There are few things more frustrating for freelancers or small business owners than clients who don’t pay on time. It’s not just a matter of getting paid what you're due. Clients who don’t pay jeopardize the future of your business. Case in point, poor cash flow is the reason 82% of small businesses fail.
Don’t stand for it a second longer. Get your invoices paid on time and in full with these eight actionable strategies.
Send Your Invoice As Quickly As Possible
Invoicing must be a top priority when working for yourself. Make a point of sending invoices as fast as possible — ideally, as soon as you have finished the work.
Sending invoices quickly gives your client as much time as possible to pay. But it also shows them you’re serious about getting paid. After all, why should they go out of their way to pay you quickly when you don’t send your invoice on time.
In this regard, it pays to work with software that makes creating invoices as easy as possible. Better still, your invoicing software should make it possible to convert quotes to invoices at a click of a button. This saves you time and means you can get the invoice out the door in an instant.
Make Sure You’re Sending It to the Right Person
It may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed at how often the client you speak to every day is not the same person who deals with accounts. This is particularly common in big companies. If in doubt, check before sending your first invoice and follow up if you don’t get a notification of receipt.
Make It Easy to Pay
Few business owners like dealing with paper cash or checks anymore. So, using an online invoicing solution is a must.
Ideally, your online invoice will connect to an online payment platform like Stripe. With Stripe, there’s no need for customers to create an account, they simply enter their card details and click pay.
Isn’t that a lot easier for your client than reading your paper invoice and cutting you a check?
There may not be anything malicious in a client not paying — they may just have forgotten. If you think that’s the case, don’t be afraid to give them a little nudge.
You could do this yourself by picking up the phone or shooting off an email. Or you could let your invoicing software do it for you. Set up automatic reminders and your clients will be sent follow-up emails periodically until they make payment. There’s nothing for you to do and no need to feel guilty about chasing up, either.
Set Up Recurring Payments
Do you complete regular work for clients? If so, you should consider setting up a recurring invoice that gets sent out automatically every month.
Better yet, set up a recurring payment for these clients. In this scenario, the client would submit their payment details once and payment would automatically be taken every month. That way, neither of you has to worry about creating or paying invoices again.
Build Rapport With the Client
Even if you’re doing work with some of the biggest companies in the world, you’re still dealing with people. Getting to know them and building a strong relationship can help make sure you get paid on time. Even if your point of contact is not the person making payment, they can still put in a good word for you and chase up their colleagues in accounts on your behalf.
Take Part Payment Upfront
It can always be nervy getting payment from clients you’ve not worked with yet. That’s why many freelancers and small business owners require new clients for part of the payment upfront before commencing work. A 25% to 50% payment is industry standard and no reasonable client should deny such a request.
This tactic can actually be a great way of weeding out difficult clients. If anyone does have a problem paying for part of the work upfront, you may want to think twice about working with them.
Create a Payment Plan
Sometimes clients simply can’t afford to make payment. In these very rare circumstances, the best plan of action is to set up a payment plan where the client makes regular, affordable payments until the invoice is cleared.
This situation sucks for everyone, but a payment plan gives both sides what they want. You get the money you’re due eventually, while the client gets to keep the lights on a little longer.
Stop Work Until You Receive Payment
Under no circumstances should you continue working for a client until they pay their outstanding invoices. Whether you’ve agreed to payment milestones or a monthly retainer, stop working as soon as an invoice becomes overdue.
Clients will offer you all sorts of excuses for why they can’t pay you, but don’t give in. Both of you agreed to your payment terms in advance, so there’s no reason you should stand down.
Blinksale Makes Getting Paid Easy
Some people would have you offer discounts to clients who pay early. But there’s absolutely no reason you should discount your work just to get paid. By following the advice above and using an online invoicing solution like Blinksale, you’ll put yourself in the best position possible to get paid on time, every time.