I completed a code work for a client; he accepted it and approved.

The only thing we have are a few emails we exchanged with quotes and descriptions of what to do.

I have an email where he says the work is good and they are happy with it.

We agreed by email that he will pay me after the job was completed.

I gave the work and he wanted to test it and then pay me.

Months after, he kept assuring to paying soon but never kept to his words.

When I email him asking about my pay, it yields the same result; [...] that he will pay me.

Taking a legal action wouldn't be worth the cost (based on the amount he owes me); I would have spent almost the same for a lawyer: that's not a feasible option.

I can't afford either to let go because I would like to be paid for the work done, since he accepted it as executed.

What should I do in order to get my pay?


4 Answers 4


Well i saw a very important error on your part, Never but never send the work before payment. If he want to test it or see it work then do a screen share on skype and show him the product working. Send the product once payment is done not before or in procesing state.

For the second part keep telling him, he will get tired and will pay you, if not I would make sure that no one accept any job from him again.


If you can't take legal action because it is cost prohibitive (although small claims doesn't require lawyers), then your only real option is to keep bugging the client until they pay. Just don't do any more work until you are paid for previous work.


Even if a legal resolution results in no net profit, having done it could be helpful in the future. You will be able to honestly claim to a future client that a legal resolution is a possibility and that you've done it before. @Scott makes a good suggestion, too. Small claims court is pretty cheap.


Depending on your location, you might have options such as small claims court or some type of collections service.

If you have only sent low-conflict emails, you need to escalate the issue. In my location (Denmark), that would mean sending a formally worded letter stating that payment is outstanding and you therefore have no other option than involving appropriate third parties unless payment is received within a week.

If the above is not an option or is fruitless as well, all you can hope for is that the client returns needing bug-fixes or additional functionality. At this stage you must demand full payment before continuing the conversation. In addition, for any future work - I would demand pre-payment, given the client's lack of discipline.

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