How long is too long for payment on a contract?

UPDATED: Nov 1, 2010

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Nov 1, 2010Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How long is too long for payment on a contract?

I have not been paid for over a month on services that I did. They keep saying soon, what can I do?

Asked on November 1, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Payment terms are typically governed by the contract itself; i.e. a contract ideally should state either a date certain for payment, or a period of time (e.g. "payment within 30 days after completion"). If it does not, if there is a common payment term for your industry or type of work, it may be  the case that it--that length of time--is effectively incorporated into the contract, but only if it  is common and well known. For example, in the educational publishing industry, it is common for freelance writers and editors to be paid "net 30"--or 30 days after completion. Similarly, if you've worked for this company before, you can reference prior payment terms.

If there is nothing in the contract and no relevant guidance from past practice with this company or from the industry, then there is no hard and fast date by which you had to be  paid. At  the point at which you feel they are not going to pay you and cannot or will not even put a date in writing to give you an expectation of payment, that's probably when to talk to an attorney or (for a smaller contract) consider bringing a claim in small claims court--the only way to enforce payment on contracts is to sue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption