If you wonder how do you politely ask for payment professionally, then there are multiple ways to do it. Well, in this scenario, small businesses should always word their payment requests using polite but direct language. This gives you the benefit of knowing how do you politely ask for an invoice payment? Though you first need to ensure that they received the invoice in question. Small businesses should follow up briefly by email to request payment and if the client still does not pay the outstanding invoice, the business should speak to the client by phone before considering cutting off future work for the client or taking legal action.
WHEN DO YOU POLITELY ASK FOR PAYMENT VIA EMAIL?
While thinking about how to ask for payment for services rendered, the first question you’ll likely have is how do you politely ask for payment via email? And the truth is that you shouldn’t wait too long, preferably you should send a number of shorter emails before and after the payment due date:
- The first payment reminder letter should be sent within a week before the payment due date.
- The second payment reminder letter should be mailed the day of the payment due date.
- The third payment reminder letter goes within a week after the payment due date.
- The fourth payment reminder letter should be sent two weeks after the payment due date
- And the fifth payment reminder letter should be finally emailed when the one month passes after the payment due date.
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If you send your emails in such regular intervals, you’ll remain polite and patient, but also show your clients that you are professional about your invoices and matters of payment. You’ll also show that you’re someone who values his/her work, prompting the client to value it as well.
HOW DO YOU POLITELY ASK FOR PAYMENT MORE PROFESSIONALLY?
To ask for payments professionally from your clients with unpaid bills and wondering how do you politely ask for an invoice payment, your business need to follow these steps:
CHECK THE CLIENT RECEIVED THE INVOICE
For the answer to how do you politely ask for an invoice payment, it’s important to first make sure there was no error or miscommunication about the invoice? So send a polite email to your client explaining that the payment is now past due and ask to make sure they received the initial invoice and there were no problems with it.
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SEND A BRIEF EMAIL REQUESTING PAYMENT
If you don’t hear back from the client after your first check-in or your client acknowledges that they received the invoice but you still don’t receive prompt payment, follow up with a brief, professional email. Outline the invoice due date and how many days ago it was due. Remind the client of any late fees included in your payment terms and let them know you’ll be charging them for late payment. Remind them of the different ways they can send payment and reattach the original invoice to the email before sending it to the client.
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SPEAK TO THE CLIENT BY PHONE
It may seem awkward and intimidating, but if your email requests for payment don’t succeed in getting the client to pay your invoice, the best course of action is to get your client on the phone to sort out the underlying issue. When calling, identify yourself and explain calmly and politely that you’ve followed up multiple times by email about a late payment. If possible, try to secure payment over the phone by credit card or direct transfer. If that’s not possible, get a firm commitment on the date and method of payment. Remain professional and friendly throughout the call, thanking the person for their time.
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CONSIDER CUTTING OFF FUTURE WORK
If the promise of payment that you secured by phone is not met by your client, or if you’ve had to chase down payment from this particular client several times before, you may want to consider cutting ties with the company and refusing future work. If you’ve already begun working on other projects, you may want to stop working before the project is finished, if you’re contractually able to do so. Cutting off work until you receive your payment can motivate your client to pay you quickly, so the work they’re relying on you for actually gets finished. Cutting off work can also protect you from future losses if you’re no longer confident the client is capable of or willing to pay you. Be courteous but firm when letting the client know you’re refusing further work. Explain calmly why you’re taking this step. Be aware that even if you handle this situation in a professional manner, it may upset the client and escalate tensions.
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RESEARCH COLLECTION AGENCIES
If your previous attempts at tracking down late payments are unsuccessful, you may want to escalate things further by hiring a collection agency to help you secure the payment from the client. Hiring a collection agency can be an expensive option, as they often take as much as 50 percent of the amount they collect from a debtor, but recouping some of the money can be better than getting nothing at all. Make sure you do your research and hire a reputable collection agency by checking out Better Business Bureau reviews of local agencies and by ensuring the agency is a member of the Commercial Collection Agency Association.
REVIEW YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS
If, after all your attempts, you still aren’t able to secure payment from the client and you feel like things getting out of your hands, it may be time to consider your legal options. If you have a legally binding contract in place with the client that outlines the work you were obligated to complete, the payment amount due and the deadline for payment and includes both your signatures, you have a good case for a lawsuit. For smaller outstanding invoices you can take the client to small claims court, or if the amount owing is greater, you can file a civil case against the client.
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