I bet you stumbled across this blog post because you are unfortunately dealing with late payment from a brand.
A freelance career may seem attractive. Making your schedule, work from home, choosing which projects you want to be a part of it. But there are some major downsides. Two words. Late invoices.
The bain of every blogger, influencer, creative, or freelancer's life. Seriously what gives? Would it be okay to post weeks even months late after a contractual date, without any communication? Let me answer for us all and say that is a big NO.
I wish I had an answer for this unprofessionalism, but instead, I’m going to give you some tips on how to handle this situation, if you ever find yourself in this predicament.
1. Understand the payment process from the start
If you are working with a brand outside of an influencer network or influencer platform you need to understand how much, when, and how you will be getting paid.
Example: You will be paid $200 via PayPal, 7 days after content goes live.
PROTIP: Ask to get paid upfront or receive a deposit upfront. It never hurts to ask and it can be used as insurance for the project.
Typically 30 days or net 30 is industry standard, which means after the project is live the brand has 30 days to pay you in full.
It is best to get the payment process in your contract so you and the brand are on the same page for expectations. I like to also add how much, when, and how I get paid in the “notes section of my invoice.”
To make sure you and the brand are on the same page, send out a reminder of payment 7 days and 1 day before you’re payment is due.
This will just serve as a reminder and if there is any issue you can handle it as soon as possible.
Need to learn how to invoice? Read this post.
2. Payment is now overdue, what are the next steps?
Unfortunately, this happens more than I’d like to admit. Once you see that the payment is not paid, send an email to the brand like this:
“Hi BRAND CONTACT,
Payment for invoice number “x” is “# of days past due” days past due.
When I can expect remittance?
Sign off. “
Short & to the point. There is no need to add extra verbiage and be nice, they broke your contractual agreement.
PROTIP: Make sure to add the pdf of the invoice as an attachment so your contact can forward it to their finance team.
Usually, people are apologetic and they will update as soon as possible.
It’s a good sign when they give you specific dates like 48 hours or 1 to 2 business days.
Be cautious if a brand says something along the lines of “So sorry for the delay. Our team has been on top of this, ensuring the process can process as quickly as possible.”
You want to have good faith but this phrasing typically means they are trying to buy time.
3. Get in touch with the brand's accountant, finance team, or accounts payable directly.
Let’s say 7 days have passed now it’s time to move away from your contact and go straight to the people who have more power.
If you are working directly with the brand or working with a pr agency you can ask for the accounts payable contact or you can look them up on LinkedIn and get their information. If that doesn’t work, use platforms like hunter.io, Rocket Reach or Snovio to get ahold of the finance email.
Say something like this and remember to attach a pdf of the invoice:
I want to give official notice I have not received payment from (Brand) for our partnership, that (employee name) managed.
Attached is my invoice.
When I can expect remittance?
Here are my payment options below.
4. Ping your network for contacts.
Don’t be afraid to ask other influencers for contacts. If you’re part of a campaign, reach out to all the other influencers involved and see if they were paid.
Ask if they have an email contact — theirs might be different from yours.
This can help narrow down what’s going on and get you on a faster route to be paid.
5. It’s time to get in contact with the VP or high-level executives.
Did the brand ghost you? Time to ruffle a few feathers. You did everything you could to keep it where it was but you aren’t getting answers and it’s time to really make sense of this situation.
Send a message via LinkedIn or get the emails for these executives directly and give a timeline and explain your situation.
I have been trying to get ahold of personnel at your organization for remittances of payment for an influencer partnership.
Payment is (X DAYS) late.
I have contacted (name all the people you have contacted and department) to no avail.
I would like to have this issue resolved without getting legal counsel involved.
Please let me know the next steps.
6. Time to take it public
Say 60 + days have passed and you still haven’t been paid, time to call the brand out.
This is a controversial route. I have fortunately never had to do this but it may be effective to publicly call out the brand.
I would start with your social media account with the least following, maybe your Twitter or LinkedIn, and explain that you haven’t been paid. Round up a couple of friends to like and comment on this tweet or post and see if they come running.
Even add to the thread your timeline and issues.
Only go this route knowing the consequences. This may turn future partners off. So think about this long and hard.
7. Call a lawyer
Weight out your options and know the lawyer fees, offerings, and support they can give.
Was this partnership $150, but the lawyer fees are $500+? This might now be worth it, but if this was a $30,000 partnership I think this is your best option.
I’m so sorry that you might be in this situation.
Please know that your work has value and that you should advocate for your work and be paid.
Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments what resonated with you most.
Have you been in this situation? What tactic worked for you?