Getting paid can be one of the hardest parts of doing business as a freelancer, consultant or business owner in general. It can actually cost you time and money to get paid if you have clients that are tough to deal with. Although experience is the key to any aspect of a smooth running business, there are several things you can do to ensure you have stress free income, coming from clients who you have performed work for.
Six tips that will help make sure you get paid
Rapport– Having good rapport with your clients is one of the most important factors to getting paid. When you have good relationships with clients, they are far more likely to want to keep that relationship amicable which will often increase their odds of ensuring timely payment. If they do not like you it will be easier for them to make excuses as to why they should not pay you or cannot pay you. That old saying “the customer is always right” was probably written by someone who has dealt with clients who do not pay on time!
Eliminate Excuses– This means delivering a good product to your clients. Make sure you keep your promises and are always on time. Keeping things tip top will ensure there is no room for excuses from your clients. Never give them the opportunity to say “we didn’t get your delivery on time” or “this month’s shipment was short” for example. This can be painstaking with the amount of record keeping it takes to keep a large business on course, but it will be worth it to have peace of mind and the ability to show your clients exactly what you are doing right.
Contracts– There is little in the business world that has as much leverage as a contract. Get one signed by your clients and they will feel much more obligated to pay on time. The other obvious advantage to having a contract is in the case that if they don’t pay, now you have solid evidence for yourself. Contracts also open the opportunity to setup automatic payments which can be extremely beneficial to getting paid on time.
Invoicing- Most companies need a physical or digital invoice before their accounts payable department will cut you a check or submit payment online for
the record keeping purposes. This makes it important to invoice quickly, yet many small business owners delay. There are many software and other solutions, including our own, that will provide both invoice tracking and invoice sending so that you can invoice quickly.
Let Clients Know How Important You Are– You should let them know how important you both are in providing and receiving a product or service. Your relationship is mutually beneficial. Disguised as a customer service call or visit, let your clients know you are important to them, as this can be very effective. Subtly let them know that your product or service is a crucial part of their own success, but make sure you are saying this in a ‘thanks for your business’ kind of way. This can take practice and some people (especially salesmen) are better at it than others. This might be something left to your customer service reps or your managers even. Either way, dropping in from time to time may be enough to make sure you get paid and solidify your mutual needs and feeling of appreciation.
Use a Credit Check– Although not always ideal, if you are concerned about a potential client, a credit check can either affirm or put to sleep some of those concerns. Knowing your clients before you do business with them can eradicate many problems that can pop up in the future. If they have a poor track record up to this point it is likely you will have to chase your money at some point. You may also be able to search online to see reviews about the company or client to know who you are dealing with before you start any type of business relationship.
Author: Bryan Conte is the Co-Founder of Webdigia, an SEO company that provides internet marketing solutions and website management for freelancers, consultants and varying size businesses from around the world.