When times are tight (and sometimes when they aren’t) there is often the inclination to try and secure every possible piece of new business that walks through the door. The impetus for this post is an article about a Beverly Hills-based firm that was stiffed on $5k bill by a client. Of course that former client of theirs is currently on Celebrity Rehab with Rachel Uchitel and other luminaries, which may have been a red flag but I digress.
A few months ago I received a business lead from a friend at another agency. A local company was about to be profiled on a local news segment about shady business practices. Against my better judgment I met with the company and offered to help them out with a project. Before a contract for this project was signed, they had a major crisis, and I provided some counsel and behind the scenes assistance. I had a verbal agreement from their CEO as this was a fast moving situation. I know, I know Len Tillem would tell me I was a schlemiel for that as we all know that verbal contracts are worth the paper they are written on……yes…exactly.
Following this quick project, I sent an invoice before I did any more work. Nothing. I called. Nothing. My gut had told me to not work with this company. I should have listened to my gut. If, your gut talks to you about a company, listen to it.
Postscript – This company has recently filed for bankruptcy. I am wondering if I can deduct my lost fees as a “stupidity deduction?”