I got paid yesterday (as it turns out, I didn’t see it on my online bank statement till today) for an orchestral dep gig. Which is good.
The thing is, the gig was over three months ago, and even with an unusually long invoice payment period (30 working days) payment was about two months overdue. I had written emails, attempted to phone, and eventually left an answerphone message (my second) saying I would take action to recover the money if it didn’t appear. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the transfer finally showed up shortly after that. Before I found I’d been paid, I’d actually rung the Citizens’ Advice Bureau about small claims court proceedings, looked up the processes and fees on the government web hub, and decided I would explicitly threaten that in a hardcopy letter as the next step.
But why make it that hard? For that matter, if you’re hoping to get away without paying up to some of your musicians, why have a very elaborate contractual and payment papertrail that would make it impossible to make out you didn’t owe the money if some awkward sod did actually stick it all the way to court (and I would have if it came to it, since the amount I was owed was about 5 times the court fee). Isn’t everyone’s life too short for that kind of pratting around?
What I suppose this does demonstrate is life isn’t too short to kick up a fuss for your rights as a contractor or freelance, even over perhaps relatively insignificant things. And it suggests to me I should stick to insisting on work that turns a bit of a profit, declining voluntary / ‘for charity’ / expenses-only / ‘exposure / experience’ jobs. If only there were more of them though …