Here’s how to remind someone to pay you and ensure you actually get paid. Use our 7 tips and examples to ask politely and ensure you’re paid on time.
While nobody likes to chase after their clients to get paid, it can be a natural part of running a business.
Learning how to remind someone to pay you is key to ensuring positive cash flow, successful projects, revenue growth, and good client relationships.
With the right tools and strategies, you can also take much of the work off your plate when it comes to chasing down payments. With automatic reminders and online invoices, it’s easier than ever now to get paid faster.
Here’s how to communicate with someone who owes you money so you can feel less stressed about collecting payments.
- Include payment details up front
- Schedule payment reminder messages
- Send payment reminders that are personalized and automated
- Offer multiple payment options
- Try a phone call
- Remember to politely remind your client to pay
- Refer to your contract details
- Examples of kind reminders for payment
- Use the right tools to avoid late payments
1. Include all the payment details up front
The best way to get paid is to avoid the need to hound your clients in the first place. When it’s time for your client to pay their first invoice, make sure you’re providing the entire payment plan upfront.
Often time, people simply forget due dates–it’s not that they’re trying to avoid paying you.
Within your invoice, include the following details and payment terms:
- Invoice number
- Due date
- Remaining balance
- Additional due dates
- Late payment policy and any associated fees
As soon as you send your first invoice, be sure to confirm with your client that they’ve received it. If they have any questions, you can take the time to answer those at the start of the project before you get into it and more payments are due.
2. Schedule payment reminder messages
The best way to remind your clients to pay an invoice is to send them a series of payment reminder emails.
Unfortunately, if you have a lot of clients, the time it takes to send dozens of payment reminder messages will add up quickly.
By using a payment reminder software like HoneyBook, you can make your life much easier by automating email templates to send out on a predetermined schedule. For example, you can send a polite email reminder for payment a week before the invoice is due, on the day the invoice is due, and two days after it’s due if the client still hasn’t paid.
Setting up a series of payment reminders can feel like overkill at first, but in most cases, your clients will appreciate the reminders—especially if the reminders provide them with a link to pay the invoice immediately with an online payment software.
Include the following information in your payment reminders:
- Use clear subject lines
- Re-attach the original invoice
- Write in a friendly tone, even if payments are late
- Make the payment due date clear, and reiterate the payment terms they agreed to
- Remind them how they can pay, and list the payment methods you offer
- Provide clear details of the work they’re paying for
Once the client’s payment is late, you can also include your late payment terms —but don’t sound too threatening.
3. Send payment reminders that are personalized and automated
If you’re automating emails, you might feel like they can come across too stiff or impersonal. But, you can easily have the best of both worlds with reminders that are both personalized and automated, so they still take work off your plate.
Try an email system or automation software that lets you incorporate your brand. With HoneyBook, for example, you can implement your personal email signature and branded headers that you might use.
When you’re setting up your payment reminders, write in your natural voice and tone. Personalization doesn’t have to mean every single email is unique–it just means you’re still adding your personal touch while relying on automation.
If you’re still worried, you can choose to approve your automated reminders before they send. You’ll get a notification that they’re ready to go, giving you the time to update them with any specific details for your client.
4. Offer multiple payment options
When your client’s payment is due, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to pay. Always give your clients the benefit of the doubt. Everyone has a lot going on, so a late payment could just mean they’re confused about how to pay.
Provide a seamless payment experience by offering multiple online payment methods, linked directly from your online invoice. With a payment processor that includes invoice templates, you can offer credit and debit card payments as well as ACH payment processing.
If your clients have to track down their checkbooks or pay via cash, you’re more likely to deal with an outstanding invoice.
5. Try a phone call
If emails aren’t working, it’s time to pick up the phone. Sometimes, a two-minute phone call is all it takes to get a payment issue resolved.
When calling your client:
- Introduce yourself (if needed)
- Clarify you’re calling about a late payment
- Speak clearly and professionally
- Give your client the benefit of the doubt
- Be polite (even if your client isn’t)
- Summarize what was agreed to on the call before hanging up
Try to avoid asking why the payment is late, but you can offer to provide any additional information needed to make the payment happen.
6. Remember to politely remind your client to pay
Keep in mind that your client most likely isn’t trying to swindle you. Your goal is to get paid as soon as possible and move forward with your project, not sacrifice a client relationship.
Whether you’re scheduling automated reminders, hopping on the phone, or texting with your clients, stay personable and polite.
You can use these payment reminder examples that incorporate professional yet polite language, but be sure to incorporate your personality to make sure they sound natural as well.
7. Refer to your contract details
If your clients aren’t responding or aren’t working with you to make their payment, it’s time to refer to your contract details.
Your late payment policy should include a timeline of late payment fees, interest applied to overdue payments, suspension of services, and cancellation.
For instance, your late fees might apply after an invoice is 7 days overdue. From there, you may suspend services and apply interest to the late payment for 30 days. After 30 days, you can reserve the right to cancel your client’s contract. You can adjust this timeline as needed, but these terms can help you protect your business.
As you remind your client to pay, remind them about these late payment terms as well. Once you hit certain milestones, you’re well within your rights to withhold services, as long as it’s in your contract.
At this point, you still want to keep your communications professional, and simply stick to the terms of your contract.
Examples of kind reminders for payment
As mentioned above, it’s best to send your client a series of payment reminder messages encouraging them to pay on time rather than waiting until the payment is already late.
For example, you could send payment reminders:
- One week before payment is due
- On the payment due date
- Two days after payment is due
- One week after payment is due
Here are a few payment reminder message templates you can send to your clients:
Upcoming payment reminder
Here’s an example email sent one week in advance:
Upcoming Payment Reminder
I hope you’re doing well! This is a friendly reminder that invoice #25, totaling $1,234, is due for payment on October 25th—one week from today.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the invoice or payment details.
Due date payment reminder
If you need to send a payment reminder on the due date, you’ll want to include more details to make it easier for the client to pay you:
Due Date Reminder
Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #25 – Due Today
Hope you’re doing well. This is a reminder that invoice #25 is due for payment today (October 25th).
To remind you of the details:
Project name: Blog posts
Due date: 10/25/2020
I’ve reattached the invoice for your convenience. Payment can be made by direct deposit, bank transfer, or check.
Late payment reminder
If the payment is late, you can use a more stern tone while still staying neutral and friendly. If applicable, you may want to include any consequences of late payments.
Late Payment Reminder
Subject: Payment Reminder: Invoice #25 – One Week Overdue
As per my email reminders, payment for invoice #25, totaling $1,234, is one week overdue. I’ve reattached the invoice for your convenience. Payment can be made by direct deposit, bank transfer, or check.
Please note that a 5% late fee will be applied if the payment is not made within the next 2 business days.
As always, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!
Use the right tools to avoid late payments
Instead of remembering how to remind someone to pay you, it’s better to avoid it altogether. Luckily, it’s entirely possible when you have the right tools.
Usually, clients forget to pay you because they forget the due date, it isn’t easy to pay, or they simply aren’t a great fit anymore.
Using HoneyBook’s clientflow management platform, you can always ensure you get paid. Use file templates that help you evaluate your leads and ensure they’re a good fit for your services. From there, send online contracts and invoices in the same file so clients always have to agree to your payment terms before signing and paying upfront.
With branded invoice templates, you can always include your project’s payment schedule and apply automated payment reminders for recurring payments.