10 Ways To Get Customers to Pay Their Invoices Faster
You provide a service, you get paid for said service. It should be that simple, but if you live in the world of invoicing, it never is.
Here’s a painful stat: 94% of invoices take over 30 days to be paid. So really, it’s more like provide a service, issue invoices, follow up on invoices, reflect on how much time you spend chasing down late payments, feel sad, get paid a month later.
Here’s a happy fact: it doesn’t have to be this way.
Knowing how to follow up on invoices can be tough, but the good news is, if you follow the next 10 tips, you probably won't need to!
Here's how to ask for payment professionally and get your invoices paid faster:
1. Be clear about payment expectations (right from the get-go).
Letting your client know payment amounts and due dates before you do the work ensures you’re both on the same page.
Send them a quote that outlines the services, fees and dates, and they’ll be more likely to pay on time.
2. Offer payment by installments.
This one is great for large projects because dividing payments over a period of time not only helps improve your cash flow, but it also makes that big lump sum a little less intimidating for your client.
If your work involves a lot of these bigger projects, save time by using a platform that allows you to set up the number of installments and automatically bill your clients.
3. Send invoices ASAP.
If you want to get paid on time, then bill on time. It seems like common sense but making it happen isn’t always easy, especially if you’re still invoicing the old fashioned way — via snail mail.
Unfortunately, if you’re slow on sending your invoices, it says to the client “hey, you should probably pay me, but no rush,” whereas the sooner you send the invoice, the stronger the connection between the completed work and the payment.
4. Make it easy to pay your invoices (or they won't get paid).
It’s not that your clients don’t want to pay you, it might just be inconvenient to pay you. Let’s put it this way, if I have to pay with a cheque, my first thought is: “Do I even own cheques?” If I have to mail that cheque to you, you’re probably not getting paid until I remember to go buy stamps — which is never.
If you send invoices via email and accept payments over the phone, that’s a step up, but these days most people even consider making a phone call to be an inconvenience.
If you want quick payments, your best bet is an online invoicing solution that allows customers to click a link in your email invoice and pay online.
5. Automatically convert quotes to invoices.
This is only an option if you use online invoicing, but it’s pretty nifty. If you email a quote to your client and they accept the quote, it will automatically convert into an invoice.
Your customer can then can click to pay the invoice right then and there. This means you don’t have to wait until you’ve completed the work to bill them, and that’s pretty cool.
6. Get regular...with your billing schedule.
If your clients know when to expect your bill, they’ll be more prepared to pay it. If your service fees are recurring, billing on a set schedule will make a big difference in how fast you get paid.
If you want something that’s even more guaranteed, try recurring billing: your client provides their payment information once, and their card is billed automatically at a set frequency.
We’re fans of the recurring billing feature that comes with Converge’s invoicing platform because it’s super secure and — full disclosure — it’s one of our products.
7. Send payment reminders.
We all forget things and we’re all guilty of procrastination once in a while. Give your clients a little nudge with a reminder a few days before or after the payment is due.
The best way to follow up on invoices is with invoicing software because it means you don't have to do any of the following up personally.
Most invoicing softwares allow you set up automatic reminders, but if you’re a fan of tracking all your accounts in a spreadsheet and manually sending out emails...we’re not judging (well, maybe a bit).
8. Make it personal.
Software and automation are great but don’t underestimate the importance of creating a personal connection with your clients.
Communicating face-to-face during a project, responding to their emails, or adding personalized messages to your invoices can all help establish a healthy relationship with your clients and decrease the likelihood of issues arising when it comes time to pay.
9. Set up rewards and penalties.
If you’re struggling with late payments, offer a discount to clients who pay early. Discounting your services by 5-10% is a small price to pay for getting your cash faster.
If offering incentives don’t work, you can try implementing late payment fees. Just make sure that you disclose these fees in your invoice’s terms and conditions and send reminders to your customers before you start charging them interest.
10. Automate, automate, and automate. Seriously. Do it.
The best way to get paid fast is to have an efficient platform for sending invoices and reminders, capturing payments, issuing receipts, and tracking it all.
The right invoicing software should allow you to create custom invoices quickly and inexpensively, increase your cash flow, and erase any traumatic memories of chasing down late payments.
Interested in online invoicing? Learn more about the cost/time-savings of our online invoicing, and explore our virtual terminal payment solution.