For a small business owner or freelancer there are few things more annoying to think about than how well you'd be doing if only your clients actually paid you on time. How many minutes of your day are taken up with picturing what your bank balance would be if every invoice was paid instantly?
But according to a new post up on the BPlans blog you need to daydream no longer. For the helpful piece, writer Marika Odineca speaks to Jevgenijs Novickis, co-founder of payment processing tool Swipe Gateway, who reveals that around 70 percent of the invoices sent through his company's product are paid on time.
While this boast is no doubt designed to attract more entrepreneurs to Swipe, Novices doesn't insist you need his service to get similar results. Instead, he offers Odineca a host of tips on how to tweak your invoicing to get paid faster, no matter which invoicing platform you use. Here are five of the most broadly applicable:
1. Send ASAP.
Just like the rest of us, your clients are busy and distracted. Don't give them the opportunity to forget about your great work. "If possible, send the invoice together with the last deliverable. Additionally, sending your invoice early ensures that you get the money sooner, even if your client pays late," writes Odineca, summing up Novickis' first bit of advice.
2. Shorten payment terms.
"If you need your money in four weeks, make payment terms two weeks. If you need it in two weeks, make the terms one week. Unless you are working with a big organization with monthly billing cycles, this will still seem reasonable and provide extra time buffer in case they pay late," the post also recommends.
3. Pay attention to billing cycles.
And if your client is a larger organization with a set billing cycle? Then definitely take that into consideration when you decide how to time your invoicing.
"When starting your partnership, ask your client about their billing cycle. If their accounting department pays bills once a month on the 15th, make sure you invoice them monthly around the 10th," instructs Novickis via Odineca.
4. Make it easy to pay on mobile.
"More than half of emails are first opened on a mobile device," Odineca points out. Therefore, a good invoice is easy to handle via smartphone and "will not make them copy-paste information from PDFs, fill out long forms, or deal with special file formats. Ideally, it will be a short link or button saying 'Pay here,' like Amazon's 'Buy in one click.'"
That might take a little technological doing on your part (and, unsurprisingly, Swipe, the ultimate source of this advice, provides just such a capability), but according to Novickis, the hassle is worth it.
5. Ensure your invoices are forwarding foolproof.
"How many invoices were not paid because a busy boss opened the email on their iPhone and forwarded it to accounting without attachment, while deleting their version?" asks Odineca. The answer is surely a lot.
Avoid your own invoice falling through the cracks due to a forwarding mishap by copying in accounting directly wherever possible and also providing a link to the invoice as well as an attachment.
Check out the complete post for several more tips, or share your own.
Do you have any advice on how to get clients to pay up on time?