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Today a financial topic:
What to do when clients are not paying (on time)?

When making an invoice, be sure it looks professional. This is an example of my invoices:

Mention a payment due date. Somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks is common. I only mention 'please pay within 14 business days' but you could add the actual due date as well (in the case above it would be 03-21-2013).

When a client has not payed within this time, I always call them. You can also send an immediate reminder but I prefer calling them first (I mostly do this a week after the due date). It's more friendly to ask first if they have noticed the invoice is not payed yet, maybe something went wrong? (After all we're all humans who do make mistakes or are a bit forgetful now and then). Most of the time they'll pay right after your call (don't forget to tell them you received the payment to show your appreciation).

If not, then send a reminder, maybe by email (mention the phone call you made and on which date) or by post. You can mention here that if the invoice is not payed within 14 business days from the date of your email/ letter you'll have to add 10% extra for administration. After this they will most likely pay.

If not (I fortunately have never had this experience), send a new invoice (to be extra sure, you can do this by registered letter) with the extra 10% and mention that if the payment is not received within 14 business days a bailiff order shall be issued (and additional costs will be transferred to the client). And if they did not pay in time, do so.

This all sounds a bit harsh but 99% of the time the issue is solved with just a friendly informing phone call. It speaks for itself that when a client is structurally not paying, not to accept any commissions from them anymore. After all, these are not the sort of people you'd want to do business with.

But... I'd like to stress that most clients are very kind and just human like you and me who will want to pay on time, so try to be a bit 'zen' about it.

That said, have a lovely weekend!


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