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How to Never Get Paid Late From Clients

Updated on January 17th, 2022

We know that late payments can happen sometimes when you’re a freelancer or running a business. However, you don’t have to accept this as the norm.

Late payments can disrupt your cash flow and also cost you to spend unnecessary time and energy following up and trying to track the paper trail. Want to know how to never get paid late from clients?

While we can’t guarantee that each of your clients will never pay you late, these tips will help give you a 99% success rate when you combine the different strategies.

Read Through the Invoicing Directions Thoroughly

Sometimes, you may be getting paid late because you didn’t follow the invoicing directions that your client laid out. Some people like to send payments on certain days of the month/week for accounting purposes.

When you don’t send your invoice on-time, it could delay your payment. If payment instructions are listed in your contact or your client sent you an email, be sure to read it through in detail and make sure you understand the procedures.

Make It Easy to Pay

As humans, we search for convenient ways to navigate through our lives daily. While clients should be paying you on-time for your services no matter what, you can help make the process easier with modern invoicing software.

Invoicing software is great to use to track your payments and monitor your cash flow, but it’s also helpful for clients. Some programs allow you to accept multiple different forms of payment. That way, clients can pay via PayPal, via credit or debit card, or use another digital wallet payment tool.

Send Early and Automate Follow Ups

If you know you need to have money in your account by a certain day each month, make sure you’re invoicing ahead of time. For example, if you know what your rent is due on the 1st, invoicing on the 30th of each month seems kind of risky.

Set expectations with the client ahead of time and assign a clear payment due date on the invoice. Then, use your invoicing and payment system to automatically send follow-ups so you don’t have to.

Accept Payment Before You Work

It’s not unheard of to bill for work before you start. A lot of freelancers are doing this these days and I don’t blame them. This is one of the best ways to guarantee that clients pay you on-time.

Just make sure you set guidelines to specify when they should expect the finished product.

Attach a Late Fee

I don’t think anyone likes paying late fees. I take drum lessons and the company sends me invoices each month along with reminders. Sometimes I get busy throughout the month and forget about the invoice. Once it’s due, I get an email reminder that I should pay soon or get charged a late fee.

This helps motivate me to get better with making timely payments. Late fees are a waste of money and clients know that so include some terms in your contract to ensure they pay on-time.

Don’t Work With Flaky Clients

If you’re a freelancer, you do have the power to choose who you work with. If you have a client who never pays on time it may be time to let them go.

You don’t need the extra burden of chasing after payments. When you eliminate these clients from your roster, you free up more room and availability to work with quality clients who communicate well and pay on-time.


Waiting on payments is never fun. Again, this doesn’t have to be your reality. It all starts with setting up expectations early on, communicating clearly with clients, and using the right tools.

Choncé Maddox

Choncé Maddox

Choncé Maddox is a debt expert. She helps ambitious millennials and Generation Z get our of the mounds of debt they are in following college. In 2015 she realized she couldn’t afford to do her own laundry, she was so broke. She had to make a change. Over the next three years she personally tackled $50,000 in debt and became debt free. She teaches others her passion since.

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