Tips for getting invoices paid faster

Raise your hand if you'd like to get paid faster. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

Setup automatic reminders

Sometimes clients pay their invoices late. It's a fact of life. But, it's not always because they're tight on cash or trying to screw you. Sometimes they just forget. So, why not remind them?

We use Freshbooks, which allows you to send three different automated email reminders. They call it their late payment reminders, but a payment doesn't have to be late for you to remind your client.

I setup our system to send a reminder 21 days after I've sent the invoice. Our standard terms are NET 30, so that means my clients are getting automated email reminders a week before their invoice is due. That's just enough time for them to cut a check and drop it in the mail to get their payment in under the deadline.

The key is to word the email in a way that gently reminds them their payment is due. It's no time to sound like a hard ass. (Save that for the 90 days past due reminder.)

I also make sure to call out the fact that it's an automated reminder from my invoicing system. I don't want to send the impression that I have nothing better to do than sit around and remind people to send me checks.

Freshbooks late payment email reminder

Our invoice email reminder

If your invoice system doesn't offer reminders or you send invoices manually, you could try scheduling your emails with Boomerang or setting reminders for yourself in your calendar. But really, you should have an invoice system with basic features like this. It will save you money in the long run.

 

Accept credit card payments

I know, I know. Credit card fees can be steep. Merchant accounts are a pain to setup. There's always a risk of chargebacks.

These are all good reasons for not accepting credit card payments. But, you know what, cash is king. Anything that gets me paid quicker is worth trying.

This client typically pays in 3 daysI did business for four years before I finally setup a merchant account. I wish I had done it sooner. We have clients who literally pay in 3 days on average because we accept credit cards.

It wasn't that hard to fill out the application and now with services like Stripe, there's no excuse not to have a merchant account. 

auto paymentsSome clients like that they get points or cash back. Other clients like that they don't have to work through the check writing process with their accounts payable department. I like that I get paid faster.

Here's another reason to accept credit cards; auto-payments. Do you have ongoing retainers or maintenance plans where you're billing a client the same amount every month? (If not, you should.) There's nothing better than sending an invoice and seeing it automatically paid from your client's credit card on file.

Invoice quicker

This may be obvious, but the sooner you send the invoice the sooner you get paid. Don't procrastinate. Don't wait until the end of the month. When the work is done, send the invoice.

In fact, it might be a good idea to require final payment before you hand over the final deliverables. Once they have your final product you've lost most of your leverage. But, payment terms should be set clearly before the project begins. This isn't something to surprise your client with at the last minute.

What tips do you have for getting paid faster? 

 

Posted December 5, 2012 by Jason Siffring

Jason has over 15 years of web development experience and is the owner of Surprise Highway. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

5 comments  

Howdy Stranger Nathaniel
on December 9, 2013

I definitely need to incorporate the late payment reminders! it’s time-consuming but definitely beneficial.

Could anyone recommend a good invoicing software? I used Quickbooks in the past like David mentioned but I found it too confusing. I need something more simple and user-friendly. I’ve come across Pay panther, Freshbooks and Wave. Can anyone offer me any feedback or recommend another software they like?

Howdy Stranger Siddhanth
on April 18, 2016

Mr.Nathaniel,

Sorry your solution came about 28 months late, but hey better late than never! We have built a g-mail plugin that is an end to end simplistic e-invoicing solution. It can help create/track your invoices, generate automated reminders, automated aging reports and can take care of your entire receivables management.

Check out hummingbill.com

Howdy Stranger Hostolla
on April 26, 2017

Also, a simple low-tech solution is to simply pick up the phone. Yeah, not innovative, but the human touch works!

Phone call follow-ups also give you an opportunity to politely ask for customer feedback, and even ultimately gain more business (either through repeat business or via referrals).

Howdy Stranger Mark W
on May 18, 2017

I agree with Hostolla. On point.

Howdy Stranger BajuKebaya
on June 17, 2017

Hey, thanks for this man. I know most people wouldn’t spend their time helping others, but you my friend are a gem!

Thanks,

Kebaya Siti

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