Steps to Take When a Client is Late with A Payment


As anyone who’s worked as an independent contractor can confirm, not all clients are equally timely when it comes to processing payments. While some clients wouldn’t dream of processing a payment late, others have no qualms about it whatsoever. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, late payments are the result of oversight and laziness as opposed to genuine malice. However, this doesn’t make them any less cumbersome for hard-working contractors. When dealing with late-paying clients, be advised that they probably aren’t going to realize their mistake without a little nudging. Of course, this isn’t to say that you should adopt an unpleasant or outright combative attitude when contacting them. For best results, utilize the following tips the next time you find yourself faced with a late payment.

Late-paying Client
Late-paying Client

Resend Your Invoice

A fair number of payments aren’t processed on time as a result of oversensitive spam filters preventing the delivery of invoices. With this in mind, make a point of immediately resending your invoice if a payment isn’t processed on the agreed-upon date. If you wish to confirm whether or not the message was received, consider flagging it prior to sending. As an added precaution, request that the recipient confirm that he or she received your message in the body of your email. Furthermore, to maintain an air of professionalism, take care to create your invoices using the free online estimate template.

Call Your Contact at the Company

In most cases, resending your invoice will do the trick, but should this fail to generate the desired results, simply get in touch with your contact at the company. Depending on how good this person is about responding to emails in a timely manner, you may want to simply call him or her. If he or she isn’t available when you call and doesn’t respond to your voicemail within 24 hours, call them again and send them an email. Repeat this process every 24 hours until you receive a response. Keep in mind that no matter how frustrated you become, it’s in your best interest to exercise caution and restraint when making your calls and composing your emails. In all likelihood, there’s a reasonable explanation for what’s happening, and giving off a combative vibe isn’t going to do you any favors with the client.

Late Payment
Late Payment

Withhold Future Work until You Receive Payment

If you don’t receive a response to your any of your inquires within one week, withhold any outstanding work until such time as you receive your payment. While it’s true that this may frustrate your client, you shouldn’t kowtow to someone who refuses to pay you on time or offer any sort of explanation as to why.

No contractor relishes having to deal with clients who don’t pay on time. Not only is contacting these individuals awkward for both parties, it’s also incredibly stressful for contractors who are worried about offending important clients. Fortunately, reaching out to late-paying clients doesn’t have to fill you with dread and/or put your professional relationships at risk. Armed with the tips discussed above, you’ll be able to collect delinquent payments without burning any professional bridges.