There is plenty to admire about Matts work and also his views here.
I think all illustrators who work for themselves have had a few situations where payments have been delayed. Some are worse than others and when I was once confronted with a company accounts department who admitted to sitting back and waiting until legally they were entitled to pay (i.e three months from invoice) it literally blew my mind. After three months you are legally entitled to take them to court for the money owed. To use that as a guide for payments is ludicrous and surely puts more pressure on their side too, answering emails avoiding calls etc. Its just not worth it to anyone if you ask me.
To be honest I have never had a company deal with the issue with such disdain as they did and fingers crossed I never will. The issue also lay with the company accounts policy rather than the creative team. Which is worth baring in mind when naming and shaming.
I see more and more companies informing people that they pay after eight weeks rather than after four nowadays and thats all a scam. No one should commission anyone without the means in place to pay them.
Since that one terrible occasion I have had plenty of late payments, a week here a fortnight there, its never been as bad as that one time, but the fact is it has made me a lot less trusting as a freelancer. I scrutinise more and more the finer details on any job and it all takes more and more time on both ends and stops me from doing the one thing I enjoy on any job the drawing, creating, doing what I think I am best at.
I don’t suppose there is anyone stopping Matt, Me, or anyone else, making a platform/blog for anonymous tip offs of companies to beware of, but I feel that the issue will always exist. Which is a shame. I do think that people are fearful that naming and shaming of bad clients could put any prospective client off working with you, see you as a troublemaker, but maybe it would scare off the bad ones. its a double edged sword to be sure.
Trust is hard to come by and sometimes there is a real reason why a payment has not been made, I would argue that being up front and honest about any delays is soo much better than just denying/arguing or lying to any freelancers looking for their money. Put the shoe on the other foot.
I think another interesting point would be, maybe a search facility/platform/blog whatever congratulating the good out there or just the ability to research the clients/people/companies who are well worth working with. I think generally its a word of mouth situation with friends colleagues and so the reach is never that far. To be able to find that info and research a company before you entered into any job would be a blessing a lot of the time. Its generally a whole lot of hoping.
I think another part of the industry that would be worth looking at, would be whether, even if warned, people still take the work from any badly paying company. I hate to say it but I think a lot of people would chance their arm to get the bills paid… eventually.
Always good to hear what others have to say about the issue. Most freelancers work in a mini bubble around their desk and the internet.
Good work Matt for bringing the topic up.
Here are two tales:
1. For about a year (seven years ago before I was a full time freelance illustrator), I was assistant manager in a shoe shop in the Office chain. I worked a 40 hour week, and I was paid monthly. In that time my pay was never late, never short, never ‘misplaced.’ I got my pay…