I've been scoping for a couple years now and for the most part reporters have been great about paying me within the time I ask (30 days from the time I invoice). However, occasionally I'll get someone who is very late.  Now, I understand that reporters are waiting to get paid before they can pay their scopists. I'm not talking about the sweet ladies I have that e-mail me asking me to wait a week to post a check or that they are going to be paid late for a job themselves, that's fine. I understand that and I don't get upset about it because that's beyond the control of the reporter to do anything about it. I'm talking about someone who doesn't let me know they'll be late until I ask about a payment and it's late because they "just forgot".

I've thought about including a blurb on my invoices about a late fee if payments are over 10 days past due, but I'm not sure if a late fee would be that helpful since I'm having trouble getting them to pay anything in the first place. Any thoughts on what is proper etiquette, what's worked for you as a scopist, or what you as a reporter would prefer your scopist to do in similar circumstances?

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One of my scopists had to remind me last year that she hadn't been paid.  I actually thought I'd paid her.  I went through my checks and realized I had not.  I put a check in the mail that day.  We are human and life gets busy and it happens.  Just a reminder was all it took for me to put the check in the mail. 

I even asked her to set up PayPal so I could pay her through the computer.  She didn't want to do that.  That way is so quick and easy. 

I know there are some flaky reporters out there that may just not have an intention to pay their scopist.  I sure hope that's not the case and they just forgot.

Thanks, Kelli. That is probably the case with this reporter, especially around the holidays!

The problem is you'll probably think twice about taking her/his work again.  I try to pay the day I get the invoice because I know if you are a quick pay, scopists are eager to take your work.  Just the way it is.  Same with court reporting agencies; quick-paying agencies have the reporters calling non-stop to take their work.

I was proofreading for a new reporter that obviously was lying about "the check is in the mail" b/c she said it about ten times.  She didn't say can I pay you a little bit at a time b/c I just started working and don't have any money or anything in that regard at all, so I knew I had to take drastic measures b/c she just wasn't going to pay me.  Fortunately, I knew what firm she was working for and called up the owner and requested the boss to speak to this reporter about the integrity and professionalism of paying someone when they do work for you.   The boss did speak to her, and the reporter wasn't happy about it, but by golly, she paid me what she owed me.  

Another instance, I had a reporter who just kept ignoring my emails that she needed to pay me for an old invoice.  Fortunately, I had her cell and landline number, so I kept calling her every day.  She didn't answer her phone, so I'd leave a voicemail every time.  Obviously, she got tired of getting those messages, so she finally paid me.  

I highly recommend anyone doing any work for anyone whether you're a reporter, scopist, proofreader, etc, to get the info from at least one firm they work for AND the person's contact info and contact them daily until you get paid.  Time consuming, yes.   Resulting in getting paid, yes. 

Please understand I'm ONLY talking about the reporters who IGNORE you and REFUSE to pay you.  You know the difference. 

Good idea, Linda, about getting contact info.  Also might be a good idea to make sure you call them on that number before you get too deep into receivables, just to make sure it's a good number.

And, Veronica, definitely a good idea to put on the invoices what you'll do if it isn't paid within so many days.  It would probably be a good idea to put it on your rate sheet too and make sure they acknowledge it before you'll start work.  Can't be too careful these days.  But at the same time, you don't want to go overboard and potentially piss off a potential new client with too much threatening language.  I know I've passed on using a few people in the past because the way their rate sheets w/terms were set up were just too offensive.  It seems like, to me, if somebody is that specific that early on, they've probably had lots of problems in the past, and that's gotta make one wonder why... at least it does me. 


Yeah, I'm not quite to that point yet, but that is a great idea to get all the contact information.

I had a scopist call my firm and threaten a lawsuit if I didn't pay her within 10 days.  Mind you, she did this the day she invoiced me and I was not late yet.  I find this behavior highly unethical.  She was pissed because I complained about the quality of her work. 

Scopists, I'd be careful if I were you when calling someone's agency and threatening a lawsuit.  I could easily have sued this scopist because I never got any work from this agency again.  The problem is I know this particular scopist has no money or she shouldn't have been so desperate to be paid. 

Well, I wouldn't wait 30 days!  My scoper knows if she doesn't have a check within a week, she'd better remind you because I must have forgotten!  I'd give them 10 days max and then start sending reminder emails.

Deborah, you are every scopist's dream! I don't actually mind waiting 30 days, as long as it's actually within the 30 days, haha!


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