Many small businesses depend on a timely and guaranteed receipt of payment from customers. However, this seems to be the hardest part of being an entrepreneur. There are customers for whom paying their bills more than two months after the actual payment term is completely normal.
In any case, it is important that you do not lose track and make a professional impression on your customers, so that it becomes clear that you will not forget your invoice under any circumstances. You can do this with business software such as the digital office assistant.
The invoice is certainly the most popular letter that we write as entrepreneurs. For us, that's almost as good as an incoming payment - our bank statement. So that it stays that way, and we look forward to the bank statement even more than to the invoices, you should always pay attention to the following:
- The best thing to do is to try our Digital Office Assistant- of course for free.
- Send professional invoices.
- Accept online payments to make it easier for your customers to pay.
- Always keep an eye on your invoices and incoming payments.
If you have already implemented these rules as a standard, then take a look at our other tips:
1. Make sure that all required information is available!
Is it enough to have an invoice number or do you also need the customer's order number on the invoice? Do you also have to note which of your employees fulfilled the customer's order? Is a general summary of your performance enough for your customer or does he need a detailed breakdown? Is the customer also the recipient of the invoice or should this be sent to a different address?
Clarifying and considering these and perhaps other questions can avoid payment delays. Larger companies usually take their time with the complaint of the invoice until the regular payment order. A correction will then no longer be accepted at short notice and there will be another 30 days before payment is made.
2. Ask them to pay in advance!
One easy way to ensure you get paid up front can be to change your payment terms accordingly. Instead of agreeing to a payment within 30 days by default, you should switch to prepayment.
Inform your customers at the beginning of your cooperation or at the latest on your written offer that you expect 100% payment of your invoice before you even start work. Of course, this only works if your reputation, experience, and the trust of your customers are on your side.
When it comes to implementation, a simple "please and thank you" can make a huge difference. Good etiquette is the key to all forms of business communication, including invoices.
3. Offer a 50% (or partial) advanced payment!
There are of course customers who see a full prepayment as too great a risk. Especially with customers who have never worked with you or not so often, you could consider whether you offer a good solution for both of you.
For example, a 50/50 payment would be well-received. Your customer pays 50% and the last 50% is due for payment after delivery of your goods or service. You can of course change this regulation accordingly and offer a 70/30 or 30/70 regulation.
In this way, both receive a payment term that suits everyone - you get paid in advance and your customer still has some leeway for his doubts about non-delivery or wrong delivery of your products.
4. Escrow service!
Requesting prepayment can create hesitation and uncertainty among your customer. Especially if someone is working with you for the first time, they may not be ready to pay money even though they have not yet received any benefit.
Probably the simplest solution would be to deposit the payment into an escrow account. What is aescrow service?Essentially, an is a third party account that receives payment from your customer until you've redeemed your promise (in this case, your good or service). When your customer is satisfied with the delivery, they approve the payment and the third party transfers the money to you.
Where do you get a trustee from? You can find some offers on the Internet under escrow service.
5. Offer the 2/10, 30 net rule !!
People have always liked to be rewarded. Even if it doesn't look like much, this regulation can be a very good way to give your good and financially stable customers a discount and thus a thank-you.
The 2/10, 30 Net means nothing more than: Your company grants a 2% discount on invoices that are paid within 10 days. If payment is not received within 10 days, full payment is expected within 30 days from the date of issue.
You can of course adjust this rule and make it 5/10 or 10/10, 30 Net - discounts that we believe will encourage your customers to pay your bills faster.
6. Payment before delivery!
With this option, your customer does not have to give a leap of faith, but the goods or services are ready for dispatch or delivery and before that happens, you request your payment.
7. Electronic invoices!
In order to prevent payment delays, it can also be advantageous to send the invoice to the customer electronically (i.e. by email) instead of sending it by post.
In this way, the invoice is immediately with the invoice recipient within a few seconds or minutes and not in a few days as with the post office.
8. Digital payment options!
If you include your payment options in your electronic invoice using a link or QR code, your customer can use it to settle your bill faster and more easily. In most cases this helps to prevent payment delays.
In any case, this way you relieve your customer of any effort that they would have to put in to issue your invoice.
9. Late payment fees!
Just as you can give your customers a discount for early payment for good behavior, you can of course also punish customers with bad payment habits with a fee.
This can create the incentive not to generate any extra costs and to pay the bill on time. The default fee can also amount to 1% of the total invoice amount. The feeling that should be created is that your bill needs to be paid urgently.
You should emphasize your late payment interest or late payment fee in writing in your business contracts and also on your invoices.
10. Invoice reminder!
Another possibility would be to prepare your customers in advance for your upcoming invoice and thus the imminent payment. You can do this wonderfully with a billing reminder. You send this before you send your invoice.
This way you inform that your invoice will be sent on a certain day and will be due for payment soon. This will help your customers prepare for it and give them time to schedule payment.
11. Get rid of late payers!
They always exist. Customers who pay too late or super late - and if we are unlucky, maybe not at all at some point. Regardless of whether you offer them a discount for early payment or charge a late payment fee. They just don't seem to care. All we get are excuses or consolations, and we get even more angry.
In these cases we should all ask ourselves: do we need such customers? Are they really good for us? How much does it burden us? After all, we do our business to make a profit, not to annoy ourselves daily or to give our work away like a charity. A continuous flow of money is a high priority for us and is also vital. After all, we can only meet our obligations ourselves if our account is filled accordingly, right?
What can the digital office assistant do for you in this area?
What can the digital office assistant do for you in this area?
- Professional impression
- Automatic invoice number assignment
- Practical overview of open invoices
- Practical overview of overdue payments
- System email for your invoice reminder and payment reminder
- Digital invoices