In the business world, it can be an uncomfortable situation if you ever need to confront a client about their late payments. Naturally, you want to make sure you get immediate payment while still being respectful and without damaging your working relationship. Further conflict can come about if you need to add late charges or even delay the work being done. If you want to avoid conflict and ensure that your clients pay on time, try taking advantage of some of these tips to navigate the situation.
Writing Your Contracts
When creating a contract for your client, you can help them pay on time by outlining clear payment terms including deadlines, fees, and anything else pertinent to their payment. This should help you stay in sync with one another as you both understand what the expectations are.
If necessary for a larger project, you may want to include that they need to pay half of the bill upfront, which can certainly improve your cash flow but is also key in establishing the rhythm of payments and when/what you can expect of one another.
Make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay on time, since the easier it is, the less likely they are to miss payments. Flexibility in terms of payment types—accepting checks and a variety of online payment systems—can help them stay on track. Automated and cloud-based invoices are also great pieces of software that can be leveraged in ways that make it much easier for your clients to pay on time.
If you maintain a professional outlook, it helps encourage your clients to do the same. Try offering them a retainer if you’re going through long-term work with them, which offers them some additional budgeting bandwidth while still getting you paid. Even if you don’t work with retainers, make sure you’re getting invoices over to them as soon as possible so they know what is expected and when. Cutting down on any downtime on your end shows that you aren’t responsible for late payments, they are.
Establish a regular payment schedule but make a point to keep the language polite as well. Thank them for their business and timely payments, just make sure you’re sending them invoices on a regular schedule so that they know what to anticipate.
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