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Collecting Payment

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Eboy87, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully this will be a good, beneficial topic for some of the younger guys (and girls) on here who think they might want to do this for a living.

    I've been picking up work with a certain company around here loading out some rather high profile shows around Chicago. It's mostly manual labor, but it does help teach the ins and outs of venues around the city (Art Institute, Union Station, Carson Pririe Scott, etc), and is a great learning experience for professional, corporate environments.

    Before I get to my main point, I'd like to give a little story. I started working with these people around the beginning of March. When I first showed up, I didn't want to be like "That guy" and have my first question be, "What do I have to do to collect a paycheck?" I didn't want their first impression of me to be another person who's just doing this for the money. I (wrongly) assumed that since they had my address, they'd simply mail me my check. Well, it's just going on two month, and still no paycheck.

    I called the guy who contacted me about when I was to work and where, but I'd only get his voice mail, and would leave messages about what I need to do or who I needed to speak to to get my paycheck. Unfortunately, I never got a call back from him, and that was my only contact number.

    So I was in the shop again this past weekend for a show, and finally asked who I needed to talk to. Eveyrone seemed genuinely surprised no one had told me about what I had to do for payment. I was given the contact info of the lady at the main office I needed to talk to, and was assured by the crew guys (who are all great guys) that I should call her, and my check would be ready that afternoon. I called, and was pretty much reamed out for fifteen minutes about how it was not ok to call two months after a gig and ask that I be paid. I was pretty much told that they were "under no obligation to pay me if I didn't care enough to call sooner." Mind you, I had been calling my contact at the company, but only could leave messages.

    Still, they're supposed to send me a time sheet and W-9 form at some time in the future (again, they are "under no obligation to do this" :rolleyes:).

    My point is that you need to ask about these things before taking on a gig. Sound like "that guy" if you have to, but these issues will not resolve themselves. At this point, it's looking like I'm probably not going to see a paycheck for all the work I've done for these people, since I also need to show them my social security card (which is back in St. Louis), and once summer hits, I'm not gonna be back until September. I'm also planning to not work with this company any more if no one is willing to help me out with this.

    In summery, apologies for the rant, but I wanted to caution everyone that this is something you need to be aware of when taking on work with a company. If anyone has anything else to contribute, please do, as I'm also always learning, and as the running joke between my friends and I goes, "The more you know!!"
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The company was/is breaking federal employment laws by not having you complete I-9 and W-4 forms prior to your employment.

    If you are/were engaged as an "Independent Contractor", form 1099-MISC applies.

    You did your "due diligence" in attempting to be paid. Do not let the employer not pay you for work you performed.
     
  3. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I like to get paid fully before the truck gets unloaded. I dont like running around trying to get paid after the gear is loaded in. I also hate the check bouncing game. I had my pretty pic on the news not too long ago about a church who was scamming their members and companies they highered.
     
  4. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    Contracts can be nice in these situations, especially if you work for a given company more than once. My "anchor" client company has me on contract, where my hourly rate, minimum, billing procedure etc. are clearly outlined. I have picked up other random work without a contract, and was cut a check on the spot. The company was an out-of-town company and I made sure to call the bank and ensure the check cleared. And always remember, documentation is your friend!
     
  5. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    I am inclined to agree with mnfreelancer - Contracts are your friend!! As a high school teacher, I still have all my hired help sign a contract with the duties and expectations listed as well as the agreed amount that they will be paid. It covers my a** as well as gives them some rights as well.
    In the professional work that I have done, I have NEVER accepted work without some kind of proof of employment first. Load outs/ins, Foucus Calls, etc. This seems to have worked for me in that I have never had an instance in which I have not been paid for the work that I have done. Even at the community theatre level. My advice - if you are not given the chance to sign some kind of employment agreement, ASK FOR ONE! Most places are pretty good about making it happen.

    Hope this is helpful!!
     
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    It does indeed help Thorin, and everyone else. I wasn't in the position to actually sign a contract with them, since it technically is overhire. I've already decided to not pursue anymore work with said company, and am looking elsewhere. Suffice it to say this now is my first question upon entering a new job; "What do I need to sign to get paid?"

    But now dad is getting ready to lodge complaints against the company with the Illinois BBB and the IRS. This is quickly getting out of hand.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Have him start with IDOL: http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/
     
  8. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    I realize I'm only a Freshman in high school, but I've done a few shows for people that rent out our schools auditorium, and people like the town community chorus just give me a check of x amount of money. Should I be making a contract and giving an hourly wage, or would that seem a little to....not-high-school.
     
  9. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    When I was in HS the work I did fell under a number of categories:
    a. volunteer work for school productions (theatre)
    b. paid work for community education rentals (W2 forms hire style)
    c. paid work for access studio - permanent employee
    d. presumed volunteer work with a "tip" after a job well done...

    I was on the payroll so there was no real reason for a contract, or so I thought before I got burned by the administration, but that's another story that I've posted about before...but that aside I had a good experience working for the district under any of those conditions other than that one time...
     
  10. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you need to get the government involved yet. Just call the main # and ask for the HR or Accounts Payable person. Tell them the situation, that there was a lack of communication, and that there are some old jobs you need to be paid for. Then fax the dates, locations, hours, etc., and then follow up with a phone call to make sure they received it. The amount they likely owe you is likely fairly small to them so don't get crazy about it.
     
  11. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    nksd would never put a student on the payroll. we don't get paid for any school-oriented shows, which is why i've been pondering the idea of having people sign a contract.
     
  12. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    It's ironic that you should mention this happen in Chicago. My coworker, Martin Hughes, said that he was warned before doing light design in Chicago way-back-when, so he set it up for half of his payment before he did anything, and the other half before the opening night. He also specifically requested a computerized console and that way when opening night came around and he was told they couldn't afford to pay him, he saved the show to a floppy, deleted it from the console, and walked out. Sure enough by the time he got to his car they had a check ready for him, but in turn were unable to pay some of their actors.

    He had another friend, who in a similar situation was a set designer. When opening night came and he was unpaid he walked out. This time they hadn't paid him before he got to his car. A couple minutes later everybody sees him in the parking lot putting on globes, goggles, and firing up a chainsaw. He goes on stage and is about to cut the set into pieces before they handed him his check.
     

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