When you go above, and beyond the call of duty for a client, you expect your client to pay you on time. One of the most uncomfortable and difficult situations in business is having to remind a client that they are late paying your invoice and when you can expect payment. Even more difficult is trying to ask your client for payment upfront respectfully.
Staying silent about a client that has not paid your invoice on time is not the right way to handle the situation. However, constantly asking for payment may annoy your client and ruin your relationship with them. That is why when you start a relationship with a new client, asking for full payment upfront, or at least a 50% deposit, may be the best option. This is particularly applicable in the following instances:
- When you intend to do a long-term project
- When there isn’t a contract between you and a client (note you should ALWAYS have a sales contract)
- When you are working with a new client with whom you don’t have a relationship and you do not trust
- When you are working with a client that has a mid-to-poor credit rating
With that said, here are five proven ways to transform those invoices into upfront payments (maybe not all of it, but at least some of what you’re owed).
Ask for a Deposit
One of the most effective ways of asking for money upfront is to get the client to pay a deposit. When working on a large project, it makes sense to ask for half of the money upfront and then ask for the remainder at the completion of the project. Getting a certain percentage of the money at the beginning is a good idea because you know that you will at least obtain some compensation for the work you perform. Even if the client decides to hold back on the remaining amount, you won’t be completely cheated. Also, don’t forget to take into consideration the stability of your business so that you know the minimum sum of money you need to ask for upfront
Know Your Worth
Believe it or not, many clients aren’t opposed to paying up front. In fact, 80% of clients prefer to pay the full amount upfront rather than the traditional deposit/balance method. When you ask for money upfront, you are not only giving proof that you are a professional but also because it gives the client the cost of the project upfront. A client would be happy fronting the cost rather than receiving an invoice that’s much higher than the expected amount. This is why it’s wise always to know how much your services are worth when entering into a contract with any client.
When working with a new client, there is a good chance that they’re doing due diligence and researching you and your business. This is the best time to build trust so that when you ask for upfront payment, they won’t object. For starters, you need to have a professional-looking website with samples of your work, customer testimonials, and your contact information. In addition, having a strong social media presence will go a long way in validating your public profile.
Even if you have a professional website and customer testimonials, new clients will still want reassurance that you’re not going to cheat them and run away with their money without doing any work. The best way to handle a new client’s concern about working with you is by guaranteeing that the work you plan to do will be completed by a certain date, at a specific quality level, and if you are not able to deliver on your promise, then you will give the client their money back. It also helps to be in continuous communication with the client and to provide updates on the project while maintaining a professional relationship. The leading reason why business relationships break down is the lack of communication from the vendor to their client. While your service terms and money-back guarantee may be found in your service contract, you should also include them on your website so that any client who visits your website understands your processes before hiring you.
Be Willing to Negotiate
When approached by a client, you should be willing to negotiate with them on the best way to move forward if they decide to buy from you. For instance, you may want the full amount upfront, but the client may not be happy with that. He may be willing to settle for 50 percent upfront and 50 percent at the end, or even a third at the beginning, a third during the project, and a third at the end. Additionally, willingness to negotiate may also mean accepting multiple forms of payment. Let’s say you are getting into a long-term contract with a client; you could agree on a recurring payment method where you get paid weekly or monthly.
Do you have a business client that is more than 90 days late paying you?
If YES, we can collect the money that is owed to you.
As a professional commercial debt collection agency located in Frisco, TX, Melton Norcross and Associates specializes in helping businesses collect past-due receivables.