Do you want to get paid on time
Sorting out collecting in payments due to your business really is critical as you will spend far too much time chasing outstanding payments (as you may already be finding) and your cash flow may be so adversely affected your business is put in jeopardy.
To make sure you get paid on time, follow these tips below:
Decide Your Payment Terms
Decide when you want to be paid and make this clear to your client. Don’t let the client dictate to you.
Depending on your business you may decide upon 30 days payment, 14 days, immediate payment or payment up front before any work is undertaken.
And you don’t have to stick to just one payment term for all your clients. You can amend them dependent upon who you are working with.
I have used a variety of payment terms in the past (and still do).
For my freelance work with large corporations that I have a good working relationship with, I work on 14 days payment due after the work is delivered. With business advice and consultations with individuals, I work on payment up front before any meetings take place. When I run my local workshop, I allow payment on the day.
For larger projects, you may consider splitting the payments and I do this when I release one of my more expensive courses. I ask for a percentage up front followed by 3, 6 or 12 monthly payments, depending on the type of course I am delivering and its length.
It’s your business, you know your cashflow (or you should!) and you decided what works for you.
Have a Contract
Once you’ve decided what you will be providing and when and how you want payment, you need to get this all written up in a formal contract that will be agreed and signed by your client.
Clearly state the payment details, what you will deliver in return for payment and what happens if a payment is missed or late.
Personally, I add a late payment charge into my terms and conditions and make it clear this will be automatically added to the client account if payment is not received within 48 hours of the due date. I also add that all work will cease until full payments have been received. I put in an explanation that this charge is to cover administrative costs in chasing payments and for not adhering to contracted terms and conditions.
Once you have your contract written up, make sure all details are included such as your name, business name, contact details and client details. Sign it, date it, send two copies to your client and ask them to do the same before returning one to you and keeping one for their own records.
When I first did this many moons ago, I was afraid this may put off potential clients. I know realise this is one of the most sensible things I have done as if anyone does not agree with these terms, I don’t want to do business with them. Paying clients are what I want, not freeloaders.
A contract also helps should there ever be any query about a payment in the future as you can both refer back to the agreements that has been signed by both parties (yes, you must get them to sign before you start any work!)
One of the easiest ways to administer collecting payments is to use accountancy software. I personally use FreeAgent where I have all my payment terms laid out and once a contract is agreed, I create recurring invoices to be sent on due dates. It is also possible to send reminders prior to the invoice due date to remind clients to pay and to automate unpaid invoice reminders.
On each of these reminders, I highlight the fact that a late payment will be automatically added should the payment not be received. This relieves me of having to send individual emails to clients and the yucky feeling that can sometimes be felt when chasing payments. It really is a huge time saver.
After having a few late payments and introducing this system, I have only ever had one defaulter.
Below are a number of different financial software solutions for you to have a look at. There will many more out there but this is a small selection to consider. Yes, there is a cost to these but if it saves you stress and gets your payments in, it will be well worth it.
Package prices start at £19.99 + vat PCM. I heard so many good things about this that I just had to to switch to it myself and now don’t know how I ran my business without it. I just love it. If you want to use it you can get a 10% discount by using this link
A free option for just one client. Package prices start at $19.99 PCM
Pricing starts from £5 + vat PCM for sole traders. Has add-on features such as CRM.
Pricing starts from £9 PCM. A simple calculator to see which package is best for your business.
Pricing starts at £9 PCM for up to 5 invoices. Lots of add-on features
Use the tips above and save yourself time and stress of getting those much-needed payments in and make sure you get paid on time
Do you have any tips of your own on how to get paid on time? Share them in the comments box below
It’s all very well using SEO and sales funnels to drive people to your website, but what is the point if once they get there, they don’t take any action?
Not a lot really.
So many small businesses market their websites to the nth degree but fail to look at their site from a viewer’s point of view as to what message it gives and how easy it is to navigate. I have found this recently with far too many websites that I have looked at. I have been intrigued by marketing messages and followed links to sites where I have been left confused and disappointed. I can’t find the information I was expecting, links didn’t work and my interest (and trust) was rapidly lost.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from your website, check out the following points. And then get someone else to check it out for you also as a visitor. Too often we know what we are looking for with our sites and so miss the blindingly obvious (been there, done that and got the tee-shirt!)
What you do
Is it clear exactly what your business does as soon as people come to your site? It’s amazing how many sites fail to get this point effectively.
And, as a simple rule I would suggest:
- Pre-head: What problem do your ideal clients have
- Headline: How can you solve this – what big promise are you giving them
- Sub-head: Why are you different, better and easier than whatever else they’ve tried. Include here a reason for them to believe you such as a strong testimonial.
Get your core information in the fold of the website home page (the top part of the page that people see first without having to scroll down.
Make it easy for people to be able to contact you. Don’t let readers have to search around for some tiny link that can be easily missed. Make your contact details such as email and phone number prominent and obvious. It can also be worth letting viewers how long it will take for you to respond or when your working hours are.
Up to date information
So often sites have links to information that is years out of date. This is simply lazy. Either update the information or get rid of it. If you don’t, you run the danger of visitors wondering if you are still actively in business or whether you have lost heart.
Look at the following when checking to links leading to information:
- Blog posts
- Latest news
- Social media links – So often I come across links to social media pages that haven’t had a post on them for years upon years. Either update your social media channel with relevant info or remove the link – it’s one of my top bug bears!!!!
- Offers – if an offer has expired, remove it!!! You don’t want to get a viewer all excited about something you are offering only for them to discover it isn’t available anymore.
Don’t overload your home page with so much information that people get lost and confused and don’t where to go first. Speak to your ideal and their problem. Lead them off to specific pages for more information. Keep your home page simple and uncluttered so readers can see what they want quickly and clearly.
Is your site easy to navigate? This again is an area where I strongly getting someone else to check your site out for you. You may know where all the key information is but do your readers.
I was recently taking part in a mini-course on a site where I got totally confused as to where I needed to go to access the key information. Links weren’t working and it simply wasn’t obvious where to go. When I flagged this up to the site owner, they gave me instructions which resulted in clicking on no more than 4 separate links to get where I needed to be.
Really? No! One click from grabbing someone’s attention to take them where they need to be. Hasten to say, I gave up on the mini-course and won’t be making any purchase from this business as it was simply too confusing and time-consuming trying to work the site out.
If you want to make prospective buyers feel confident enough to part with their hard-earned cash and buy from you, you need to have some basics in place. It is crucial to have terms and condition on your site to inspire trust and avoid future conflicts.
These terms and conditions should include as a bare minimum:
- A clear definition of what products or services will be provided
- Payment terms – how to pay, when payment is due
- Any guarantees or warranties offered
- Delivery times and any additional delivery costs
- Returns/refund policy
- Cancellation policy
It still amazes me how many sites are missing this key information. I was going to make a purchase a while ago of a product for a present, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not find any information on how long the delivery time would be. As I needed the item for a specific date, I didn’t place the order.
As mentioned previously, once you have checked your website for all these points, go get someone else to check for you also. I offer this service to members of my Small Business Kit and give feedback as to how to improve their sites so come join up and I’ll check your site for you.