The Dos And Don’ts Of Chasing Late Payments

Google reviews
April 21, 2017

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

chasing late payments


Recent Articles

650,000 extra pensioners pay tax for the first time this month

650,000 extra pensioners pay tax for the first time this month

Around 650,000 pensioners are facing the prospect of paying tax on their pensions for the first time from this month thanks to a big boost to the State Pension from April 6, and frozen tax bands that will drag them into the tax net, according to calculations from...

The end of the P11D is expected in 2026

The end of the P11D is expected in 2026

The P11D form which has been used to process ‘benefits-in-kind’ such as loans for season tickets and company cars will no longer be used after April 2026, as HMRC will ask businesses to deal with all these benefits through the payroll instead. HMRC announced earlier...

Cryptocurrency gains must be reported on self-assessments

Cryptocurrency gains must be reported on self-assessments

If you hold or invest in cryptocurrency, or even if your employer pays you in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, you may need to declare this on your self-assessment form. For anyone who didn’t in the 2022/23 form which should have been filed before January 31, it...

Ready to join us?

Whether you’re a contractor, freelancer, or small business, Bright Ideas can help remove the burden of time-consuming and complex finances. We’ll draw on our years of knowledge and experience earned helping sole traders just like you.

When you choose us, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Account Manager who’ll provide one-on-one support that’s customised to your business. Communication is key, so we’ll always answer your questions or requests as soon as we can. In fact, we offer a same-day response guarantee for emails and calls received before 3pm.

Contact us to get started

Give us a call us or send an email today!

Looking to switch accountants?
We make the transition simple.

Does your current accountant give 1-to-1 support? Are they fast and thorough?
Slap-dash services hold businesses back, so try our experts instead.

Move to an accountancy service that goes the extra mile…

Start the conversation

Let’s make your finances Brighter

Call us Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

0161 669 4221

Request a call back