Four steps to getting paid on time, every time
The Notorious B.I.G. might have been all ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’ but that’s all well and good if you’re a big pimpin’ R&B behemoth with diamonds in your grill and cash monies in the bank. But what if you’re a business owner with the cold, hard weight of responsibilities and direct debits weighing on your mind?
Whether you’re a fledgling freelancer or have been a shining beacon of self-employment for longer than you care to admit, keeping the cash flowing is key to survival. Sure, there’ll be bumps in the road, but making it rain regularly enough to pay the bills and get the beers in now and again is all about putting processes in place to reduce the risk of invoices going astray or clients doing the dirty.
Follow these four steps to getting paid on time, every time*
STEP 1 – ASSESS EVERY NEW CLIENT
The sheer joy of snagging a new client is up there with the birth of your first child, probably, but don’t get carried away; before you commit, look out for any red flags that might suggest they’re likely to pay late or, worse still, not pay at all. A quick check of Companies House will give you a bit of background in a few minutes.
STEP 2 – UP YOUR INVOICE GAME
That Word document might have served you well since you started out but part of getting paid on time comes down to being taken seriously. Professional invoicing software can be found online for as little as a few quid a month, but looking like the real deal is priceless.
STEP 3 – DON’T SCRIMP ON THE DETAILS
Nothing delays payment of an invoice like missing information and it’ll leave a sour taste in the mouth of clients with a to-do list as long as their arm if they have to chase you for things like purchase order numbers or bank details.
STEP 4 – MAKE IT TOO HARD NOT TO
The easiest way to get paid on time is to make it too hard for them not to. From the outset, find out who to address invoices to, when they need to be submitted by, what details need to be on there, what information they need from you, how they’d prefer to pay, what payment terms have been agreed, etc. Then, do all of the above every. damn. time.
*probably every time, hopefully…