The client changed his FTP and CPanel password and did not pay me for my work. What can I and to get paid on time by clients?
I was working for one of my clients and after I completed the task, a client just changed his FTP and CPanel password and did not pay me for my work. Can I bring his website down with DDoS? What I can do about it?
A very interesting question and the interesting part is not what you can do about it but what you should do about it and what I did in such scenarios.
Most common reason for non-payment
First, you need to realize why such incidents happen?
The most common reason that I have seen for non-payment from clients is that of delay in the project. The project kicked off with a lot of energy but as things did not move as expected energy slowly but surely dissipated.
You may or may not be part of the issue or you may have been part of the project too late, but then it can impact your final payment because the client is no longer looking at this project very actively and so ultimately you are left unpaid.
There are certain things you can control and others things which are beyond your control. Control the controllable and honor the deadline.
What you can do and what you should do?
Such issues, with payment, come up for projects ranging from $100 to $1000 and projects bigger than those are typically handled through escrow or Statement of Work or SOW or other agreements.
You can have a case for copyright infringement against the client for using your code/design. You did some work for the client where he has not been paid and so the client is using your copyrighted code/design. Inform client politely with facts that they have a breach of your copyright and inform them that you can use Google’s legal removal request on client’s site which can impact their business and you are not willing to go that route.
Apart from that, you can have a lawsuit against the client for non-payment for the work done and use of copyright material on his website but the question is should you be doing that.
Will you not waste more money trying to recover that money? Instead just make this as a fee to gain experience and move on along with a lesson that such incidents just don’t happen again and how you can avoid it. Make sure that such incidents don’t impact your existing clients and you just don’t become too aggressive with your existing clients for payments else you can have a series of such payment issues like I had it.
The $1500 Learning Experience
A few years back when I started working for a client and project kicked off nicely with advance payment hitting my PayPal account on the day we had plans to get started. I started working for a client almost 40 hours per week of work.
We agreed to weekly payment and an invoice to be sent over on weekends which will be taken care of the following week.
Sent my first invoice on a weekend.
We worked very closely in the second week and before the second weekend, I asked for payment of pending invoice from the first week. Sent him the subsequent invoice on the second weekend as agreed. I asked for a payment at the beginning of the third week as the invoices pending were close to $1500 now.
My bad luck that there was some issue with the client’s server and a site was attacked badly. The client thought it was me who did something (he had such incidents in the past) on this site and I was never paid.
At times, there is nothing much you can do about it too.
We had NDA signed as well as the agreement for weekly payments, but I don’t prefer the unethical methods even if I am not paid as it never helps.
I actually didn’t do anything because at times you can have an incident where you just learn from it.
I never had any payment issues from clients prior to this but suddenly when I had this incident, I had a series of them. I finally realized I have been too aggressive in asking for payment from my client because I had a fear of not being paid.
The Flip Side
There are two sides to every coin and similar things can happen for clients as well. You pay some advance to someone who is just not getting the job done for you. It is better to be using escrow system or move to the other person who works for you instead of getting the job done by the same person and delaying the project even further.
DDoS can cost you way lot more than your actual project cost. On top of that DDoS is completely illegal.
If you focus too much on getting your unpaid amount, you may waste too much of time and energy. Learn from the experience and opt for weekly payments or escrow and stop wasting time thinking of clients who did not pay. They aren’t worth wasting more time.
Further Reading …