Clients who are slow to pay can be a nightmare for solo business owners. If you freelance, you know how tough it can be to chase down payments from clients who love and praise your work but take too long to pay for it. While you can and should aggressively collect from true deadbeat clients, a kind approach works best with those who pay slowly but eventually.
Taking a positive approach allows you to maintain the relationship without a hitch and improves your chances of getting repeat business and timely payment from your clients.
Bill on Time
Make sure you are actually sending invoices in a timely manner, even if you’re busy or overburdened with work. Your client can’t pay you until you invoice, and they’re more likely to pay on time while your amazing work is top of mind. If you delay billing, you may be causing a delay in payment, particularly if your invoice arrives at the end of the month or end of the year.
Send a Professional Invoice
It is easier for a client to dismiss a solo contractor or to regard you as less than a real business after work is received. If you are currently sending a total due via email or sending a money request via PayPal, then generating a more business-like and professional invoice could be the key to getting paid. Make sure you are invoicing in a professional manner and that you are sending your invoices to the person who can actually pay you.
If you are working with a small business, the person making the payment is likely the owner or the person who hired you. Whereas, a larger business may require you to send your invoice to the Accounts Payable department to get paid.
Include a Copyright Reminder
In the early stages of collections, positive communication and reinforcement is a must. You can keep things positive but still stress the importance of payment by including a copyright reminder with your invoice. If you write, draw, photograph or create work in any way, you retain the copyright until payment (and sometimes beyond payment) and can rescind the work if it is not paid for. Including a copyright notice with delivery and with your invoice can help remind clients of this and trigger a faster payment.
Offer an Incentive
Give your client a good reason to pay you first and your invoice will go to the top of the pile, every time.
Offering an incentive for early or timely payment could bump you to the front of the line and ensure that you get paid right away.
A feature like dynamic discounting on Viewpost offers your clients a tangible reward for paying early — they save on the invoice total and you get paid on demand. Incentivizing prompt payment rewards your best clients and helps train others to pay on time every time you bill.
Being proactive and positive, and making sure the client has everything they need to pay you, can help you get paid on time. For more help handling client payments or offering incentives to help clients pay in a timely manner, contact us or follow our blog for the latest freelance business tips and tricks.