As an independent contractor, it’s not enough to invoice for the work you’re doing. You also have to make sure that your invoices get paid. In the best of all possible worlds, all of your clients pay on time. But what if they don’t? At the […]

As an independent contractor, it’s not enough to invoice for the work you’re doing. You also have to make sure that your invoices get paid. In the best of all possible worlds, all of your clients pay on time. But what if they don’t?

At the very least, you need to keep track of the date that your invoices are due, and remind clients when they’re late. But when do you send the reminder? Some people advocate waiting just one day and then emailing or calling; others give a week or two weeks’ grace period. Others, even more hard-core about getting paid (or more badly burned in the past) issue proactive reminders: notes one and two weeks before an invoice is due, to make sure that it hasn’t been forgotten. Personally, I think that’s rather obnoxious; I’d rather move a perennially late client to shorter terms than nag everyone.

What’s your own experience with invoice reminders? Do you use a service like BlinkSale to help you automate the process? Or do you just throw late-paying clients to the wolves after a single warning?  

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  1. It’s been my experience that clients will pay when they pay and late notices don’t really bother them. I have one who consistently waits out the full 30 days before mailing payment (The used to do it at 25 days, but gradually moved later till they’re now 30). I have another who without fail waits 35 days before paying. Late fees? Good luck getting them paid. You might get that with a one time client who is late. But, otherwise, they’ll just blow them off.

    The fact is, if they always pay their bill, late or not, that’s better then the alternative.

    For the record, I send late notices at 30 days, automatically.

  2. I only have this problem with one client. Due to my laziness and the amount of money he was paying (after 40 – 120 days!) I just sent the ‘reminder’ after 30 days and again after 40 days. Right now I have enough other revenues to let him get lost… All the other clients pay in time or after a short reminder (often just per Mail). I set my reminders by checking my sent invoices once a month.

  3. I hooked into Blinksale quite awhile ago, and have been very happy with it. It allows me to send out automatic invoices on the clients I resell hosting to.

    I have one client who pays right at or a day after every month, while most others pay somewhere halfway through the month. I send out reminders on the day after due, and then once every 7 days after that. I had one client that took 90 days to pay me.(I don’t work with them anymore) I also add 2% per month late fee, but I’ve only had to claim it once.

    Basically, I keep clients who pay, and ditch ones who don’t. It’s hard to say no to a paycheck, but I’ll end up in the poor house in the long term if I keep having to wait for my money. Lord knows my own bills don’t give a hoot if my clients are paying me, so I have to.

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  5. Web Worker Daily » Archive Web Worker 101: Cashflow Management « Sunday, May 4, 2008

    [...] 3. Use terms to move payments forward. By definition, you’re not a huge business who can afford to carry a big amount in the “accounts receivable” column. But unless you tell them differently, customers will assume they have 30 days to pay. Negotiate your terms up front: most clients will go for 15 days without much fuss. You might also want to offer a small discount (2%) for payment when the invoice is received. Be sure to create invoices that will help you get paid promptly, and don’t be afraid to send invoice reminders. [...]

  6. 7Techniques.com Fraud Company Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    There would be time when no amount of reminders would help you getting your money from the client(s).

    Some just make excuses saying “I’m in real mess and just waiting for my cheques to clear and would pay you instantly”. And this excuse can get repetitive every month until you feel like killing this client.

    Some clients would go to the extent of avoid chatting with you and would – just in case you catch them at the wrong time- pretent to be someone who knows the client (wife/frriend/colleague etc) and surprisingly they echo the same lame excuse of being in real mess.

    This is my live experience and thus a real story.

    I have not received the payments eveb after 4 Months.

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