Sorry it’s the system!
Singapore, 31st May 2012
One of biggest “fights” has to be against those multi-national companies when it comes to payment. Today again I had to deal with two of these cases where the project director hides behind “the system”. The due date for the payment of our invoices has come and gone and when we query the client they hide behind “the system”. How often have I not heard that…yes it has all gone to accounts, …yes I can confirm it is being processed, …no I cannot tell you when you will receive it! The muscle power of the big company versus the limited options of a small lighting design practice. When you query them, you get invariably answers like:” Don’t you trust us? We are a big company!” Exactly that is the point! Because they are big, they know they can easily wrestle you when it comes to finances often supported by their own legal department and counsel. As a small practice we don’t really have the means to take them to court and they know that. And if you threaten to stop work or not attend meetings until the matter has been settled, somehow they manage to turn it in such way that you are the party pooper, not them! What?
I am just running my rant today and I am sure many of my colleagues in the business have similar experiences. As a small practice we basically live by our cash flow…that’s our petrol to move forward. Bigger companies have so much cloud with the banks they can run on borrowings, loans, over-drafts, I don’t think they are too much bothered with everyday cash flow. The same goes for contracts by the way. You may well submit you fee proposal with all your terms and conditions, but many of the big wig companies will then matter-of-factly tell you that your fee is fine but you will have to sign their standard company terms and conditions. Why is it that they only let you know these once they have accepted your fees? Again the intimidation of big companies as they know that generally you want the job (not many of us are in a position where we can dictate our terms and conditions to the client!). But there are limits …we too have our system and standards!
Light Watch 3-77: Some more funny lighting cartoons…