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If you’re a small business owner, chances are, you’ve run across the issue of clients taking an unreasonably long amount of time to pay you. It might be because your client is a big company who thinks they can get away with it or maybe your client is simply disorganized. Whatever the reason, late payments can cause serious problems for you and your business.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting paid in a timely fashion. Here are 3 ways to get your clients to pay you on time.
1. Set the standard.
If you were late sending invoices, to begin with, why would your clients pay on time? You have to demonstrate the type of behavior you’d like to see them exhibit. Be prompt with your invoices and be sure they’re error-free. Mistakes could slow down the process by causing unnecessary back-and-forth between yourself and accounts payable.
There are plenty of programs and applications designed to automate your invoices so you don’t have to think twice about them. See what’s available for your operating system and find the one that’s right for you.
2. Have a contact.
One of the best ways to ensure your clients pay on time is to develop a relationship with someone at their organization – preferably the person responsible for paying you. It’s easier to ensure your invoices are a priority if the person processing them knows who you are. Be friendly and polite and they’ll likely be more willing to help you out;
However, don’t let friendliness stop you from sticking to your guns. If payments are late and it’s become a problem, be prepared to go over their heads if necessary. Don’t throw anyone under the bus, but keep in mind that talking to a higher-up at the organization may be a good way to speed up the process of getting your client to pay you on time.
3. Be clear about your policies.
Clients will let things slide if they get the chance. It’s important to be firm about when you expect payment from the start. Don’t tell them it’s no big deal if they’re late paying you the first time – let them know this is a serious issue and that it’s enough to make you reconsider your partnership with them.
Consider working out a regular payment schedule to help your clients pay on time. Whether that means receiving a payment within a certain amount of time after the invoice is sent or on a fixed date each month, giving your clients a set deadline takes the guesswork out of when you’ll get your payment
Having clients pay on time is crucial for an entrepreneur, not only because you need that money to run your business but also because you have professional standards to uphold. By setting a strong precedent for the kind of treatment you expect from a client early on, you’ll lay the groundwork for a successful partnership in the future.
If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, fill out my contact form and let’s talk.