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WWYD? Haven't been paid, and more to be owed

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 

I am a personal chef, and one of my clients owed me for 3 weeks of work before going away for another 2 weeks herself, leaving me to cook for her husband and son. I asked her to leave me a check before she left for the 3 weeks, and since they will be vacationing for a month as soon as she comes home, to mail me a check for the 2 weeks she was gone. I feel that this was quite generous of me, since our deal is that I'm paid weekly.


She left the check, but with the request that I wait "a few days" before depositing it, since a wire hadn't come through for her and she had insufficient funds. I had one of her checks bounce about 1.5 months ago and she pretty quickly reimbursed me plus the fee. Anyway, her husband keeps asking me to not cash it yet since the wire still hasn't come through. It's now been 2 weeks that I have had that check, and I'm increasingly worried about her mailing me another check (will she?) There is the possibility that we'll be parting ways after this month anyway, since her son is going to college, I'm due in October, and it's a long drive for me (which up until now has been worth it.)


Part of me wants to blow off today (my last delivery) because I feel so unsure about how this is going to play out. I could call in sick or something. What would you do? She's been a pretty good customer until lately. I feel like I have given as much rope out as possible. TIA.

post #2 of 69
If this is your last day, I would just suck it up & go... it's just one more day & you will at least finish off on good terms on your end, and hopefully she'll eventually pay you...

Maybe in the future you can write into your contract that if payment is not rendered weekly, you will not show up until past due payments have been made?? Something like that???

I just think if you've been giving them so much slack all along, why all of a sudden back out when there's only one day left?
post #3 of 69

I agree, just finish up.  If you do need to go after her for payment, it will look better for you that you followed through with your end of the deal. 

post #4 of 69
Im also a personal chef, although it sounds like out situations are quite different. I only have one client, and I cook at their house and serve them 10 meals a week, and I am paid monthly.

I say dont blow your last day off. These people are wealthy enough to hire a personal chef, and that usually means that they are well connected within a community that is also wealthy enough to hire you. When they are talking about their experience with you, they arent going to include the fact that they didnt pay you for weeks at a time in their description of how you are a good cook, but totally unreliable. If you show up today and they dont pay you until they get back, they will have nothing but good things to say about you.

I think she will pay you when she returns. I think you should tell the husband when you deliver the food that you really need to cash the check, and that its been a long time since you have been paid, so are they still planning to mail you a check? Make sure he knows that they are going on vacation after this and you are concerned that you wont be paid what you are owed until after they return.
post #5 of 69

They can afford a month of vacation but they can't afford to pay you? Nope, that doesn't fly. They can have cash or a cashier's check waiting for you when you get there today. Or you can at least show up with something in writing saying exactly how much they owe you, for the husband to sign. That way if they never come through with the remaining money they can't claim that they didn't owe you anything. 

post #6 of 69

I would cash the check at their bank instead of my own. Not sure if I would blow off the last amount of work if I signed a contract to do it. I would rather THEY have the bad(payment) record,and nothing bad they could say about me when/if you need to take them to court.

post #7 of 69

I used to work at a store where bouncing paychecks were not uncommon.  I would cash the check at their bank then deposit the cash into my account.  I didn't like carrying that much cash but at least I didn't have to worry about the check bouncing.  And the bank would just hand the check back to me if they couldn't cash it.

post #8 of 69

I agree with PPs that you shouldn't blow off your last day, and that you should write up a detailed receipt of how much they owe you with due dates (even if the dates are in the past.) Then you could get the husband's signature on it and leave them a copy. That way, if they don't pay you all of it, you have covered yourself at least.

post #9 of 69
Thread Starter 

I went ahead and did the delivery. It's not a sure thing that I won't be cooking for them anymore, but I'm heavily leaning toward not. She gets home on Friday and will look at her accounts then (probably more like Monday?) and then figure out what I can do with the check. It just upsets me so much that I've been bringing them their orders very faithfully and am being treated this way. A pp had a good point that they can afford a month on Martha's Vineyard, but not pay their chef...

post #10 of 69

I agree with pp.  Take the check to her bank.  Every day.  Until it has enough money to cash it.  Don't deposit it as a check into your own bank to save you the fee if it is returned.

post #11 of 69
Thread Starter 

But if I cash it at my bank then I won't get a fee...Her bank is an hour away from here.

post #12 of 69

If you cash it at your bank and it comes back as insufficient funds, you will get a fee.  But it you try to cash it at her bank, and there are insufficient funds, they just won't cash it.  There isn't a branch of her bank closer?  Anyone that I have had a problem with, I cash their checks at their bank.  I am then guaranteed the money, if they have it.  No worries of it coming back to bite me.

post #13 of 69

If you choose to cash it before getting the "green light" from them, make sure you document and keep copies of everything! If you do incur fees from the situation, the client should be held responsible for them as well. Do you have anything in your contract about bounced checks or late fees?

post #14 of 69
Thread Starter 

I'm just going to wait until I hear from her I think. There's no branch closer; it's a local bank for them.

post #15 of 69
Thread Starter 


It's Monday and I still haven't heard from her. I waited, thinking that she was just getting back from her trip and I wasn't her top priority, etc. I sent a bill for the 2 weeks via email yesterday and haven't heard anything yet. I'm worried! They are definitely gone to the vineyard by now. How many days do I wait before sending another email? We do everything pretty much by email or in person.


post #16 of 69
Did you include a 'due date' in your bill? If so, I'd give her 'til that date. If not, I think 30 days is standard for sending a follow-up bill (but since your situation is a little more casual, you could probably follow up in ~2 weeks). Maybe someone can figure out the wording for politely stating that you expect payment by X date or you will need to pursue legal action.
post #17 of 69
Thread Starter 

I took a chance and called the bank. There are insufficient funds still, but good news is that I can call them instead of driving there (an hour away). So I think I can keep on that every few days. As for the bill, I really don't know!

post #18 of 69
It's so odd that they can afford to go away but don't have the funds to pay you.

What if you let them know you will be tacking on a late fee for every day past due??? I have no experience with this kind of thing but maybe it would scare them into paying up.... Sorry that you have to deal with this, it's not right. greensad.gif
post #19 of 69

I don't get it either, they can go out of town and they can't pay you? What the heck?

post #20 of 69
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I don't get it either, they can go out of town and they can't pay you? What the heck?

Come on people!  It's called CREDIT!!! Cha Ching!   It's the American way!  (Well not for me and I am sure many of you here who try to be responsible!)

I am sorry you are not getting paid for a very valuable service (would love to find a personal food allergy chef, I would pay for that easy!!!)  

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