It’s time you get paid for the work you do. Don’t worry, it’s not rude to ask to be paid–it’s business. This article discusses a few tips for designers who are timid when it comes to collecting invoice payments.
Terms of payment
First, have you agreed to terms of payment with your client? In any preliminary contract or invoice you should mention what your payment terms are. Do you ask for C.O.D. or ask for payment within 14 or 30 days? Do you have a late fee? If so what percentage do you charge? Both you and your client should be clear on what the terms of payment are. This will lead to less confusion in the future.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to late fees is be consistent. If you apply a late fee to overdue invoices sometimes, then it is wise to implement it every time. Having this policy and not practicing it can convey a sense of being unprofessional about your business. Do you think by charging a late fee you’re encouraging prompt payment? Of course.
Rewarding your client
Another option is to reward your client for paying their bills on time. Sometimes people need motivation and, while paying the invoice is their obligation, perhaps offering a reward for prompt payment (something like 10% off the bill if you pay within a week) can make it easier to collect payment when a project is finished.
Auto reminders are great way to remind your clients about their pending invoice without stressing you out or causing extra work for you. Kindly remind your client eery few days, every week, or every month depending on how your business is set up.
Online payments are also a great way to speed up the process. You’re more likely to get paid using this method rather than to wait for a check to arrive. Having this option on your invoice is very helpful and can help getting your client in the habit of paying promptly.
When nothing seems to work…
Lastly, what about when your client is ignoring you, regardless of your efforts?. After months or years of unpaid invoices, if the amount is substantial, you may want to consider more legal or more effective tactics. A collection agency is one tactic that some designers use to kick-start the process. Some stop delivering any future requested work until they are paid. The stories are many, some end nicely and others may not, but it is up to you as a designer to find the best option and stick with it.
What else would you add?
Tell us how you would go about getting paid on time, or ways to improve the process of invoicing. What has worked for you in the past? What hasn’t? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.