Get Paid Faster

So you made a sale, delivered your products or services in a timely manner, and satisfied the client. But now, you’re waiting in vain for the payment. If you’re frustrated and a little worried about how customer payments affect your business, you’re not alone. Many businesses, especially start-ups, find getting paid by customers on time to be one of the most challenging aspects of their business. For small businesses and sole proprietors, late payments can be more than an inconvenience; they can threaten the solvency of the company itself. There are ways for businesses to speed up payments, however, and lessen the stress of overdue bills considerably. Here are some great tips to get paid faster on the next invoice you send out.

Expand Client Payment Options

One intuitive way to speed up payments is to give clients a wider array of options to pay for your products or services. If your business previously only accepted cash or checks, consider allowing credit card payments as well. You should also consider other payment types, especially if our business is online. Many consumers are used to using PayPal for Internet business transactions, it may be useful to accept these types of payments. Finally, you should also consider cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, as a form of payment as well; they are becoming more widely used and accepted in financial transactions, and would give your clients yet another way to more rapidly pay their bills.

Send Out Clear Invoices

Here is a test: give a copy of a company invoice for recently billed work to a 14 year-old kid and ask him/her to tell you how much the client owes your company, and when it’s due. If it takes a long time to get an answer, or worse, you get the wrong one, you know that you need to clean up your invoicing. Make sure that that the invoices you send out are clear, concise, and easy to understand. An invoice written in “plain English” will aid clients in more rapidly comprehending the amount due, and thus help your company obtain a faster payment. There are invoicing templates you can download that can assist you in making a bill that’s easy to read. You can also work with a company like Due, which can automate and streamline your entire invoicing process.

Incentivize Timely Payments

One of the best ways to get your clients to pay on time is to reward them for it. You can offer a minor percentage discount to clients who pay their bills ten or more days prior to the due date. This is an absolutely win-win scenario for your company as well as your clients; your company gets healthy cash flows, and your client gets the satisfaction of having saved some money on a transaction. You could also provide more indirect incentives along this line, such as rewarding clients who consistently pay their bills on a timely manner, future deals at a discount, or by providing clients who pay on time early opportunities to purchase new products or services before they are more widely available.

Leverage Mobile Platforms

As discussed with the PayPal example above, the easier you make it for clients to pay for products and services, the more likely you will get paid on time. One of the very best ways to reach clients is via their mobile platforms – the smartphones and tablets they use to conduct their personal and professional business. You can make your business more mobile friendly by sending out texts messages containing invoices, or even using apps to more readily accept mobile payments. Due, for example, offers an e-cash service that makes it extremely easy to receive payments from clients with their mobile devices. Chances are if you can get your bill to someone’s smartphone, you are going to get paid faster than you would with an invoice sent out in the mail.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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