Owed money by a client? Before you start threatening legal action, take a look at these 8 tips for getting your overdue invoices paid!
8. Be clear about prices and payment terms
Payment problems between agency and client usually arise from simple misunderstanding. Confusion about pricing, payment terms, services and products can quickly escalate, leading each party to develop different expectations of the other.
Before agreeing to work with a client, be sure to explicitly discuss the terms of your service. Make sure they understand the scope of the work you’re providing, and where your responsibilities end. Be clear about the costs of these services; and where different currencies and fees are involved, make sure both parties are aware of the cost implications.
7. Write-up a contract
Once you’ve discussed the details of working together, don’t shy away from creating a codified contract. A simple, jargon-free contract can help both parties to manage their expectations. A contract can also protect each party in the event of anything go wrong – including payment disputes. Don’t worry if you’ve never written-up a contract. Check out this link, and adapt the basic structure to fit your SEO agency!
6. Use accounting software
Cloud-based accounting services like FreshBooks come packed with a ton of useful features – some of which will even help you reclaim owed money. One of the more common reasons for owed payment is the simple ‘I hadn’t seen your invoice’ excuse – a problem cleverly overcome by FreshBooks. The software makes it possible to view when the client has received, opened and read your invoice, so you’ll know exactly when they’ve seen your request.
5. Meet your own deadlines
If you want prompt responses and payment from your client, it’s crucial that you lead by example. Meeting your own deadlines and completing projects to a strict schedule will set an excellent precedent. Your client will view your agency as professional and trustworthy, and they should apply a similar ethos to their own communication with you – including invoice payment.
4. Always be polite
It can be hard to keep a level-head in light of owed money – especially when you have commitments like rent to pay. With that said, the polite approach is usually the most effective tactic for getting your outstanding invoices paid.
Aggressive emails and phone calls will often alienate your client. Instead of feeling bad for owing your agency, they’ll feel validated for withholding money from that SEO jerk. Instead, firm but polite reminders of owed money will engender empathy with your client, and remind them that you’re trying to run a business just like they are. So whilst raised voices and idle threats may make you feel better, they’ll do nothing to help you get your money.
3. Send overdue reminders
Politeness needs to be accompanied by firmness. Many business owners try and avoid all conflict, and instead hope that overdue invoices will somehow resolve themselves. They won’t.
If a client owes your agency money, remind them. A firm nudge is usually all that’s required to encourage your client to make payment, serving to remind forgetful clients, and reinforce the fact that you won’t let your money slide. You’re entitled to payment, and you’re not going away until you get it.
2. Know when to quit
With that said, there may come a time when you should cut your losses and run. Whilst the vast majority of clients will pay overdue invoices, there may be a few that are intent on withholding money at all costs. As a result, you may spend more time and energy in chasing up the payment than you’d be earning from resolving the issue.
If you do choose to sever all ties with your client, remember that you aren’t powerless. Reviews of their conduct on sites like Google Plus will allow you to leave fair and honest feedback – and may just be enough to encourage your former client to change their ways.
1. Choose your clients
There’s only one way to guarantee paid invoices and an awesome working relationship – choose your clients. All businesses go through periods where financial struggles necessitate working with any client who comes knocking. However, in the longer-term, your business should slowly be able to pick and choose who it works with.
Whilst you may struggle to turn work away, doing so may be beneficial for your business. Working with awesome clients will make it easy to create truly awesome work. Your projects will see greater success, and you’ll earn a steady trickle of recommendations from your client. You’ll work with people that you enjoy working with; and in turn, your clients will love working with you. When it comes to the sticky issue of payment, your client will be more than happy to pay for a job well done – and you’ll never need to chase another invoice.