How to Move Away From Accepting Paper Checks
At this point in my freelance business, I rarely ever take paper checks from clients. Most of them either pay me online or do a direct deposit into my bank account. The only time I even consider accepting paper checks is when I don’t have a choice because the company has a specific policy about payment.
I’ve tried to stay away from paper checks on purpose. Mostly because the few clients who have paid me with a check, have left me with headaches.
Don’t get me wrong, the clients themselves were great and they paid on time. But having to wait for a check in the mail is irritating. So is having to go to the bank to deposit a check in person when the check deposit app isn’t working. Or, and this happened to me recently, having to wait two weeks for a foreign check to clear.
All of the above can lead to cash flow problems because you aren’t getting paid right away. The good news is, there are ways that you can move away from accepting paper checks.
Set a policy within your business
My clients know I don’t really take checks. I always let my clients know from the beginning about my policy on paper checks. By setting this expectation upfront, I know I have a chance of getting as many online payments as possible.
Granted, as I already mentioned, sometimes I don’t have a choice but to accept a paper check. This is usually because it’s some huge company with specific accounting policies. In those rare instances, I at least know that my bills are covered because 95% of my clients pay me online.
Find accounting software that allows for easy payment.
I once had a job where the company would type up and mail paper invoices. We then had to wait weeks as clients dodged us. They would “forget” to put the check in the mail or they would say they never got the invoice.
Online accounting software would fix this problem in a jiffy. Here are the many ways online accounting software can help you move away from accepting paper checks:
- You send invoices automatically.
- Clients can pay by clicking a button on the invoice, making it easy for them to pay you.
- You can accept credit card and e-check.
- You know when someone has viewed your invoice.
- No need to wait for a check in the mail.
- You can send automatic reminders when someone owes you money.
Online accounting software saves you time, makes life easier for everyone involved and allows you to get paid as quickly as possible.
Try moving toward automatic deposit.
Many of my clients are now paying me automatically via ACH payment each month. This usually means I don’t even have to spend as much time writing invoices because I know I’m getting X dollars and Y date.
When talking with new clients, especially if they are corporate clients, see if they are willing to pay via ACH. Many of them have forms you can fill out with your bank info or they use a specific software that allows you to get paid automatically. I have found this to be a huge time saver and a great way to make sure I’m getting paid on time.
Accepting paper checks can really slow you down and lead to cash flow issues. By incorporating these tips you can begin to move away from them and get more clients to pay you on time.