August 31, 2006
For some reason, I’m in a bit of a foul (not fowl) mood this afternoon. I think a big part of it is that I’m spending more and more time trying to get paid. Not generate work — just get people who owe me money to actually pay me. As a general rule, I don’t mail materials to ensembles/schools until they pay for them. Doing otherwise gets confusing, and ends up taking a lot of extra time trying to keep things straight — did they pay yet? Did I already send them materials, or do I send them when I get the check? I also find that schools are much more eager to pay quickly if they won’t get materials until I get a check. It simply avoids a whole lot of frustration for me in the future.
The problem is that in August, schools schedule things for their first concert of the year — which is usually in September. This means they need materials rushed to them, and as a favor (and also so I don’t lose the performance), in August, I occasionally make exceptions. By the end of August, the number of “exceptions” adds up to the financial equivalent of roughly three months of rent.
I end up driving to the post office at least three times a week to mail materials, almost none of which are paid for. Then, when the mail comes each day, I go outside, hoping to find a check, and I inevitably receive some sort of “University Vendor Information Form” or W-9 tax form to fill out instead — meaning that even when I fill this form out and mail or fax it back, I won’t see a check for several more weeks.
Then I wonder, how long do I let it slide before I start sending, “where’s my check” emails? At this point, with the August (and even one July) rentals and purchases, there’s obviously no reason to complain; I knew what I was getting into. In general, I can expect to be paid up in another week or two. But what about schools like the one in Washington that purchased “emergency scores” last-minute for a contest in APRIL, and I printed and mailed them the same day, and they have yet to pay — and now simply ignore my emails? We’re not even talking much money in that case; this is about the principle of it. But how much time do I put into collecting $45? Do I now email the school principal? Is that tattling? Do I post the school’s name on some Osti Music Blacklist? Do I send somebody to break the guy’s legs? I think my buddy RN might “know a guy.”
It makes me so grateful to the programs that actually pay in advance. If you pay up-front with PayPal, you get a shout-out. Why can’t we all just get along with PayPal?
Good lord, this seems petty and bitchy. I really am grateful that I have any performances at all; it’s the bill-collecting that I hate.
I think I need to go for a run and get some stress out. I’m sounding even more unpleasant than usual.