When you run a business of your own, it can be hard to keep track of all your invoices. It can also be difficult to “talk turkey” with your clients. When it comes to the sordid subject of cash, a lot of small business owners shy away from “offending” their clients, so as not to hassle with them for money owed. In other words, situation where those clients can take offence and start purchasing their products and services from someone else is avoided.
While all of the above is natural, and understandable, it does not help balance the books. In this day and age, where prompt payment through bank transfer or PayPal, are both pretty simple, there are few excuses for a client to string out payment beyond the conventionally accepted 30 day band. In fact, a lot of clients in the small to medium business world pay within a 14 day window. So if you have clients whose payments are stretched out beyond the standard 30, you have every right to send an unpaid invoice letter.
How you choose to remind non-paying clients that they owe you depends very much on circumstances. For example, if your client is a first-time offender, a simple nudge will probably get them to pay up in short order. If, on the other hand, the client in question routinely fails to pay on time, you can expect to engage in a regular series of reminders before seeing payment on those invoices.
The trick to the invoice reminder letter is simple enough. You have to remember that a request for payment of money owing to you is not an insult, nor yet should it be a problem. As long as your letter is couched in professional terms and is sent after an appropriate length of time, you can be assured that you are acting in a proper and business-like fashion.
Keep the unpaid invoice letter simple, and keep it polite. A simple statement that the invoice in question is now due for payment, plus a request for a notification when payment has been made is normally all that is required to get the ball rolling again.
If your client does not pay your invoice after the first reminder, you are within your rights to begin a campaign of increasingly frequent reminder letters. The trick here is to move sensibly from a simple reminder to a concerted effort to get the money out of them.
Start with a single unpaid invoice letter and if you have heard nothing within five working days, resend it. If you do not get a response within two days, send again, but with fresh wording, say something like “this invoice is now overdue, please pay immediately”. At this point you may begin sending invoice reminder letters on a daily basis if you feel it is appropriate. A solvent client in receipt of a stream of invoice reminder letters is likely to pay as soon as the letters become annoying enough to remember.
Recall, through the process mentioned, that your product or service has already been provided and should be paid for.