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Old February 18th, 2020, 12:26 PM   #16
geniusintraining
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OMG... I HATE THIS PART OF THE JOB!

Just last week I got paid 45 days late from a supplier to one of the largest companies in the US, I have tried everything, the only thing that works for me is to call them and email them everyday, trust me they will pay you because they want you to go away and when you email them.. copy everyone from the CEO to the janitor of the business on the email, every time. Start the email the same way every time "I provided you a service and would like to be paid, it has now been xx days and we are still waiting on the payment" and send it everyday several times a day

Read this one http://www.plctalk.net/qanda/showthread.php?t=60769
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Old February 18th, 2020, 12:44 PM   #17
Tom Jenkins
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I did mostly municipal work. Regardless of what it was called a time bomb would have probably been both unethical and illegal.

It comes down to leverage. As Steve points out progress payments are a great first start. If you can get some with the PO great. If not get some on approval of drawings, delivery of equipment, and only leave 10% or 15% for payment on completion.

I worked through contractors a lot. My leverage for final payment was a letter to the municipality notifying them that I was canceling their warranty because of non-payment. Since that put the contractor at risk for his final payment it was very effective.

I never accepted the "You'll get paid when I get paid" nonsense. I'm not a bank and it isn't my job to cash flow the contractor.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 01:24 PM   #18
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To clarify,
Tom Jenkins customers were different from mine. You cannot stop a sewer plant for any reason.
About a third of my business was renovating or retooling small assembly or test machines for small plastic molders. Often they were the bottom feeders and you had to deal with them as such. They were referred to us by their big name customers who actually owned the machines so it was a profitable business.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 01:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Jenkins View Post
As Steve points out progress payments are a great first start.
I never accepted the "You'll get paid when I get paid" nonsense. I'm not a bank and it isn't my job to cash flow the contractor.
I was an inspector for a water utility out west for about 4 years--in-house. My job was to not only inspect the work and material, but fill out the monthly pay estimates. Like Steve said, we gave "progress payments". We also held onto 10 percent at the end of the job as a "retention" fund that made sure the contractor got all the punch list items and the de-mobilization done before receiving final payment after buy-off and us taking possession of the work. Worked well, and the contractor was always wanting more each month and I was always paying less than they wanted. A good carrot on a stick. And I like the fact that people agree that someone who does work isn't a bank, and needs to be paid as agreed. Try that with your car or your house and see how far that gets you.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 01:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfredoQuintero View Post
I am wondering whether there is there a specific code, whether federal or for some state which defines specifically such kinds of prohibitions?
I am not a lawyer.

I know that in the US the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 (“CFAA”) (18 U.S.C. § 1030) covers a lot of intentional "damage" to computer systems.

Since the computers protected by this act include those “used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce" and damage is defined as “any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information” it seems very likely that the deadbeat would have a right of civil action against you.

While you might then be able to recover the money owed you in a countersuit, would they exceed the damages they might claim? And if you are doing this to avoid court it isn't a good solution.

Now, with that said, it is quite likely if the contract spelled out that a time bomb was installed that they could not claim that you used unauthorized access to plant the bomb. Of course having it in the licence agreement might not keep you out of court.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 03:00 PM   #21
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We have a customer that brings us a lot of good work, but they always pay 30 days later. On bigger machines, we now require them 50% down before we order anything and the other 50% when startup is complete. So what we would do, make sure everything is running right and good and we are ready to leave. Then we'll lock it out until the other 50% is paid.

Just now we are working on another job with them. And they came around and asked for a discount because of the short payment terms. I told them that they have brought it upon themselves.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 03:11 PM   #22
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I had a customer send me a letter saying they were changing ALL their payment terms to NET 90 Days. I sent them a letter saying they were now on PREPAID terms.

As far as a payment schedule I make sure the down payment covers everything I have to purchase and the installation payment covers time and expenses so that if I don't get, or have to fight for, the rest it is profit and not expenses I have to put out for them.

Plus, in Michigan at least - probably other states, if I am not paid I can file a lien against the machine, seize it and take it out of service with a simple court order until full payment, interest, costs, legal fees, etc. are paid in full.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 03:35 PM   #23
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Dealing with customers can sometimes be like walking in i minefield, you have to avoid them

Perhaps it's a skill you develop, or you just have, but you should "read" people you do business with. I've learned to trust my gut feeling and just turn down jobs when I sense something is not right. If you can't afford to turn a job down, you certainly can't afford to be ripped off either.

Last time it was a potential new customer who wanted me to finish what someone else had started.. And why was that? I didn't want to find out.

Other then that I feel that most good advice has already been written here and in the old threads (especially having your mother call the non-paying customer ).

