Industry: Consulting & services

All work and no pay

August 11, 2009: 6:14 PM ET

Handling the client that wants the goods but doesn't want to cough up a check.

Susan Lewis, Lancaster, Calif.

Can we legally hold a client's paperwork if they haven't paid their bill? We do their bookkeeping and they haven't paid in months. We haven't done any additional work for about two months, and now they are asking for their paperwork back. If we send it to them, we will never get paid.


  • The fair way to set employee salaries

    Not sure if you're underpaying or overpaying? Third-party salary surveys can help.

    Thomas, San Francisco
    I have a video production company with five full-time editors. I'm always stressed thinking I'm either overpaying them and I'm going to go broke, or underpaying them and am going to lose them and/or they're going to get resentful. Because of this, I realize I manage them nervously, which is not good management. How MORE

    Jul 16, 2009 12:39 PM ET
  • Discounts and referrals: What works now

    How to stand out in a crowded field without spending loads of money on advertising.

    Jenny, Deer Park, N.Y.
    I own a small beauty shop in a mid-sized town on Long Island, New York. The problem for me is the competition: In the past five years, three more beauty shops opened around the five-mile area, and my business started to sink two years ago. How do I stand out from a crowded MORE

    Jun 12, 2009 3:10 PM ET
  • What to pay the boss's bosses

    How much should you pay your company directors? First, take a hard look at what skills they'll need to guide your business.

    Paul Dzera, MGBD, New York City
    What would you recommend for determining board of directors' fee levels (annual retainer, board meeting fees, committee meeting fees, etc.), both in cash and stock options? I have a small public company with revenues of about $30 million. To date, I have reviewed the MORE

    May 21, 2009 2:33 PM ET
  • What fair use protects - and doesn't

    If you're going to use copyrighted work within your own, be prepared for legal headaches.

    Cynthia Lamb, President of Rhino Entertainment, Bright, Ind.
    I own a consulting firm and plan to self-publish a book detailing lessons I've learned. In my book, I quote song lyrics. The U.S. Copyright Office says I must get permission from the songs' copyright holders before using the lyrics, and I've started to do so. But my research MORE

    Feb 24, 2009 3:29 PM ET
  • Write-offs for work travel

    Want to write off the cost of meals while you're traveling? Here's a rundown on what to deduct, and how.

    Donna, Rome, N.Y.
    My boss is an electrician and is working 4 hours away from his office. Can all his meals be deducted while away from his home office?

    Feb 18, 2009 10:09 AM ET
  • When 'free' doesn't pay off

    Offering a product too cheaply can devalue it for customers. Here's how to zoom in on the right price point.

    Emil G., Santa Monica
    Is making a service free more counterproductive then selling the same service at a low cost? We recently put together a highly defined service in which we analyze the conversion rates of Web sites and make strategic suggestions - which we were already doing, it just wasn't MORE

    Feb 10, 2009 5:38 PM ET
  • Health insurance for smoking employees

    Debbie, Harland Clarke, Blaine, Minn.
    Is it possible to up the insurance premius for smoker employees in some divisions of the company and not others?

    Oct 28, 2008 12:07 PM ET
  • Marketing in a downturn

    Ray, Capital Management Group, Anaheim Hills, Calif.
    I am a management & financial consultant in California, assisting small businesses in the US and internationally. I work with them to improve their business model and organize business capital up to $25 million for them. We focus on manufacturing businesses and real estate projects. Can you suggest how to to market our services in current down turn? Businesses are not enthused to borrow MORE

    Oct 13, 2008 11:00 AM ET
  • Prying funds from a client trying to stiff you

    Armanath Nanduri, Owner, Shubisoft, Herndon, Va.
    I provided software consulting services for a large corporation, which has failed to pay me the $28,000 I am owed. The corporation claims it can't pay me until it receives funds from its client. Our contract includes no term limiting my right to payment in this way. How can I ensure that my invoices are paid without hiring a pricey lawyer?

    Oct 3, 2008 9:26 AM ET
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