You’re assigned a project, deliver it on time, and get paid, right? While it may sound easy enough, we’ve all had to deal with those clients who don’t pay right away and require at least three follow-ups to actually send a check. And, when you do get that check, there is always the possibility that it will bounce.
Leverage digital payments and billing software, like Keap Payments. You’ll be able to accept American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover directly through the app. You can also take payments over the phone, online, in person, or via the Bluetooth card reader. The major benefit here is the ability to accept credit card as payment. In a 2016 survey conducted by payment processor TSYS comprised of 1,000 consumers, forty percent chose credit cards as the payment method they most prefer. This mean you’ll be able to offer extra convenience to your clients and increase your chances of getting paid on time.
How to Get Your Clients to Pay Your Faster
If only there were a surefire way to ensure your clients paid you on time. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your tactics will change from client to client, but there are four things you can do to help get your clients to pay you faster:
Add a "Pay now" button to invoices: Take out all the guesswork for your clients by adding a “Pay now” button to your invoices. All they need to do is click the button and pay — no more writing and mailing a check or logging into another app to send money.
Send automatic emails: Set up automatic emails that remind clients one week before invoices are due. Or, have an email go out immediately after sending an invoice that further explains next steps.
Protect against fraudulent charges: Complete transactions securely with a chip reader. Computer chip cards are hard to counterfeit and protect you from liability, letting you focus on getting paid without worrying about fraud.
Stay organized: Connect your billing software with customer management application so you can tie payment activity to contact records. When a payment is processed, your client’s record will be automatically updated. This way, you can quickly pull reports based on who has and hasn’t paid you.
How to Ask for Payment in an Email
If you do need to follow up on late invoices, you’ll probably start by sending an email. While it’s a convenient and easy method of communication, it always runs the risk of getting lost in someone’s inbox. To combat this, your email needs to be direct and concise, including all relevant information and conveying a sense of urgency.
Here’s an email template you can use to ask for payment in an email:
Invoice [invoice reference number] for [$X] was due on [due date]. Please send payment via check, credit card, or [other method] as soon as possible.
I have reattached the invoice for reference. Please reply to this message and let me know if you have received it.
How to Ask Clients for Payments Politely
It’s natural to feel more and more frustrated with every follow-up email you send, but it’s important to remain polite and respectful.
Here are three ways to politely ask clients for payment:
Don’t assume malicious intention: Rather than coming from a mean, spiteful place, most clients simply forget to pay the invoice. So, when you send your first few follow-up emails, remember that you don’t know why the invoice is overdue. Make sure your tone is firm, but inquisitive and curious. Don’t assume anything. Your emails could be going to their spam folder or they could be dealing with a family emergency.
Pick up the phone: There’s a point when email follow-up just won’t work anymore. At that point, pick up the phone and call the client. It’s much harder for clients to ignore a payment request when you’re talking directly to them. Remind your client about the invoice and ask why it hasn’t been paid. Take this time to understand what went wrong so you can work together to avoid it in the future.
Set boundaries when doing ongoing work: Let’s say you deliver something to your client each month, but invoices are regularly late. If you continue to do work for the following month, you’re essentially letting the client continue to get quality work from you without paying for what you’ve already done. In this scenario, you may choose to start new work only when all the invoices have been paid.
When you’re running a small business, the last thing you want to do is play bill collector. Unfortunately, there will always be clients who make the habit of not paying you on time. The good news? With digital payments and billing software, you can increase the chances of getting paid faster, saving you weeks of headache.