I went back to the home and let them know that the check did not go through. They had given me a "tip" (yeah, right) so I didn't add the bank charge I had received. I was firm, but nice, and let them know that this was a business and that I would need to report any bad checks to the state attorney general's office (or whatever it's called). Then I asked them on which day I could redeposit the check and expect it to go through.
I tell people in advance that I want cash if the party is not at their home. If it is at the home I don't mind a check. I accept credit cards through Paypal. I've only had one bad check.
One time I showed up and the lady was totally depressed because nobody had come to her child's birthday. I hadn't turned anything else down for that day so I never unpacked and just told her to keep me in mind for next year. The family had recently moved and it just never worked. My main goal is to put myself in their shoes. However, if I had turned down other work I would have tried to get something for my time.