3 Steps to get paid fast for services completed
As a small business owner, getting paid on time is one of the highest points of concern when operating your business. Whether it’s customers running overdue accounts or clients who seem reluctant to pay for a completed service, business debts can quickly accumulate and affect business cash flow.
Here are 3 steps to get paid fast for services completed.
1. Be quick to invoice
Although this may seem like a no brainer, many businesses fail to invoice promptly and wait weeks and even months to bill for products delivered or services completed.
The issue with delaying invoicing a customer or client is that it gives the impression of poor business conduct, which in turn results in a similar response in delayed payments. After all, if you aren’t in a hurry to invoice a client, why should they be in a hurry to pay you?
That said, customer and client invoices should be prepared and issued immediately upon delivery of the goods or rendered services. By being prompt with your invoices, you show clients that your operations are professional therefore avoiding any delays in cash flow.
Having a small business accounting software or a point of sale system can help making invoicing quick and easy.
2. Clear payment terms
If you want to get paid on time, make your payment terms clear and visible to your clients. Do not leave it up to the client to try and figure out your payment terms.
Avoid using unclear terms such as “payable upon receipt” as there is no specific time frame the invoice is expected to be paid. Instead, set a specific due date or a specific payment term such as “payable within 7 days”.
3. Have a clear follow up procedure for late payments
The quicker you follow up on a delayed payment, the higher your chances will be of getting paid quickly. Asset up a system for alerting you about late payments followed by a procedure of contacting your client.
There are several channels you can utilise to contact your client to follow up on a late payment of an invoice. The most effective first step is to touch base with your client via a phone call. As this is the very first step of your debt recovery process, you will want to come across as professional and polite without sounding threatening. It is possible that your client may have simply forgotten or overlooked paying the invoice and this mistake was completely unintentional.
If correspondences typically happen by way of email, use that as a first step instead followed by a phone call should emails not be effective.
Do note that if contact through email isn’t typically utilised as part of your services, you may want to avoid it as a first step as email filtering and overload may prevent your client from opening your email. The good thing about sending an email is having it clearly date stamped and easily available for record keeping.
Other methods of following up on late payment of an invoice include regular mail, fax and courier.
If you do not receive a response to your debt recovery attempts, you will have to choose between writing off the bill as a bad debt or turning the debt to a debt collection platform.
To save on costs and time, as well as keeping up to date about the entire debt recovery process, take advantage of online platforms such as DebtForce which allows small businesses to get involved in the debt recovery process in the simplest of ways.
All you have to do is lodge a debt on the platform and track its progress based on the information you provide. There are no upfront fees with DebtForce and the commissions are lower than most debt collection agencies, giving you more returns on what would have otherwise been a bad debt.