A traditional 9-to-5 job has its advantages, the most significant being a steady and timely paycheck. Conversely, freelancers are often paid late, if at all. Ultimately, This drawback shouldn’t stop you from living the life of your dreams.
So what should you do to get paid on time and deal with overdue invoices effectively? In this article, you will read about tried-and-tested methods to get faster. Let’s take a look at the three ways to remind someone to pay you.
Three Ways to Remind Someone to Pay You
Freelancers usually rely on the three ways to send invoice payment reminders — email, phone, and in-person meetings. Let’s review them and find the best option for your case.
1. Via Email
Email remains one of the most conventional remote work tools to remind clients about unpaid invoices. Here is how you usually use it. Once a due date for paying an invoice has passed, you should write a well-thought-out message to a client reminding them to pay your invoice.
It often works, but it takes so much time when you do it manually. Also, you must remember invoice due dates — you can set up reminders in your calendar. But — wait! There is a much easier way to do it all.
When sending an invoice reminder email, ensure you send it to the correct email address. You can also automate the whole process with invoicing software. Most invoicing tools have automated reminders to send before an invoice's due date (to remind clients the due date is approaching) or after a due date has passed.
Setting up automated reminders shouldn’t take you longer than a few minutes. However, finding the right words to include can take more time. Don’t bother yourself with making up your template, but use the ones that work below.
Invoice Reminder Email Template — Before the Due Date
Dear [Your client’s first name],
I hope that this email finds you well. I am writing to follow up on invoice [invoice reference number], totaling [invoice amount], sent on [date sent initial invoice].
This invoice is due for payment on [invoice due date]. Please could you kindly confirm receipt of this invoice and advise as to whether payment has been scheduled.
I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference. If you require any further information, please let me know.
[Your phone number]
Invoice Reminder Email Template — After the Due Date
Dear [Recipient’s first name],
I hope this email finds you well. I just wanted to drop you a note to remind you that invoice [invoice number], totaling [the amount on the invoice], is now overdue. I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference.
I would appreciate an update on the status of my payment and when I should expect to receive compensation as soon as possible. If there are any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via [Phone no., email, etc.].
[Your phone number]
2. Via Phone
Calling them can be the next step when email doesn’t work, and your client hasn’t paid yet. You can do both simultaneously as a follow-up — first, send an email, and then, if you don’t receive a response, follow up by calling their office.
The reasons why phone calls work are simple. When reading an email, a client has time to think of a clever response, but when they are called, they must respond immediately. This way, they are forced to disclose a genuine reason for not paying an invoice.
Use email opens and responses as a part of intent data — opening an email but not responding for a few days can signal you to start calling your client.
Phone calls also introduce a sense of urgency. When asked in person, your client is more likely to prioritize your inquiry and will pay your invoice right away.
So what should be your action plan when you want to make a phone call? Remember to prepare — find a phone number, write a script, and keep the overdue invoice for quick reference.
Let’s start with the first one — finding a phone number. You can locate a phone number in the email footer (if you were in email communication with your client before). Another way to find the correct phone number is by searching your client’s website.
When you are ready to dial the number, you should also have a script to follow. You can use this one (modify it slightly for your needs):
Your client will likely respond by saying everything is fine (or connect you with a better contact person). After you hear a positive response, you should proceed with a more detailed description and can say the following:
That is wonderful! I have reviewed my records recently and found out the invoice for the service hasn’t been paid yet. Have you faced any difficulties when performing the payment? Could you please let me know when I can expect the payment?
If your client has forgotten to pay the invoice, they will immediately pay you. But it also can happen that the reason behind missing the payment was different.
You might want to ask follow-up questions to find out why your client hasn’t paid yet and suggest another deadline for paying the invoice. Your script can be as follows:
“I am sorry to h ar that. When do you think you could pay the invoice? Let’s think of a solution together.”
Later, you can ask your client to write you a confirmation email with a declaration to pay it within the agreed timeframe.
But what if the client doesn’t respond to a phone call? There is an alternative — meeting a client in person.
3. In Person
Meeting your clients in person can be an excellent reminder of unpaid invoices, especially if such instances repeat. Usually, you should schedule regular catch-ups with clients— lunches, in-office meetings, or video calls.
Use your catch-ups to remind about due payments — don’t make it a big deal, but rather make it sound like a kind reminder after everything else has been discussed. Reminding clients to pay before an invoice due date can reduce your waiting time for the payment (especially if the main reason for delays is their forgetfulness).
If they have more serious reasons for not settling the payment, you can quickly figure out a way to make payments more manageable. For example, you can suggest paying in installments or finding another compromise.
Keeping your communication line and supporting clients in being transparent will save you time and effort in regaining money.
Good Practices to Collect Payments on Time
So you know how to remind clients to pay you once an invoice is overdue or is close to the due date. Although confrontation is difficult, following up with clients and ensuring payment is paramount. Work deserves pay!
Here, you can find tips that will help you receive money on time or even before you start working on the project.
Collect Upfront Payments
Established companies often require upfront payment of up to 100% of the amount stated on the invoice to improve their c sh flow. Why can’t you do it as a freelancer?
Make an experiment — ask clients to pay at least 25% of the amount before you start work. You will be surprised that most of them will agree to send a payment earlier.
Start working on the project only when you have received at least a part of the payment.
Thank your clients for paying you on time. Showing some gratitude creates a positive impression and reinforces their actions.
Your clients will feel more incentivized to remember your invoices. You can send a thank you invoice by email or a handwritten letter by traditional post.
Incentivize Early Payments
Some clients are used to being late with payments. But what if you create powerful incentives for them to remember to do it on time? For example, you could give a small discount on prices performed a week before the due date or upfront.
If you are using WordPress, install useful WP plugins that help you automate sending an invoice reminder right from the interface.
This solution is advantageous if you work a lot with your CMS — this way, you have all your work tools in one place.
Write Short Payment Terms
Make it clear when the invoice payment is due. It’s ok to have short payment deadlines — for example, ask for a 7-day payment deadline.
You have to put the terms in a visible place on your invoice template, so a client can easily refer to it when scheduling a payment.
Offer Multiple Payment Options
Sometimes, payments are delayed because clients can’t perform a payment (they don’t use a payment provider you are using). In these cases, it’s worth talking to your clients to find out their preferred way to pay and make sure you offer them.
Delayed payments and unstable cash flow are the issues freelancers have to deal with every day. Finding effective ways to influence clients’ payment habits can save you time and effort. So here you go — you have got some tried-and-tested techniques and scripts you can use to get paid faster. It’s time to test them out with your next invoice.