As a self-employed professional, you rely on your clients paying their invoices on time to make a living. Unlike larger businesses, which can afford to wait, solo entrepreneurs rarely have the necessary funds to cope in case of a payment delay. The last thing you want is to work for free. However, you’d be surprised to know that most clients don’t deliberately postpone the payment of your invoices. Typically, when a client doesn’t pay on time, it is a sign that your business could improve its process or even brand image. Indeed, you have to consider that your clients are not dishonest when hiring your services; if they fail to pay, there might be something you can do to help.
Because they don’t take you seriously
The first and most obvious reason for lack of payment is a lack of professional reputation. Your clients don’t take you seriously. The typical causes have to do with your equipment – especially if you’re in a sector where you interact with your clients throughout the project. If you offer home improvement services, for instance, your clients expect you to turn up in a van with your tools, so it’s fair to say that seeing arrive in an old car with a simple toolbox can be a disappointing sight. As a result, they are less likely to put your invoice at the top of the pile. Something as simple as investing in a professional-looking van such the nearly new Vauxhall vans or a second-hand vehicle can dramatically improve your reputation. It’s a good idea to add a custom uniform such as a polo with your business name.
Because you make it difficult for them to pay
Small businesses can’t afford not to take cards. If you haven’t yet made the switch, your card-paying customers are likely to lose patience. People are busy. They want to get on with their day without having to run to the cash machine because your business doesn’t accept any other payment. If you make it hard for them to pay, they might choose not to buy again or at all.
Because they forgot
Your clients have a hectic lifestyle. They might have intended to pay on time but lost track of the deadline or simply forgot. It’s where your invoicing process can make a significant difference. For a start, you should send the invoice as early as possible. If you wait too long, people may dismiss your invoice because they don’t remember what it is about. Additionally, you should always follow up the service and the invoice, as a way of capturing their feedback and also reminding them that you await their payment.
They didn’t understand payment terms
What are your payment terms? With a variety of options available, from due on receipt to 2/10 net 60, it’s easy to see how clients could get confused. A golden rule is to clarify your payment terms as early as during the first order steps. The sooner you let your clients know, the easier it will be for them to comply.
In conclusion, more often than not, you are in charge of your payments. Simple modifications, such as the purchase of a professional vehicle or the clarification of terms, can significantly influence timely payments.