[From the Editor] Pssst!! We recently broke down all our Invoice Design advice into an easy to read eBook: Invoice Hacks to Encourage On Time Payment
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Wouldn’t it be nice if you sent out an invoice and your client paid it, same day, without a word? Reliable cash flow would help you grow your business in the ways you want and put food on the table. How many times at the end of the month have you sighed as you looked at your bank account and wondered how you are going to pay for your utilities?
At GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, we get how important invoices are to your business. That’s why we recently added an invoicing feature to make it even easier to handle all of your small business finances in one place. Late invoices are something every business and freelancer have faced at some point, and slow cash flow can be a huge burden for all of us. While you can’t force someone to pay exactly when you want them to, you can take steps to expedite the process.
5 Reasons Your Invoice Didn’t Get Paid on Time
1. Your Own Punctuality
In business and in life, treat others the way you wish to be treated. If you want people to pay on time, make sure to be punctual on your end of the bargain. Take a look at your own record and see if you’re always good at sending your projects, products, and even the invoice on time. If not, how can clients be expected to take their obligations toward you seriously?
2. Let Them Pay When They Offer
Once in a while you run into a client or customer who wants to pay up front to get it out of the way. They know you’re good for the money and for the work and want to go ahead and clear the money. However, your business scruples tell you to tell them to wait until the job is done.
Resist this! While it may seem like good manners to tell them “no, wait until I deliver the goods,” if they’re willing to pay you should let them. Any number of things could come up between now and the end of the project.
3. Following Up
You can’t worry about being rude. If someone is late paying your invoice, follow up frequently. You will likely encounter any number of excuses, but clear follow up sets the expectation that you will get paid and you aren’t going away until the check hits your bank account.
This may feel pushy, but follow-up doesn’t have to be rude. Simple emails or phone calls that just keep you fresh in your client’s mind can do the trick. Soon, they’ll pay you so you stop calling!
4. Be Specific on Contracts
You got a contract, right? It’s something new business owners and freelancers overlook, much to their detriment. Don’t forget the small details, like payment terms and late fees if those terms aren’t met. If you don’t give clients a hard and firm date, they might choose to pay others before you. Don’t give them the excuse!
5. Don’t Play Favorites
We’ve all got that cousin, long-lost friend, or sister-in-law who wants you to play favorites and give them a deal. After all, they’re family/an old friend/whatever. In the long run, though, these types of relationships hurt you.
If they really cared about your business they wouldn’t try and pull this card. Also, by giving them a break, you risk others hearing about it and complaining they didn’t get the same deal. Be tough about your invoice with everyone you deal with and you’ll be better off.
Most small business owners – unless they are very, very lucky – have an invoicing horror story. What’s yours?
Sign up for GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping today to create custom invoices, track all money owed to you in one place and get paid on time, every time!
This guest post is brought to you by GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today and get started invoicing!