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I have Pirate FM on while writing this and I’m currently listening to Money Money Money by Abba!

“I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay

Ain’t it sad?”

It does feel like you want to give up chasing payments sometimes doesn’t it?

Something inside you starts to wonder if you will ever get paid…

The fear is that if you hassle someone too much they will not want to stay working with you, right?…

I have to say, if this is you, there are a few things to think about:

A. You deserve to get paid for the WORK you’ve done. There is no grey area here, you have worked, you’ve given a service, you have provided. So do not start having doubts about your value, EVER…

B. If a client is not paying, you should ask yourself is that the type of client you really want to work with? I wouldn’t at all. You’re wasting precious time chasing payments when you could focus on more productive things for your business, like growing it…

Now let’s look at four tips on how to get paid:

1. Get a deposit paid before you lift a finger.

Personally I always now stipulate that a 50% deposit is required for me to commence work, on anything. This is key to setting up the correct expectation in your clients mind…

You don’t have to insist on 50% like me, but you really should get started with this as a business process, believe me it will help…

I often call this a “Project Commencement Fee”..

I don’t even recall a single client objecting to this..

The thing is:

It’s crystal clear for your client, the expectation is set…

I also think it makes you appear more professional…

You get taken more seriously…

Your cash flow improves…

You will not be so out of pocket if they delay later..

I make exceptions when I have an existing customer who I know will pay, you can do this on personal basis…

BUT, I do make this a business process for all new customers…

Additionally, always firm up a payment schedule, a deadline when payment is due.

2. What’s the reason for the delay?

Communication is key, swift communication. Get on the phone and ask the customer if there is a problem, either with the service or their payment settlement…ask when you can expect it to be paid…

You can simply be honest “hello, is everything OK with the work, I’m wondering if there is an issue as I have not received payment yet”.

This usually does the trick, as often they are just so busy they shelve it and forget it..

3. Keep asking, often

The worst ting you can do is to stop asking, as some customers hope that is exactly what you will do. Don’t, stay on it. Set up a reminder in your calendar to prompt you. In fact in my own businesses I have automated invoicing software which fires out late payment reminders. Consider that for yourself, it saves me from doing anything…

A personal line does help too, perhaps a txt message…

4. Get more serious

You’ve tried the nice approach, it hasn’t worked, you’ve been considerate, and now it’s time to think about a solicitor. You will find a stern letter from a mediator or solicitor will often do the trick, and they are not that much money to get one prepared. I can recommend a good mediator if required…

You can come to arrangement on a monthly payment plan if this is the only way the customer can pay, again the mediator can help here very well…

If this is still not happening it is time for the small claims court, this is the last resort and usually avoided with the stern letter…

Don’t give up, and don’t shy away from being paid for your services, it’s never your fault…

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