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Sharing "bad client" experiences

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I thought I remembered a few years ago a discussion about having a forum where we could warn other VA's about questionable clients? I don't see it anywhere and wondered what had become of it or if my memory is just faulty. LOL That question shows I've been around a few years! (Actually about 6!)

 

Over the past few months I have experienced several clients who received services, raved about how excellent everything was and then ended up not paying. I'm also in the middle of a client trying to file a chargeback on services delivered over a 3 month period! Needless to say my company policies around payments are changing and my CFO is having fits.

 

One of things we talked about is some kind of forum where a VA could post experience with clients so other VA's can beware. I'm not talking about the "we're not a good fit" type of problems but the problem of client non payment, or flat eratic behavior (one of the clients I spoke of above I actually suspect is bi-polar).

 

Your thoughts?

 

-Karen

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I believe it was asked about here awhile back and although an interesting idea there are so many legalities (defamation, etc.) surrounding same, I really don't think it be a good thing to talk publicly about. Also it might not look good to other potential clients who saw a VA talking bad about their clients. Would you want to hire a VA who you heard bad mouthing a past client? ;)

 

As much as it would be cool to have a place to know who were all the "bad" clients, I just don't think it is practical from a professional point of view.

 

I always get my payment upfront, have for years and therefore don't have to worry about clients that don't pay.

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That was what I was wondering about Tawnya - the legality of it.

 

I have had a very frustrating few months. My policy has been they pay a retainer upfront but they are allowed to over the retainer and pay the overage hours the next month. After some problems with that, I changed new contracts to say if the overage hours dould the retainer then they had to refresh immediately. Now I have had a client refuse to do that and choose to part ways instead of pay according to contract. Back to contract revisions.

 

I guess it's all part of growing pains.

 

Karen

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I have only one or two instances early in my business where I didn't get paid. After that I required new clients to pay for the first 10 hours upfront. I have never had issues with getting paid since. This protects me and gives them a chance to try me out and see what they think of my work.

 

Jodie "It's too late to be up but here I am" Burdette

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I always recommand an upfront amont mostly 50% of the total payment. Unless I am assured with the payment, I don't involve myself in the work.

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Asking for a retainer or charging the monthly fee at the first of the month is always a smart bet. As a rule, my clients are charged the beginning of the month for the entire month, it hits their card automatically.

 

Having said that, make sure you are fully vetting clients. I research them and make sure they're a good fit. I've only had one stiff me in 11 years of being in business, for $350.

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Speaking of "hitting their card automatically", I had someone file charge backs with the credit card company for $4000 worth of work! The work went back 3 months. Everyone is saying it will never stick but in the meantime, I'm out the $4000 that I worked for.

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Hello everyone - often times a progressive payment plan is best - whereby the client pays for example, 40% upfront and then as you complete each phase, another % is collected from them until the work is 100% completed and paid. So, 40%, then 30% and a final 30% is a possible arrangement. The idea is their bill will not accrue to the point where they doubt its value as you keep them updated as to the progress of the work and what they are paying for. This could be the arrangement for the first 6 months of working together, then once you have their confidence, change to a 100% upfront payment BEFORE you commence any work. In order for them to respect you and the VALUE OF THE WORK that you contribute to their business - they frankly are not worth having! Adrian

Edited by Adrian

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Speaking of "hitting their card automatically", I had someone file charge backs with the credit card company for $4000 worth of work! The work went back 3 months. Everyone is saying it will never stick but in the meantime, I'm out the $4000 that I worked for.

 

Yes, that's a definite downside of doing business and I'm sure it's infuriating. HUGS.

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Good news! I shared that I had a former client file charge backs that totaled almost $4000. Her charge backs have been denied and my money is back in my account! Keep good records!!

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Congrats to you! I had $5700 in chargebacks (4 monthly retainers) about 4-5 years ago with Paypal. I took the client to court and won but it was a hollow victory as Paypal sided with them even though I had won in court. Long story short, Paypal will get paid no matter what and I don't recommend using them as a third party to collect large sums of money.

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The best advice I ever got was, "Don't treat yourself like a small business." Take the time to set up your corporate paperwork the RIGHT way: at the very least, an LLC. Don't mess around with dba's. Get a tax ID number. Create your processes and STICK.TO.THEM. no matter what. If you bill in advance, then bill in advance and don't back down when it comes time to get paid again.

 

Don't cheapen yourself just to get the client.

 

Value YOU and they will value YOU.

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And look at this article I just found:

https://www.citibank.com/womenandco/article/5-things-not-to-do-when-you-work-from-home.jsp

 

I know I've kind of veered away from the topic here, but I think putting iron-clad processes in place will stop a lot of "bad client" experiences.

 

This industry is too vital to play with. Business owners need what a VA can do. We owe it to ourselves and to our clients to be the professional they are paying for.

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