The only thing I would really emphasize is the obvious; keep some form of leverage against the customer so that it's in their interest to pay you.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 09:08 PM   #24
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Not a lawyer, but:

If you call it a time bomb, or add it in AFTER you run into trouble, or you're sneaky about it, you're gonna have a bad time. Definitely if you do more than one of those at the same time.

If you call it a license to run the software on the PLC, and it is programmed in from the beginning, and it is clearly spelled out in the contract, then I would think that's a completely different scenario. You wouldn't expect Rockwell or Siemens software to run without a license, no reason you shouldn't be able to do the same thing.

HOWEVER, the customer can also sue you for just about anything. Doesn't mean they'll win, but you'll have to pay to fight them off.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 09:43 PM   #25
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Ive only been stiffed by 1 company in 4 years and for $399. Thanks for posting this thread it reminded me to send a email to everyone including the ceo.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 10:49 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aabeck View Post
I had a customer send me a letter saying they were changing ALL their payment terms to NET 90 Days. I sent them a letter saying they were now on PREPAID terms.
The multi-billion dollar, global company I work for has NET 120 days plus 7 working days as their standard. It was implemented as a "cost savings", but our suppliers found a clever work around. The ones that don't demand payment in advance, charge 50% more than usual for most things we buy. Suppliers have to finance our operation for 4 months, but they are making a pretty good buck doing it. And if you need something ASAP to cover a break down? Good luck getting any of our suppliers to call us back in less than 24 hours. I wish I was smart enough to sort out how a plan like this saves money. From where I'm sitting it just raises prices and guarantees zero customer service.

I guess this is why I'm just a lowly,
Bubba.
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Old February 18th, 2020, 11:52 PM   #27
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The real problem comes in when you/I have a late paying customer that you want to keep. Lately I've had a lot of this, 30 day terms on the purchase order have been up to 6 months in reality. So I've jacked up my rates (nobody even blinked) and if I'm asked to make changes or go out on a service/upgrade call I tell them they have to take care of all of the old invoices. Usually they're trying to get that last 10% from their customer and if I don't make the visit to make those last little upgrades, they don't get paid. That's been a good motivator.

I've only ever been stiffed once and it was by ABB. But I complained to the final customer, Ford, and they made me whole on a later job.
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Old February 19th, 2020, 03:45 AM   #28
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I had a customer send me a letter saying they were changing ALL their payment terms to NET 90 Days. I sent them a letter saying they were now on PREPAID terms.
Quite right Aabeck. I had a similar thing recently.
A customer that only calls me when that stuff has hit the fan got taken over by a larger company and I got the 90 day payment letter. (which in reality can stretch to 120 days)
I emailed them to inform them that I set my payment terms and it is now payment on completion of job.
They ignored it and on my next job - they refused to pay immediately.
I told them they were on STOP until I was paid.
It was so short sighted of them as any part of the plant that breaks down affects the entire production - and quickly.

They broke down again and the entire plant was at a standstill and meanwhile I was getting calls that got nastier with each one.

Take into account, I live local to them and I'm often there within half an hour of their call.

It shouldn't be like this - I was definitely stressed and tempted to relent out of duty but duty does not put bread on the table.

They paid and paid for this job too but it was if I was the bad guy.
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Old February 19th, 2020, 07:12 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by willxfmr View Post
The multi-billion dollar, global company I work for has NET 120 days plus 7 working days as their standard.
I dont even mind that... if they tell me in advanced they are net whatever and I agree I'm OK with it but after the NET120 I want my damn money

I even started adding this to our invoices
Quote:
Please note we are a small business and are counting the payments from all of our customers, please pay once processed
Did not help at all and I think it even got worse...

The one it took two years to get, they made payments (about 20) the final payment was made after I told them I was going to stop by and collect the rest, they are out of Michigan and I was going there for a family reunion, I am glad they paid and I did not have to stop there... I would of done or said something stupid and ended up in jail for the weekend.

But at that time, it was just over 11k and it was killing me... 6 months into a new business and take that kind of hit almost killed me, the stress was even worse than not getting the money.
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Old February 19th, 2020, 12:05 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by jstolaruk View Post
So I've jacked up my rates.
My experience was similar. I had a day job and did consulting on the side. A friend* handed me one of his clients with the warning that after paying promptly for the first task, that client would eventually not pay for task N until he needed task N+1, but N would grow reasonable large. So my attitude was that some day that client would stiff me for the last task and my $X/h billing rate would be reduced to 95%+ of X over the entire length of the relationship; also, the size of that last unpaid bill was going to be well under 10k$.

This was acceptable in my case as I had the day job, and the individual tasks were small. So this would not work for everyone, but it did get our kids through college.

* Yes, he was and still is a friend, because and not despite giving me the unreliable client plus many other things; I went in with my eyes open and it worked out exactly as he predicted.
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