Mo’ Money Less Problems: 7 Tips to Get You Paid Faster
October 12, 2022 - Miranda Desa
There is nothing worse than chasing after customers for payment. You worked hard to provide them with a valuable good or service and now you’re having to spend even more time and energy on getting them to pay you.
Here are 7 tips to help you get paid faster and maintain solid professional relationships in the process.
1) Make Sure You Have a Good Contract
Always confirm the agreement for you to do work for money in writing. Make sure to include specifics about what you will be doing, what will be included, as well as how and when you will get paid. Well-written contracts prevent disputes down the road about what was agreed to and help to prevent breach of contract, such as failing to pay outstanding amounts when they are due.
A good contract includes favourable terms to make it easier for you to get paid. Exactly what should be included in your contract will depend on the kind of good or service you provide, but some terms that can help with getting paid include:
· Specific Payment Terms;
· The Ability to Stop Providing a Good or Service When You Haven’t Been Paid;
· Incentives for Early Payment and/or Late Fees if Clients Don’t Make Payments on Time;
· Upfront Payments/ Payment in Advance;
· An Agreements that is Enforceable in a Court that is Easily Accessible to You; and
· The Ability to Recover Your Legal Costs in the Event of Breach of Contract.
Getting legal advice upfront will help you identify the key terms for your business and ensure that your contract is enforceable before you need to rely on it.
2) Get Your Client’s Billing Information Upfront
Before you send out your first invoice make sure you know who it should be directed to. The person responsible for paying bills is often not the person who signed off on the work in the first place, especially in larger companies. Also check who needs to receive a copy of your invoice. Directing your invoice to the right people will make your clients' lives easier and result in you getting paid faster.
3) Update Your Client if a Good or Service is Going to Cost Extra
Projects don’t always go as planned, and unexpected road bumps can lead to extra time and cost for goods and services. Extra time and costs lead to a bigger bills for your clients. If something unexpected comes up, reach out to your client, update them on the situation and include them in the discussion about how you’re going to fix it, and confirm the change in plans in writing.
4) Bill Your Clients Regularly and Send Reminders
Regular invoices keep clients informed about the cost of a good or service and allow them to plan for your payments. If you’ve set a payment schedule in your contract, make sure that you follow it and bill your clients promptly. Just like you, your clients are busy and sending payment reminders or setting up automated ones helps your clients to remember to pay your bills.
5) Confirm that Your Bill Has Been Received
If you haven’t received payment on an outstanding invoice, a helpful first step moving forward is to confirm that your bill was received. People go on holidays, spam filters sometimes pick up things they shouldn’t or perhaps you didn’t send it out properly in the first place. Most of the time, people will confirm they’ve received your invoice but sometimes, things come up. If this is the case, give them the benefit of the doubt and politely send your invoice again.
6) Offer Assistance
Once you’ve confirmed your client has your invoice, if they still haven’t paid it, I would recommend asking if they require additional information or assistance to pay your invoice. Perhaps they’ve misplaced your billing information, require clarification on their options of how to pay or need a payment plan. Offering assistance can strengthen your relationship with your client and can be more effective than sending aggressive or unpleasant messages (It also makes you look great to a judge if a matter ever has to go to court).
7) Know When to Reach out for Help
If you’ve followed all the tips above and you still have an outstanding invoice, it can be helpful to reach out and secure legal advice. An experienced litigator that handles breach of contract matters can help you understand your options, preserve your rights, and enforce them. If an invoice is outstanding for a long time, you could also lose your ability to enforce payment by missing the applicable limitation period. Often a tardy paying client will turn around and pay you quickly once counsel gets involved, especially if you followed step one and have a well-drafted contract.
The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail.