Every business wants its invoices paid in good time or at least within the scope of terms agreed ahead of work being undertaken or services being provided. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. In fact, chasing unpaid invoices can often come to feel like a full time job in itself for small business bosses and freelance operators.
Here are some top tips on how to chase late invoices issued to valued clients:
1 – Don’t Hesitate To Raise The Issue
It is easy to fall into a pattern of agonising about the possible consequences of contacting a valued client on the subject of overdue invoices that remain unpaid. The reality is that there’s a good chance your client will have neglected to pay your invoice for simply procedural reasons and won’t respond in any negative way to being urged to resolve the matter. In fact, the sooner you bring up the issue, the better chance you will have of receiving the money you’re owed.
2 – Pick Up The Phone
Calling your client with regard to an unpaid and overdue invoice can really help to focus minds on the subject and remind the client that you are a real human being with bills of your own to pay. If you can avoid being pushy or showing real frustration, a phone call can in fact make all the difference in seeing your unpaid invoices resolved.
3 – Avoid Awkwardness Through Automation
It can often help for small business operators to depersonalize the process of chasing up late payments. It is very likely to become a familiar process and so taking a systematic approach can help remove much of the potential angst involved.
Sending out pre-drafted emails that keep the points simple and specific to the issue at hand, for example, can help. A simple emailed reminder of what invoices are overdue, when they were issued and what work they cover should generally be enough to reflect and represent your concerns.
4 – Use Third Party Agents With Discretion
Third parties are often best placed to mediate the process of demanding payment of overdue invoices. Small businesses don’t generally want to upset their valued clients or jeopardize the relationships they have with them but they do, of course, also want to be paid.
So when your unpaid invoices are starting to stack up but you are still keen to work with the relevant client then a third party debt collector can take some of the sting out of the process.
5 – Be Politely Persistent
As long as you remain polite in your dealings with your clients around the issue of unpaid invoices then there is no harm in contacting them persistently on the subject. In fact, it is persistence on your part, more than anything else, that is ultimately likely to do the trick in ensuring that you receive the payment you’re owed.
However you approach the process of chasing overdue invoices, it is vital to keep at it and to avoid the temptation to overlook the matter in pursuit of future business. Any client worth valuing will understand that small businesses need to be paid, if not immediately or even promptly, then certainly within a reasonable timeframe. Therefore, the act of exercising your rights as a service provider can hardly be negatively construed, unless by parties whose customs you ought not to value.