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8 Tips to Get a Client to Pay an Invoice on Time

No one wants to chase clients for payment, but it happens all the time in business. Still, small businesses often put in the effort as late payments can hurt cash flow and jeopardize the financial health of a company.

Fortunately, there are some simple and effective tips small businesses can follow to speed up payment and still appear professional.

In this article, we’ll cover:

1. Include Payment Terms

An easy hack to get a client to pay an invoice on time is to set payment terms from the beginning. Include them in your contract, in verbal discussions and definitely in the invoice itself.

Include payment term language in the invoice like:

  • Net 30 (due in 30 days from invoice date)
  • Due Date: January 4, 2018
  • Payment is due on January 4, 2018

Clients should be fully aware of payment schedules and how much they’ll need to pay at each stage. Being upfront cements in the client’s mind that even though they’re receiving your services or products on credit, they are expected to always pay on a certain date, according to Entrepreneur.

2. Make Your Invoice Easy to Pay

Having a clear, easy-to-understand invoice is key to getting paid on time. You don’t want a customer paying late just because they’re confused about how much they owe and for what.

Double check for mistakes, pick templates with clean layouts and include descriptions of all products or services listed. Remember, your invoice is a marketing tool that reflects upon your business’s professionalism.

As for when to send an invoice, the research varies. If you invoice weekly or every two weeks, research suggests invoices sent on the weekend get paid faster. If you bill monthly, invoices sent on the first of the month are more likely to be paid on time.

Use a professional invoice template or invoicing software to make this process even easier.

3. Invoice the Right Person

Invoicing a big company? Make sure you’re sending your invoices to the right contact. Should you send it to your regular contact or someone in finance? Ask your contact who should get the bill and how. If it’s via email, ask who should be cc’d on the invoice.

4. Cultivate Strong Client Relationships

It’s not a quick fix, but having a great relationship with your client will go a long way towards getting your invoices paid on time. A solid relationship makes it easier to follow up when an invoice’s near due and makes the client more responsive, according to Entrepreneur.

Establish a personal connection with your client by sharing personal information about yourself and letting your conversations go off-topic occasionally. Meet in person, if possible.

5. Send Friendly Reminders

Put reminders in your calendar about when to follow up with clients about an invoice. Don’t be afraid to send an email—often clients simply get busy and forget. They’ll appreciate the reminder. A friendly reminder also signals to clients that you’re a professional who’s on the ball.

You can email them a week before the invoice’s due. If there’s no response within a couple of days, follow up with a phone call.

It’s also a good idea to confirm that the client received the invoice in the first place. If you don’t get an email back confirming receipt, send an email a couple days later asking for confirmation.

The below section has email templates you can use when requesting payment.

6. Offer Simple Payment Methods

Be clear about how you want to be paid. Include in the terms and conditions section on your invoice what payment methods you accept and any account information, like how to make out a check and what email address to send a PayPal payment to.

You may want to discuss with the client what payment method they’re used to. Perhaps they prefer to pay by credit card or online via e-transfers. Some invoicing software like FreshBooks automatically allows clients to pay by credit card, making getting paid even easier.

7. Offer Incentives to Pay Early

Offering a discount may encourage tardy clients to pay your earlier. For example, you could offer a 10 percent discount if the invoice’s paid in full in 15 days, instead of 30.

That said, consider carefully whether your small business can afford the discount. If a client’s already paying you within the allotted time frame, you probably don’t need to invest in getting them to pay even earlier, unless you have serious cash flow problems.

Discounts may only be worth it for clients who consistently pay very late and who are hurting your cash flow.

8. Request Payment in Advance

Don’t be afraid to ask for a deposit or other payment up front, especially if it’s common practice in your industry. Getting paid up front is hugely beneficial to the cash flow of a small business.

There are three ways to request money in advance, according to Entrepreneur:

  1. Ask for 30 percent up front on big projects
  2. If you’re billing hourly, request one to weeks worth of payment upfront
  3. Invoice for a whole month upfront and thereafter send invoices requesting payment in 30 days

People also ask:

How to Get a Company to Pay an Invoice

One of your clients not paying you on time? Use these tips to get the company to pay faster:

  • Be professional. Be friendly, submit excellent work on time, have a professional website and send clear, well-laid-out invoices. Clients who look on you favorably are more likely to pay on time.
  • Call your contact at the company. If they’re busy and ignoring your emails, a call may jolt them into action.
  • Communicate frequently. Sending gentle, friendly reminders is incredibly helpful.
  • Establish late fees. Include this on your invoice and gently remind the client close to when the invoice is due that they could incur late fees and how this could affect the total amount. You can charge either a percentage or flat fee.
  • Check in with another contact. Perhaps your regular contact is on vacation or away for personal reasons.
  • Resend the invoice. Your contact could have lost it.
  • Once you establish contact, get a firm date when the money will be sent
  • Send automated reminders through invoicing software like FreshBooks. The client won’t take them personally and the reminders can include links to payment methods.

How to Ask for Payment in an Email

Copy and paste these free payment request email templates to send to your client.

Friendly Payment Reminder Letter

Hi [insert client name],

I hope this email finds you well. I’m emailing to confirm that you received the invoice for [insert project name]. I sent it the other day and want to confirm that everything is in order.

A reminder that my payment terms are 7 days [or whatever you agreed on] and your payment will be due on [enter due date].

Thank you for your time,

[insert your name]

Source: Shopify

Payment Request Letter

Hi [insert client name],

I hope this email finds you well. I’m emailing today with a gentle reminder that next week, [insert date], your payment for [insert project name] will be due. I’ll be sending an invoice in the following days but thought a friendly reminder might help us both stay organized!

If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for your time,

[insert your name]

Source: Shopify

Sending Invoice by Email Sample

Get paid faster by using this email template when sending invoices:

Hi [insert client name],

Please find attached an invoice for [insert project, be specific].

Thanks for your business. If you have any questions about your invoice, please contact [name] at [contact details].

Best,

[insert your name]

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