have been in similar straits (I know I have) and have had to ask for extended terms or for a break. Most of us are pretty understanding about that. But not if you just don't pay and go into hiding. That's bad business.
  3. Remember the Golden Rule. No matter what the situation, common decency should always apply. At its most basic, good business is still about doing unto others as you'd have them do unto you. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be cool with a client taking your work product and not paying you for it without ever explaining why. So why do that to your vendors?