I don’t have to tell you that collecting your receivables or getting compensated for your work is the sine qua non of every enterprise. But getting paid is not easy these days. So I put together a list of the things you might do if you feel you are owed something.
Here are the steps:
1. Ask for it in a non-threatening way. You could call someone up and accuse them of something but this almost never gets you anywhere. Instead, phone them up and say, for example: “I heard you were thinking of going over to the winning bidder? Can we talk about that?”
2. Meet F2F with everyone. People find it a lot harder to lie to your face.
3. Phone them on a regular basis.
4. Write personal emails. The squeaky wheel does get the grease.
5. Try faxing them. It’s so old fashioned it just might work.
6. Ditto for snail mail.
7. Use a tag team approach. People tune you out after a while. Get someone else from your organization to repeat steps 1 through 6.
8. If you are in construction or you are an architect, lien the property. This will get their attention since they can’t mortgage the property or sell it without first dealing with your lien which pretty much outranks everything else (including mortgages) except government claims for statutory payments like income tax owing, source deductions, HST and so forth.
9. Withhold further work. Stop work on the project. If you are an architect, refuse to certify monthly payments. That way no one gets paid.
10. Find some real property that they own and register your agreement or claim on title. This creates the same problems for them as a lien does.
11. Take your complaint to their BOD and shareholders.
12. Talk to their suppliers and clients and enlist their support.
13. Talk to their lenders.
14. Talk to their employees.
15. Show up in person at their offices and stay there until you get paid.
16. Picket their place(s) of business. Form a picket line.
17. Visit them at home and ask for a fair shake.
18. Compose a media release.
19. Organize a boycott of their business.
20. Tweet about them.
21. Ask a lawyer to write a letter on your behalf.
22. Take them to small claims court which is cheap and fast and where you can represent yourself.
23. Maybe, as a last, last resort, you hire a lawyer to sue them.
Postscript: this originally appeared as a footnote in: Protecting Your IP by Suing (A Cop) Is Probably a Bad Idea (http://www.eqjournalblog.com/?p=1884).