Business question - payment has not been received


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Sep 18, 2003
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Suppose someone mailed you a check for a deposit towards a portrait, but you never received it. The date comes, they show up, you do the pictures, and they claim its in the mail. Do you wait for it to arrive before you deliver the prints? How long do you wait? At what point do you ask them for a new check or payment?
What kind of time frame are we talking about?

If it's been more then 2 weeks, I would highly doubt that the check will ever come...

Figure a week in the postal system, plus or minus a few days... Longer than that - I would tend to think that they didn't actually put it in the mail...

Wouldn't it be better to wait until the funds have been received to start work?
Its a special waterfall location portrait thats for one day only. I created the special to have a bunch of portraits there on one day so I wouldn't have to charge a travel fee, it takes half an hour just to walk to it from the parking lot, plus the time to drive to it. I don't want to say they cant be photographed because the money hasn't been received yet. I wont deliver prints unless I get the money though. I was just wondering whats acceptable practice when it comes to checks or other forms of money not arriving. For all they know I got it and I'm waiting to cash it with a 2nd check to get more money from them.

I did send them a message, pointing out that I haven't received it yet and asked if they mailed it. perhaps they just forgot.
Deliver nothing till your paid, I've stopped trusting people altogether where money is concerned, no cash, no shoot and definitely no photographs/print or otherwise, there's too many scammers out there trying to put one over on you. H
Depending on the mail situation in your area, I would wait no longer than 7 to 10 days from the date when the check was supposed to have been mailed to ask for a new one or cash.

I would reschedule until you get payment. I hate to say that but as other mentioned, people are generally crooks and will try to get something for nothing (sorry, having a really bad morning along this exact line). On the flip side, which really sucks and is why I suggest claiming some urgency that prevents it that day, including saying "well, the forecast doesn't look so good" is that I, personally, have sent a letter via Priority mail (flat rate envelope) to a business that is only 11 miles from my house and it took 16 days to get there, as per the tracking info and conversations with the business. It happens.
Like the others have said wait around 7-14 days and then ask for another cheque to be sent - reminding them to cancel payment of the first check through their bank. That way if they are legitimate they have another chance at paying you (things do get lost in the mail).
I wouldn't even do any PP until the cheque arrived...let alone deliver prints/files.
Everyone's really got it down. When my clients don't "pay" on time they don't receive my services. An appropriate amount of time to wait is a little longer than a week in general.
Ask for paypal or email money transfer as an alternative too. They can cancel the check which sucks because in Canada stop payment costs us $20 at my bank.
What has happened in this country? Why is it so many think they can get away without paying.........not just for photography, but on so many other fronts as well.

Years ago, I had to change my payment schedule to make sure I did not get ripped off. People you least likely suspect will find a way to not pay. Yet, lets see what they would do if the husband/wife came home on Friday and tell their family, "oh, my boss did not pay me this week." I think that would go over well.

The #1 question I get from students today about fee schedules is, " well if I set my schedule like that, I will not get the job."
If that is so, that means you just saved yourself the hassle of sueing the client!!!
Just as an afterthought, how much have you charged? You say its a deposit, deposits in my mind are for large amounts total, if this is something like $200 you need to restructure your approach, charge a sitting fee, cash, $50 or so, non-refundable, for your time, if they can't give you fifty bucks then there's no way they'll be paying 200 for the portrait. Learn from this and don't waste time with ****ers, its their way of seeing if they like the product before giving you the balance without stumping up the cash for the "lost" cheque.

Don't assume that because these people drive flash cars and live in big houses the money will come easy, in my experience these are the people who try to get it all for nothing, tightwads. H
If they're showing up for the portrait, why not just have them bring a check with them?

Were I in this situation I'd tell them i'll call them and schedule the shoot as soon as I get the check!

Most reactions

New Topics