Use Your Influence: Chasing Late Payments

               

Working as an influencer can often come with its challenges. By now, brands and agencies should have cottoned onto the fact that influencers are extremely valuable, and will require financial compensation for their efforts. Once you’ve found a brand to work with, agreed your terms and completed the work however, if you’re unlucky, actually getting your hands on the agreed payment can be harder than you imagined…

Before you grab the pitchforks, it is important to remember that slight payment delays are part and parcel of life in business, and can occur for a number of different reasons. Cashflow can be a real bugger. However, if the delay becomes significant and is impacting your own finances in more than just a trivial capacity, there are steps you can take.

1. Check over your original agreement

Before you began working on the brand collaboration project, you should have made some sort of agreement regarding fees and expected ROIs on both sides of the deal. Even if this consists only of an email, it is still valid as long as there is written proof that both parties agree. Check this over THOROUGHLY, particularly the terms of payment. It is not uncommon for large organisations to outsource financial processes to other companies – make sure you have sent your invoice to exactly the location specified.

If you can say with 100% honesty and accuracy that you have delivered everything you agreed to in the specified time-frame, resend your original invoice. If it makes you feel a little less awkward, send a light and breezy note along with it, ‘checking that the original invoice found them ok, and just checking when to expect payment’ or words to that effect.

If you are using a platform like CI, it is often not the brand or agency that are responsible for actually making the payment, although they have provided the funds. In this instance, get in touch with the help-desk of the platform in question, and they will be able to direct your enquiry to the right place.

2. Take your correspondence higher

The person you are emailing or are in contact with from the agency or brand is highly unlikely to be the one who handles the company’s finances. If you still haven’t heard back after re-sending your invoice and waiting a few more days, it might be time to move further up the managerial chain (if possible). Use LinkedIn to find useful email addresses if you have to, and send a copy of your agreement and invoice to someone a little higher up in the company, preferably in the finance department if applicable. Make sure you are polite and non-confrontational, but be clear that you are still awaiting payment that is now quite late. Chances are, this will elicit at least a response, if not a swift injection into your bank account.

If your MO is to add late charges to outstanding invoices, it might be an idea to offer to drop them if the total amount is paid straight away.

3. Give them a ring

As obsolete as telecommunication seems in this day and age, sometimes it really is the quickest route to getting things done. Try calling the company you are owed money from directly, rather than a number unique to the person you are dealing with. If you speak to someone unaware of the situation, they may be more dynamic in sorting it. Calling also creates a space to discuss the situation, as opposed to relying on email communication solely.

And if you’re still not getting paid…

Unfortunately, sometimes receiving the funds you’re owed is a much harder process than it should be. If it’s been a significant amount of time without payment and you have tried all of the steps above to no avail, the next thing to do is send a certified letter. This consists of a letter describing what you intend to do in a legal capacity if you do not receive payment within a specified time frame. It should also include a copy of the original agreement. These letters are usually ignored, but they are a necessary step if you plan to take the situation further. Once you have sent your certified letter, check your paperwork to see which geographical jurisdiction your collaboration is covered under (on CI for instance, this information is listed in the Ts&Cs section). If covered under UK jurisdiction, seek legal advice from Citizens Advice and sites like Freelancers in the UK.