You are short on cash, and you have checked that you have unpaid invoices. Even though you did your part, finished your project on time, and delivered everything that client asked for, in the end, they still did not pay you.
Dealing with unpaid invoices can be tricky, and the hardest part is that you need to stay friendly and professional and still maintain a business relationship with your clients. Ultimately, in the end, you don`t want to lose your clients and receive bad feedback.
People who haven’t been freelancers or small business owners don’t know how hard it is to collect overdue invoices from clients while keeping your anger inside.
Well, today, I will share some tips on how I overcame this and calmly asked for payments:
Follow-Up As a Friend
You probably know that the follow-up is the first step when collecting payments. Of course, you need to keep it professional but also try to reach out to them as a friend.
Write something like, “Hey Steve, I hope everything is ok on your end. I plan to go on a vacation, and I noticed that invoice #119 from October 5th is past due. I was wondering if you can pay that before I go on vacation? Thanks!”
Again, everything depends on the client and the relationship you have with them; I`m sure you will not mention that you are going fishing to a client that you just started to work with.
If the friendly follow-up did not work, pick up the phone and call them. Blame and shame trigger something in the human conscience when you confront them directly.
If you call them and say that you already have followed-up regarding your payment via email and did not receive an email back, just ask when you can expect the payment.
Face to Face
Maybe you think that this is a bit too much, but hey, they are holding your money as a hostage. I recently heard that one big PR company sent their managers over the country when their invoices were overdue.
Maybe you are not a big company, but business is business, and you did your part of the work, and now, they have to send your payment, as agreed.
People can avoid emails, calls, SMS, but it`s harder not to pay a person that is standing in front of you.
You can outsource your overdue invoices to a collection company. That way, you agree to pay them a percentage of your invoices when they collect the payment.
To be honest, sometimes it is not about the money, as it is more about you and your client having agreed upon something and you delivered the work, and now, it is time for the other side to do the same.
Collecting payments is never easy. You need to take some time to see how to approach this problem, which is more and more common these days. The tips above are the most straightforward steps before you go to the second chapter and sue.
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