How to get debtors to pay on time

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How to get debtors to pay on time

It’s vital to your cash flow to get debtors to pay on time and in full. There’s nothing more frustrating than doing a good job for a customer or a client and then waiting to get paid.

Worse, it can play havoc with your cash flow and mean that you are providing credit for your customers.

So how do you get debtors to pay on time? We’ve put together a wee list of dos and don’ts that you might just want to use to see if you are doing everything you can to get paid faster.

DO

  • Get terms and conditions drawn up by a solicitor so that you have something to enforce. If you want a recommendation to a great commercial lawyer, just ask us.
  • Set a credit limit for each of your customers.
  • Tell your customers about your terms before you begin any work or sell them a product. Get them to agree to them.
  • Ask your customers what information they require on the invoice.
  • Use Xero to invoice your clients. That way you can always track overdue invoices.
  • Restate your terms on the invoice and make them clear.
  • Use good etiquette. The use of the words “please” and “thank you” still make a difference.
  • Send invoices at the same time every time so that customers get to expect them.
  • Send statements on the first day of each month so that customers know how much is owed.
  • Include electronic payment options and perhaps credit card payments.
  • Send your invoices and statements electronically. That way it’s much easier for the recipient to load the invoice into Xero. It’s also instantaneous and the postal system is now too slow.
  • Consider incentives for prompt payment.
  • Charge interest on overdue amounts. Even if you don’t enforce it, customers will soon learn that being late isn’t a great idea.

DON’T

  • Allow any of your customers to exceed their credit limit. If they owe you money, don’t extend even more credit.
  • Never procrastinate. If you haven’t been paid within the agreed time, follow up with the customer. A reminder email can be really helpful at first. Consider using Debtor Daddy to automate the process for you.
  • Get emotional when you are chasing payment. Remember, there may be very good reasons why a customer is late in paying. Let them explain and agree a time for payment.
  • Forget to receipt payments. Customers can get a little grumpy if you send them a reminder for something that has already been paid.
  • Send an invoice to the wrong customer. Not only can it be embarrassing, it could potentially be very damaging.
  • Delay in referring an overdue debt to a collections agency before it gets too old.

There are bound to be other great ideas so please share your ideas with others below.

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