There are some clients that pay late, and you have a good working relationship, and when they can pay, they do – and that’s okay. There are other clients that pay as soon as they get your invoice. Then, there are those clients that seem to miss the emails, ignore phone calls, and keep extending the time before they will pay your invoice.
Almost all businesses and freelancers will deal with this from time to time. It can be one of the most awkward conversations to have, even though you are rightfully due the money.
Here are a few helpful tips for getting your cash.
This is a hindsight moment. When you realize that you should’ve asked for the payment upfront, but it is something that you can decide to implement in all future contracts. Or at the very least have a decent percentage required in the upfront fee. This is better suited to bigger projects, but you can implement it any time you like.
The speed you send your invoice can impact how quickly you get paid for something. If you leave it weeks before you ask for a payment, some clients can ‘forget’ what the work was for. Not all are like this, but some can be. As soon as you finish the project, write a detailed note for yourself, and send the invoice.
Some clients will refuse to pay you, and others will pick at your work (even when done entirely to their specifications), and sometimes even if you have been working on-premises, this can happen. It is important to know that you can call Thomas Law Offices if anything happens on-premises while working. Make sure that you understand your rights and that you have a contract that can protect you.
If you have a client that pays on time, every time, then offer them a discount for paying ahead of time. Most of the time, the client will be happy for even a 1-2% discount on what they usually pay. This isn’t always the best idea for new clients, as they might always expect a discount going forward.
If your client has assumed your take Stripe payments, but you only take PayPal, you will have a little bit of a problem when invoice time rolls around. Ensure that you have the accepted payment types in your contract. However, it is generally a good idea to be flexible with the payment type and have as many popular options as possible.
This might sound like an extreme step, but a late fee attached to any invoices can often encourage clients to pay on time. A late fee of around 10% or a set amount, whatever is more/less, is a great incentive. You cannot just add on a late payment without it already being in your terms and conditions. Make sure the repercussions of paying late is clearly stated.
If you have a client who usually pays on time but is having issues, it is worth talking to them about it. It is easy to focus on the lack of payment, but sometimes losing a long-standing client over something that could have been talked over can be more financially painful. If your client is in the middle of a cash flow issue, it could be a short-term issue.
Changing your payment terms for this invoice can be useful for you both and your client. Placing value on the relationship you have with your client can pay dividends and further solidify their loyalty to you in the future.
Even if you have only done a single piece of work for a client, there is no need to send an invoice without a personal note. Being polite doesn’t cost anything. Simple things like adding a thankyou, or we appreciate your business, can go a long way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, you are more likely to be paid on time if you are just ‘nice.’
If you have just started out freelancing or running a small business, sending invoices and asking for payment can feel like a giant hurdle. But, it is always amazing to bank your first income made from your freelance endeavors. There are many lessons to be learned when it comes to taking payments, and eventually, you will find the way that suits you best.
A final tip is to make sure that you always consider how much your taxes are when you set up your pricing list!