It’s no secret that getting your clients to pay you on time can often be a real struggle. Not getting payments on time can be damaging to a small business. Not only does it affect your cash flow plan, but it causes frustration between your business and your recurring customer relationships. The good news is there are some simple strategies that you and your business can incorporate in order to effectively get your clients to pay you faster.

1. Set your payment expectations early

Get things off on the right foot with your clients by ensuring they understand your payment expectations from day one. Setting these expectations will make sure you don’t give them any hidden surprises or excuses not to pay you on time. Send them through their payment schedule, and make it crystal clear to them when they need to pay by, and how much.

It is important to ensure that you send through gentle reminders about upcoming payments to continue to ensure that you keep their expectations in check. Remember, your clients are busy too and can easily forget the due date of their next payment. Keeping the communication standard high with your clients sends them the message that to receive your services, they need to respectfully pay on time.

2. Get to know your clients

It sounds simple, but double check that your invoices are actually going to the right person. To save a significant amount of stress, take a few minutes to discuss with your client when they are agreeing to work with you who will be making the payments going forward. Ensure you establish a great relationship with the person responsible for these payments. It will make you feel more comfortable to send a quick reminder when a payment is missed and ensure you get your money faster.

Make it easy for them to pay you. There are many excellent tools available that can help collect payments more efficiently. Where possible, welcome upfront payments as this will ensure there are no issues with payment down the track. If you know your client may be having cash flow issues, speak to them about debtor finance solutions, which will help them to free up tied cash and grow their business more quickly.

3. Don’t forget to follow up

As mentioned earlier, your clients are busy and it’s likely that they’ve overlooked a payment if they didn’t make it. Get in the habit of sending through a friendly reminder to follow up any payments that have been missed after a few days. Keep a calendar to ensure you are on top of any missed payments, and frequently follow up until they are paid. Don’t be hesitant to send reminders, you’ll find that clients don’t mind a gentle follow up as it demonstrates your businesses ability to act professionally.

4. Reward your clients

It’s no secret that people like to be rewarded. Offering an incentive for quick payments will not only speed up the process, but it will build customer loyalty. Look into offering an incentive around your product or service. It could be allowing them access to an additional tool or feature, a discount, or a free week of service. Clients are far more likely to pay on time and continue to come back if they are rewarded. It will put you ahead of your competitors too.