Our top three tips for getting funds from late-paying clients — no awkward conversation needed!
Getting to do what we love and actually make a living at it is one of the best reasons for being an entrepreneur, but what happens when late paying clients leave a dent in your bottom line?
Having a client or two who pays you a few days late might be okay by you, but when this starts to disrupt your cash flow, you may find yourself with an awkward conversation on your hands.
Luckily, there are pleasant ways to approach this conversation that won’t damage your relationship with the client. Before you make that call or write that email, let’s take a look at three things to consider when asking for money from late-paying clients.
Maybe They Didn’t Receive Your Invoices
It’s always easier for everyone to give your client the benefit of the doubt. Instead of assuming that your invoices are being ignored, consider the possibility that maybe your invoices went to their spam box by accident, or got misplaced in their stack of unopened mail.
Rather than start down a firm road of consequences and demands, double check that your client does, in fact, know they owe you money. By thinking well of the client, this starts the conversation on a positive note that will make it easier to discuss options and solutions moving forward.
Double Check that They Received Your Goods or Services
Imagine how awkward it would be if you called to double check on an overdue invoice only to have your client respond that they never received their order to begin with? No matter if you offer physical goods or specific services, make sure that your end of the bargain was completed and received before asking for payment.
If something is amiss, it gives you the chance to embrace honesty over perfection and let them know you were mistaken. Showing the client that you hold yourself to this type of accountability will go a long way toward bolstering your relationship with this client in the long run.
Make Sure You’re Reaching Out to the Correct Person
Those of us who have large corporations as clients know that it can be difficult to track down the correct person for a specific question or task. When you call your main point of contact to discuss their late payment, it could be useful to confirm that they are the one responsible for authorizing invoices.
It’s very possible that your connection might forward invoices to another department entirely. They may have no idea that their payment is late. Getting to the bottom of who to talk to will save time on both ends.
While we’re all for giving those around us the benefit of the doubt, we realize that sometimes the situation might be as simple as a client who flat out doesn’t want to pay their bills on time. After you’ve run through the above possibilities, it may be time to consider whether the effort it takes to chase down payment from this client is worth your time and stress.
In cases like these, approach your conversation with a smile and politely make arrangements for payment. This conversation may be awkward and unpleasant, but at the end of the day, remember that non-payment from one individual is not a reflection of your work or your worth. Don’t let it take away your excitement and enthusiasm for living the entrepreneurial dream.
About Emily D. Tisdale, Founder & CEO
Meet the brains — and heart — behind LEAP for Women. Emily is LEAP’s guiding force, committed to supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage in their journey.
She loves LEAP because:
A resident of Indiana, Emily prides herself on being a transplanted Hoosier and enjoys watching Colts football and spending time with her husband and their two children.