Chasing an Unpaid Invoice: The Polite Way

January 13, 2024
2 mins read

Chasing an Unpaid Invoice: The Polite Way

By Business Desk

Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

There is nothing more annoying than a late invoice and trying to chase the money can feel very awkward, especially if you are hampered by your very British politeness. Asking people for money is always a bit weird, even when it is owed to you and staying calm but firm is a talent that takes time to develop.

So, if you have an unpaid invoice, and you want to get a speedy payment, here is what you need to do.

How to Prevent Late Payments

Let’s start with prevention tactics first. If you can prevent late payments then you won’t have the awkwardness of dealing with them later on.

Firstly, all invoices must show a clear date for payment. This is important because it means that people can’t string you along and you have a specific date to refer to.

If you are working on a large contract, you might even consider requesting payment (or at least half of the payment) up front. This is quite common in some industries, especially in production where the money is needed to purchase materials.

Another thing to think about is doing a little research ahead of time to make sure that your potential client is legit. Checking their credit score is a good place to start and will hopefully mean that you won’t have to run a fraud investigation later on.

Image Credit: Stock Snap

Chasing Late Payments Yourself

Sometimes a payment is late simply because your client has forgotten. This is quite a common accountancy mistake, however irritating it is for you, so you shouldn’t go in too heavy-handed just yet. Send them another copy of the invoice and inform your client that the date has now passed. Ask them to make their payment as soon as possible and then await their response.

If you don’t get anything back, you will need to call them or their accounts department to see what is going on. Again, it could just be an innocent mistake on their part, so be polite but firm that you need the payment to be made quickly.

Again, if this yields no response, you will need to up your game again. This time you should send a late payment notice and inform your client that you will start charging interest if the bill is not paid in full by a certain date. This can be risky if you don’t want to lose the client, but equally, you don’t want to work for someone who won’t pay you!

Chasing Late Payments Through Other Means

When nothing is working and you have better things to be doing – like finding new clients! – you should consider getting another agency involved. A debt collection agency could be a good option as their involvement will distance you from the problem and they will be able to handle the situation tactfully.

Finally, if your client is consistently refusing to pay, you will need to get solicitors involved to deal with the situation. Obviously, this is not a situation you want to get into but if your client isn’t playing, you don’t have much of a choice.

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