Tips to ensure your invoices get paid

You have won the job, done the work, now it is time to get paid.  Here are some tips to ensure that you are not chasing payments.

Have a clear, branded layout

Use good software to generate your invoices.  Cloud software such as Xero, WorkflowMax and other job management tools have good templates that you can customise and add your branding.

Itemise your invoice

Make it clear what your customer is paying for.  If they need to spend time querying what work was done, then payment of the invoice will be delayed.

Invoice promptly

Invoice the customer as soon as the job is complete.  They are more likely to pay for it while they are enjoying the satisfaction of having the work done.  If you are slow to invoice, then they are likely to be slow to pay.

State your credit terms

Tell the customer when you need to be paid by having a due date on the invoice.  If it is cash on delivery, say so.  Make it clear what will happen if payment is not paid by the due date, eg interest applied, prompt payment discount forfeited, collection costs recovered.

For large jobs, consider completing a credit check

Some customers pose a high risk, of non payment and are best to be avoided. Remember that you will need their permission to request a credit check.

Make it easy for them to pay

If it is hard to pay you, the customer will delay payment.  Include your bank details on your invoice.  Set up a Paypal or Stripe account if you want to offer credit card payments.

Send statements or invoice reminders

Send statements once a month, or use your financial software to schedule automated invoice reminders.

Don’t let the debt get old

If you let the debt get too old in the hope that they might pay, the less likely you are to get paid at all.  Follow up with an email or phone call with a few days of the invoice being overdue.  If they promise a cheque, call in to see them to pick it up.  If it is an ongoing client, do not do further work for them until the previous invoice has been paid. If the debt is more than 3 months old, consider a debt collection agency.  If you have followed the steps above, you are less likely to get to this position.

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