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A constant cash flow is vital in keeping a business afloat; whether you are part of a large firm or have a small business, a positive cash flow always becomes the deciding factor for your company’s progress. Cash flow works both ways, but mostly the success comes from the money coming in from customers or clients who pay to use your services and products.
Getting paid for the services you provide is a basic rule of business, and it is the sweetest part of the process. Still, on many occasions, this part becomes irritating for a service provider or a business owner.
If you have ventured into the world of freelancing, you must know how annoying it is not to get paid for the services you have provided. However, the problem of late payments affects service-based businesses and some major product-based businesses because the money running consistently is always needed to keep the inventories full.
There are various reasons why clients aren’t paying you on time; some of these reasons might be your client’s fault, some might be your fault, and some might be a human error. In either scenario, it is your job to take measures to ensure that you get paid on time. One of the best ways to do that is a professional and friendly reminder.
Since many people find it confusing and somewhat tough to request the payment for services rendered, we have guided what steps you must take to handle the situation professionally without showing the customer how displeased you are.
Set Some Basic Rules:
To ensure timely payment, the first thing you must do is tell your clients about your expectations beforehand. By setting upfront expectations, you signify to your client that you are serious about all the processes involved and clear all due dates. You can also set a rule of upfront payment; this way, you will get some cash upfront and make the client feel more committed to paying you.
To make the customers and clients more inclined towards paying, you can also put up penalties and extra charges for late payments.
Send a Confirmation for Receiving an Invoice:
After providing your services, you must also send a confirmation receipt to ensure whether they have received the invoice or not. You can also send a text or a confirmation email; however, this message should be short and intended as a reminder. To make sure your message is brief and to the point, you must create a service rendered invoice template.
Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt:
Many service providers do a very unprofessional thing because they don’t give their customers an easy out and often get harsh with them. It is extremely tempting to take your frustration out on the customers, but the professional thing would be to cut them some slack. It is not the best approach to think that your client is intentionally making his payments late.
If some client pays regularly and gets late once in a while, you must try to understand their situation instead of assuming the worst, and the same goes for new clients as you should not jump to conclusions by considering them as a late-paying type.
Gather the Required Details:
So you have sent a confirmation invoice, and now you are done with giving them an easy out; it is time that you contact them, but before you do that, you should gather all the required details. Getting everything in order would ensure that you are prepared before contacting the customer; this will make you sound more confident as you have all the facts and figures at your disposal.
Some details that you must gather include the type of service date requested and provided, the amount due, extra charges due, names of the people involved, the date you sent the confirmation invoice, and how long the payment is overdue.
A Detailed Letter or Email:
After gathering all the required details, now is the time to contact your client and send them a detailed email and let them know in a professional way that their payment is late. In this email or letter, you must present all the details you have gathered so the client understands how serious the situation is; you can create templates for this, too, so your work gets easier and quicker.
Make a Phone Call:
You also might need to make a professional phone call because people hardly check their mails due to spam, and the letters often don’t reach them. Calling them would give you a better idea of the whole situation, and you would have more time to understand the client’s situation. By calling your clients, you can also take a verbal verdict for the final payment date and let them know that you want to maintain a friendly relationship with them.
Try to Be Soft:
There are many situations where the client faces some financial troubles and can’t play due to genuine reasons. These situations can be anything such as a medical emergency, sudden death in the family, or joblessness. In these tough times, you should always be soft to them and adjust according to the situation.
You can ask your customers to either pay half or cover the expenses or do anything that works for you and them; doing such things would earn you their loyalty, and they would always come to you for future ventures. However, you must always do thorough research about their situation and ensure that they aren’t fooling you.
Cut Off Future Services:
After trying everything, if the client is still not paying, it would be best to cut off future work. However, you must always stay professional and send them an email to inform them about your decision.
Contact Collection Agencies:
If a client is stubborn and made his intentions clear that he would not pay you, then you must contact collection agencies who would do the dirty work for you. The agencies might charge a lot, but it would be worth it since you would get more than half of the actual payment.
Challenge Them Legally:
If you have tried everything and nothing has worked, then you must review your legal options and challenge them in court. However, you must remember to gather all the evidence, such as documents, emails, calls, receipts, invoices, and agreements.
These were some of the most effective and professional ways to request payment for services rendered. You must follow every step carefully since these scenarios would occur more than once in your professional career.
It would also be best to prepare for such situations beforehand by protecting yourself with different techniques. It would be best to always remember to keep doing things like keeping the paperwork safe and communicating with clear intent at the beginning of any project.