Getting paid on time: how to stop customers paying late
I’ve been asked for advice on why companies pay late. This something every company should avoid doing, it ruins reputations, can lead to ccjs and even bankruptcy.
Sometimes paying late is unavoidable but most of the time it isn’t. Below I’ve listed the most common excuses people give for late payment.
- We’ve not received the invoice.
- There’s an issue so I can’t pay.
- You haven’t quoted a Purchase Order number.
- I can’t pay you right now, I have to pay my HMRC bill.
- My director isn’t in so no-one can sign the cheque.
How many times have you heard these? They are also it’s a really simple one to avoid.
Pick up the phone a couple of days after you sent the invoice and ask the accounts department contact (you should always have one of these) if they have received it, or are Royal Mail being slow or has their spam eaten it? Reason 1 GONE.
Ascertain what that issue is, resolve it and ask for a payment date.
By getting the correct information from your contact at the start of your negotiations as well as forming a relationship with their accounts payable person, you will know one is needed and have got the Purchase Order Number before you begin work.
Sometimes smaller companies can’t pay you on your due date, providing you are aware of the situation you can work together with them and work out a payment plan you are happy with.
Seriously this day in age who stills pays by cheque? Ask then to pay by BACS, Direct Debit, Standing Order, if it is a small amount and your local, offer to go and collect the cash they could take it out of petty cash, or pay you Postal Order if it isn’t sensible for you to drive there to get paid.
Why not share with me your other most common excuses for late payment. Between us I’m sure we can bust or work round 90% of them.