How do I do with this client that doesn’t want to pay me?

I’m sorry to hear that. I know how frustrating it can be to deal with unreasonable clients. This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but usually the best resolution to something like this is learning from it and walking away on the best terms possible. There’s just very little upside in escalating. You don’t want the negativity around a vendetta or the distraction to your future career that the food fighting could have if the person tries to damage your reputation.

Here’s some advice in the future from someone who freelanced myself years ago:

  1. Over-communicate expectations. Let there be no surprises. Insist in reporting metrics and results to them as often as possible. Don’t set up engagements that a surprise is delivered after 3 months. If the person in question doesn’t speak up along the way about their acceptance of the KPI then it’s unethical practice by them.
  2. Get paid using milestones. Where possible a small percentage up front. You should always be in a position favorable to your tolerance of risk. Worst idea is you taking a very large risk — Like payment after 3 months. Ranging to the best case scenario, they pay you in full up front. Always push to receive more faster. The most fair situation is milestones on deliverables.
  3. Use escrow. Seriously, the fee is worth it in most cases. These services make it almost impossible to be scammed for your work. Worst case scenario is they won’t release the money — but they also are not able to take it back without you releasing it to them. If you do this with a reasonable milestone system your risk will be relatively small.

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