Invoicing and dealing with late payments is a monthly reality for everyone working for themselves. 55% of freelancers have done work they haven’t been paid for and the average late invoice is paid two and a half weeks after its due date!
Chasing an accounts department can make getting paid feel like a marathon, and emails going ignored could not be more frustrating. There is a better way. Here’s the etiquette guide you need to get paid faster, and deal with those awkward invoicing conversations.
1. Set The Payment Terms Before You Get Started
When you’re working with a new client have a conversation about invoicing terms and payment due dates before you do anything for them. If you don’t communicate your expectations early clients are more likely to put invoices for as long as possible to protect their own cash flow.
Some businesses will have a set date where they process all their invoices, or specifically ask for 30 day terms. It can be difficult to get around this so working with their existing terms can sometimes be the easier option. Knowing your invoice will be paid in 30 days is better than waiting indefinitely for it!
2. Chase As Soon As The Invoice Is Late
20% of freelancers don’t feel confident reminding their clients about late payments. Some people think they’ll come across as rude or damage the relationship, so deadlines slip by and they worry in silence.
If your quote has been agreed, the client has accepted the work, and the invoice has been sent, you’re perfectly entitled to get your cash! Put it politely, remind them of the terms, and make it as easy as possible for them to pay there and then.
Make invoices easier for you to manage. Use Solna’s automatic reminders!
Solna invoicing includes automatic reminders. That means no manual email typing or ‘Did you see my invoice?’ Choose the dates, turn the reminders on, and let Solna do the chasing for you.
3. Here’s What To Do If They Really, Really Don’t Want To (Or Can’t!) Pay
Every freelancer has dealt with it. Some clients do disappearing acts, refuse to pay, or persistently put it off despite lots of reminders.
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998 means freelancers and the self-employed can charge a late fee if their invoice is over 30 days late, and they don’t charge any other form of interest. It’s a bit of a relationship killer, and they might still refuse, but quoting an official piece of legislation can help convince them you’re taking this seriously and they need to pay up.
Some freelancers even offer a small discount to incentivise early payment. Make sure this is outlined on your invoice or in a written agreement so your clients know what to expect.
Make it easier for your clients to pay you (it’s 3x faster on average)
It’s easy to not consider how an invoice works for your clients. If it’s complex, hard to read, or even just difficult to open, they’re much less likely to get the payment out of the way quickly.
Solna invoices are powered by Stripe and come with a simple ‘Pay’ button that takes your clients straight to an easy payments page. They’re incentivised to pay and you’ll get your money 3x faster on average.
Good invoicing etiquette is all about setting out expectations early, keeping it professional, and staying on top of dates and deadlines. The clearer you are with your customers and clients, the more likely you are to keep payments simple and straightforward.