It's that time again. You send out invoices and sit and wait, and wait, and wait for your clients to pay you. Sometimes it's a matter of cash flow on their end, sometimes they are just too busy and forget and other times it's something little that they are unsure of, but haven't found the time to contact you.
* Put terms on your invoices.
How can you be paid on time if your clients don't know what "on time" means? Whether you select "net 15", "net 30", "due on receipt", or other terms, be sure to tell your clients when to pay you.
* Accept credit cards.
This is critical in today's world and if you're not doing it, you're not getting paid as quickly as you could. I highly recommend using a Merchant Account Service such as Card Service International, but if you're not ready to do that, at least get a PayPal account. It's free and it allows anyone to pay you via credit card.
* "Request Money".
If you have a PayPal account, make it easy for your clients by sending them a "Request Money" link from your PayPal account. Your clients won't have to stop to get a check, write the check, address an envelope, stamp and mail it. They can click a few buttons and you get paid.
* Email your invoice.
Software products such as QuickBooks allow you to email directly from the software with the email address coming from you. Do this even if you have sent a PayPal funds request so your clients have the proper backup.
* Unique invoice numbers.
Make it easy for your clients by including unique invoice numbers. There's nothing worse than having your clients toss out an invoice because they think it's a duplicate.
* Be available.
Insure your contact information (or that of your accounts payable person) -- physical address, email address and phone number -- is on every invoice. If your client has a question, you want to be able to answer it quickly and the person who pays the bills may not be the person you work with.
* Invoice off cycle.
If you invoice on a regular basis and not "per project", invoice at a time other than the end of the month. At the end of the month, you're competing for your clients' cash at the same time as most other vendors.
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