Writer colleague Dana Kennedy passed this information on, and even if you don't write for any of the Time Inc. properties, be prepared for a blood pressure boost. As Gawker
reports, Time Inc.
is offering to pay freelancers quickly -- if they are willing to take less money
Under the cheery subject heading "Time Inc - Accelerate payments at year end!", it outlined the company's PayMeNow program, whereby you can speed up payment of your invoice for a fee, kind of like when you get a payday loan at the check cashing place down on the corner so you can afford to buy lottery tickets for the week.
There's a whole rate sheet of how much you give up to see that check earlier:
- 25 days - 0.5 percent
- 20 - 1 percent
- 15 - 1.5 percent
- 10 - 2 percent
- 5 - 3 percent
- 3 - 4 percent
Nice, eh? Now understand that discounts for early payment are nothing new in corporate transactions. They have been around for, oh, I don't know, I'm guessing hundreds of years. Certainly many, many decades at the very least. But there's a difference between something offered as a general part of negotiation -- and usually offered by the seller -- and something tossed out by a chronically late payer who is trying to manipulate individuals who often have the least fiscal power to make totally reasoned decisions.
And, if you think about it, this behavior is even more contemptible and the evidence that the corporate suits there are a nasty bunch of sneaky little shits. It's almost the end of the year. Guess what companies generally do at this point if their fiscal year ends with the calendar year? They accelerate payments anyway to reduce tax liabilities. Want to guess when parent Time Warner Inc.'s fiscal year ends? Yup, December 31st. So they're laughing all the way to the bank - literally - because they know they're going to try to push all this stuff out anyway, and they want to shave a little extra profit out of the pockets of freelancers. And my bet is that they take the discount and are still late based on the payment schedule. Merry Christmas. Ho, Ho, Fucking Ho. Bastards.
[UPDATE: The original article suggested that Time was paying in 30 days already, which seemed faster than many large corporations. A new Gawker post says that they heard from another freelancer who said that it usually takes closer to 60 days. I've heard from a couple of Time Inc. freelancers that the online payment system works well, but having dealt with one at a big client in the past, where the editor didn't bother to process the paperwork, I can pretty authoritatively say that even with the best accounting system, the company
can leave you screwed. It's one reason why you want to get a definition of what acceptance means. Is that "yup, we're going to use the piece," or "you have to wait until the Big Man in the Sky reaches down, lights a burning bush, and allows your manuscript to pass into the publishing promised land"?]Image via Flickr user DanCentury, Creative Commons license.
Labels: discounts, negotiation, payment, Time Inc