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Cash Flow

5 Tips to Get Clients to Pay on Time

Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
2 min read

Don’t get stuck in a holding pattern because of late payments from customers. Keep your cash flowing by maintaining both your client relationships -- and your sanity.

Create a payment calendar. For large jobs, don’t just send the client one big bill at the end of the project. Instead, map out when you'll hit specific milestones. Once that calendar is mutually agreed upon, send the client invoices as those aspects of the work are completed. Make it a policy that you won't continue with the next step until you receive payment for the prior one – and send those invoices right away.
Read more: What to Do When Final Payment is Due and the Client Won't Pay  

Make it worth their while. If you can swing it, consider incentives to encourage your customers to pay or pay through a platform that’s most convenient to you. Small nudges can be powerful habit changers.
Read more: 5 Surefire Ways to Get Clients to Pay on Time

Be a person, not a bill. Send handwritten thank you notes to clients for big projects – and find out who cuts the checks. Being more than another piece of paperwork to the accounting department can get payments made more quickly.
Read more: 5 Ways to Get Paid Faster

Send regular reminders. Follow up by e-mail or phone two weeks before invoice deadlines. If clients miss the deadline, call them with a gentle reminder. Being professional, polite and organized will make all the difference.
Read more: 4 Strategies for Getting Paid Faster

Stand your ground. Always be upfront with your payment policies, and make sure you protect yourself legally by agreeing to payment collection terms before you get to work for your clients. You also might want to consider charging late fees. Maintain a paper trail and employ the necessary legal advice in the event there is a dispute.
Read more: 3 Tips for Designing an Invoice That Gets You Paid Promptly


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