The Dos And Don’ts Of Chasing Late Payments

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April 21, 2017
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It’s a constant pain, not unlike a sickness, trying to recover the money you’re owed for a job. Freelancers and their ilk rely on a steady tide of cash for every assignment. Some clients, whether by accident or design, may not be paying you. It’s within your best interests to chase them up about it, right?

While we firmly agree that you should, there are good and bad ways of doing so. Respect, procedure and decorum are always humming in other aspects of your professional life – there’s no need to lose them now. Here are some dos and don’ts for chasing late payments:

Do – Escalate gradually

It’s never a bad idea to be tactile when the occasion calls for it. Since this is about getting money in your pocket, we suggest a careful, agreeable series of messages to your contact. Start with a polite email that reminds them of the missed deadline: could they possibly make the payment today? Attach the invoice again to ensure they have what they need.

Then, if you’re ignored, wait a few days, and send a firmer email, with a follow-up detailing that fines will be accrued. This last part only works if you’ve tweaked your small-print to include overdue penalties.

Don’t – Make it personal

Remember what we said in our intro? We weren’t kidding – the semblance of nice, smooth dialogue has to be maintained if you want to keep the client around. After all, you don’t honestly know why they haven’t paid you. It could be a serious personal crisis.

Keep your language bright, happy, and professional. Don’t ever resort to insults or sarcasm, as they’re even less likely to address the situation. Rudeness never gets us anywhere profitable.

Do – Stay consistent

The stricter you are with timescales, the more respect you’ll have from clients in the long run. Sticking to a clear, definite payment period – no ifs or buts – shows that you have a tight hold of your finances.

If you value yourself enough to know when a payment is due, and what the day-by-day steps are to collect it, then your business associates will see that you aren’t joking. It’s also useful for referring back to your routine if the client is a repeat offender; they’ve already been given the benefit of the doubt…

Don’t – Fall behind and forget

Following on from our last point, it’s imperative to train a hawk-like eye over your payment dates. Suddenly, you might realise that so-and-so hasn’t coughed up for several months. All sense of urgency is lost, and you’ll curse yourself for being so lackadaisical.

We’re serious – it’s only you that’ll lose out! To avoid this scenario, invest in a smart, digital finance tool for SMEs, contractors and freelancers. Our software of choice, FreeAgent, shows you exactly what’s meant to be coming into your business account. With it, you get a simple, intuitive view of which payments are late, and which are ticking over nicely.

So, while the whole process may be frustrating, try to have a cool head, and show how patient/logical/justified you can be. For the rest of your financial concerns, hire Bright Ideas Accountancy for an aid to that self-employed income. Call us on 0161 951 5308 or email info@biaccountancy.com.

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