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This is the 5th article in a 10 part series covering all aspects of getting paid as a business.
Coming up: 6. Profit & Tax, 7. Maintaining A Money Mindset, 8. Getting Paid As A Sole Trader, 9. Getting Paid As A Limited Company, 10. Saving For Tax & Your Future. Sign up to get the next article in your inbox so you don’t miss any.
Being paid is pretty damn important.
Well hello, miss obvious, is that all you have to say? Haha, yes, I know, but the thing is, sugar, being paid on time is really where it’s at.
Any company can say they’ll pay you, and up pops a payment 180 days after you did the work (or later if you’re really really lucky).
Being paid on time is the cats pajamas and it’s what you deserve. You did a job, you get paid on time. That’s it.
Let’s help you get paid on time with my top payment tips.
Enter a specific date on your invoice.
Instead of ‘pay in 30 days’, give a specific date, e.g. 25 May [year].
When does the 30 days start? The date you issued the invoice, the date they received it? Even if you specify ’30 days from invoice date’, do you want to force your client to get out a calendar?
A specific date makes it easy for your client to plan their cash flow. Payment due X date is so much simpler and easier.
It also makes it harder for a client to wiggle out of paying you on time if they’re trying to, or it’s a bigger company with departments and payment policies and employees who don’t understand your invoice means paying your mortgage.
Worse case, if your payment gets to mediation or court, there is no doubt about dates as it is stated on your invoice.
Do you have your contact and payment information clearly on your invoice?
This sounds so basic and awwwww, Rosie, that’s so stupid not to do that.
Maybe you’re new and didn’t know, maybe you changed bank account and forgot to change your invoice details, maybe you have a new baby and your brain left the building that day, maybe… well, stuff happens.
Double check you have your business name, address, email address, phone number, bank details (and/or other payment details) and any other details you need (especially for a limited company).
You’re unlikely to be paid on time if your bank details are wrong and your contact details are important for queries.
Read: Getting Paid: Starting A Business for more on invoice information
Download: Get a free invoice template here
So simple this sounds and so simple to mess up.
Make sure you invoice the right person at the right company.
Then make sure your invoice is sent to the right person at the right company (which may not the same person or company on your invoice).
I appreciate this sounds complicated and doesn’t happen in real life, but it happens regularly to my clients. Company X hires you but Company Y pays. Company X hires you and Company Y and Company Z are sponsors and you need to invoice them both. Following all this up takes time and attention, so up your fee if necessary.
The time spent following up a late invoice when it turns out the wrong person has it, well, it can be a long time. You can be paid very late by the time your beloved invoice has been emailed from one disinterested employee to another.
A quick check is well worth it.
When you’re full of the joys of spring, it’s usually fine when you send your invoice.
Enter email, done.
When you’re tired, stressed, or otherwise not at full par, it’s best to double, or triple check, the address you’re sending your invoice to.
First, that is is the correct email address, and second, that a similar email address doesn’t pop up and you send it to that one by mistake.
It’s easy done to make a mistake, delays your payment, and you don’t want your invoice going to your mad uncle rather than your client’s accounts department.
Some client’s require you to fill in paperwork before you can invoice them.
New supplier forms, another round of digging out your UTR, that kind of thing. It’s all part of business.
Do their paperwork quickly and accurately, like you want them to pay you. Professionally.
After all, you wouldn’t like them to drag their heels paying you, so don’t drag your heels doing their admin.
Send a reminder before your payment is due.
It’s easy to forget, things get swept up in busy-ness, emails get lost, accidentally deleted, things happen.
A quick reminder email helps your client pay you on time.
Rosie’s Top Tip: This is a perfect task to outsource to a virtual assistant (VA) or accounting software
Resources: How To Do Your Tax Return course has a module on outsourcing
Emma Ward of The Freelance Lifestyle has a top tip for getting paid on time.
She offers a small discount for prompt payment of her invoices.
A way of doing this without earning less money is to increase your prices to new clients and start the discount with them.
You could even raise your prices by more than the discount 🙂
My biggest tip is to be professional.
Be polite, firm, unemotional and unapologetic.
Invoice promptly, answer payment queries promptly, have a payment system in place.
This can be a work in progress (and I’ll include myself in this) so practice self-compassion if you aren’t as good as you want to be yet.
Did I mention cake yet? No?
Let’s have some cookies.
COOKIE COOKIE COOKIE!
Being paid on time makes a lot of difference to a business.
One of the biggest fears people have when starting a business is being paid and it stops them making the change from their job or starting a part time business.
Don’t let that happen to you and your dreams.
The most important action you can take is to get started.
If you want support with understanding all this getting paid business, what’s right for you and a safe space to ask as many silly questions as you want, have a look at my sole trader or limited company coaching packages.
If you want easy to understand courses and guides, have a look in my shop.
This article is part of a series about getting paid as a business.
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