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I'm a freelance writer and usually work for bigger media outlets, so getting paid is no problem. Last January, however, I did some work for a private production company; five months later I have yet to be paid. I've invoiced a number of times (and spoken to the guy who hired me on the phone), and he keeps saying "I can't pay you until I get paid." I'm getting really frustrated! I'm reluctant to take legal action, because the invoice is only for $1,000. Short of busting knee-caps or stalking him on my BMX bike, how do I get my money?

- Megan

Ask Gothamist turned to a friend of ours who often works as a freelancer to find out how to get paid when the company is reluctant to pony up the dough. Our pal Vince says: "Whenever I do work for companies with small-to-medium sized budgets, I always request half of my project fee up-front, before any work is done. That way if they do decide to play games when the project is completed, I'm not completely at a loss. Another thing she can do is request a partial payment of the invoice, as her client sounds as if they do plan on paying her but can't cover her entire fee at once. Finally, and most importantly, she needs to be persistent, but not calling every day, maybe more like once a week to check on the status of her payment."

Our friend also advises, "The only time that I would resort to legal action is if (1) it's enough money to be worth my while (2) I have made the decision never to work with this company again (3) they've made it completely clear that they have no intention of paying me for the work that I've done."

You can also check out this About.com section on Freelance writing, and Writing World has a section all about invoicing.

Got a question? Need advice? E-mail ask(at)gothamist(dot)com.