Getting your customers to pay you promptly is crucial to maintaining steady a cash flow and meeting all of your business’s financial obligations. So how do you ensure your customers pay their invoices on time, every time? We’ve collected some easy-to-implement strategies to help your business get paid faster for your hard work:
1. Create clear invoices
One of the best ways to ensure you get paid faster is to always create clear, easy-to-read invoices for your customers. Make sure the design of your invoices is streamlined, and the most important information is visible at a quick glance. Poorly designed invoices can contribute to late payments because your customers might miss key details when reading their bill. Make sure the total amount due and the payment due date stand out from the page with a clear, large font.
2. Send invoices as soon as the job is done
Make it a habit to send out your invoices as soon as you complete work on a project, because the faster you send them out, the faster you’ll get paid. When you send invoices out right away, the invoice due date is sooner, and the work you performed will still be top of mind with your customer, which might remind them to send payment promptly.
3. Collect a deposit or prepayment
If you want to make sure you get paid quickly for your work, one of the easiest and most effective solutions is to request a deposit or full payment upfront, before you start the job. Prepayment is an especially good idea for contractors and other home improvement businesses because projects can take several months to complete. With a deposit or up-front payment, you’ll have the cash to cover the costs associated with your job, including material and labour costs.
4. Accept more payment methods
Being flexible with the payment methods your business accepts from customers can help you get your bills paid faster. When customers have the option to pay in the way that’s most convenient for them, they’re more likely to pay their invoices promptly. Consider accepting online payments, and mobile payments using a card reader, so customers can pay you from the job site.
5. Discuss payment terms before doing the work
It’s important that you discuss your payment terms with each customer before a project begins, to set clear expectations. When you talk about your payment terms upfront, you ensure that the customer understands when you expect to be paid by, how they can pay you and what the repercussions are for late payments. Talking through these details in person can help you avoid confusion and payment delays down the road.
6. Reward early payments
Consider offering your customers incentives to pay their bills before the deadline. A small reward, for example, a 3% discount off their bill when they pay the full invoice amount within a week, can help you get paid quickly and maintain a steady cash flow.
7. Charge late fees
Incentivizing early payment is a smart practice, but there should also be consequences when a customer misses a payment deadline. If your company charges late fees, make sure it is prominently disclosed upfront to the customer, including having the details of your late payment policy on your invoices and discussing it in-person with your customers at the time of purchase.
8. Send regular payment reminders
Most customers who miss payment deadlines don’t do so on purpose; they just forget to make the payment. To help keep your invoices top of mind with customers, it’s a good idea to send regular payment reminders as the deadline approaches.
9. Follow up on overdue payments
If a customer misses a payment, don’t be shy about following up with them. On the day an invoice becomes past due, contact the customer letting them know their payment is late, and outline your payment methods again. Continue to follow up on a reasonable basis until your bill is paid in full.
10. Ask for payments politely
You want to maintain a positive relationship with your customers even though dealing with late payments can be frustrating. Communicate politely and maintain your composure at all times when trying to secure a late payment. That way, you won’t burn any bridges with customers, ruining your chances for future work opportunities.
Getting paid quickly for your work is crucial to maintaining a steady cash flow and growing your business. Being proactive about encouraging prompt payment of your invoices can help ensure your customers pay their bills on time.
Offer your customers financing to boost your sales and get paid faster.
The information, views, materials and opinions contained in this article are for general informational purposes only, are not intended to constitute commercial, legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.
FinanceIt Canada Inc. (“Financeit”) make no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the content of this article (including, without limitation, any as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content), or any content of any other article referred to or accessed by hyperlinks through this article. Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information regularly, Financeit makes no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.