As a business person, you've most likely gotten your company's finances down to a science. You understand exactly how to make a statement of account, and you deliver it out as soon as you finish a job.
Regardless of your organization, it is almost unavoidable that some of your clients will fail to pay their dues on time.
When that day tends to come, you'll probably be wondering how to send a payment notice in a professional manner.
If a client fails to pay you on time, you may be tempted to ignore the problem in order to avoid a confrontation.
On the other end of the scale, you may feel compelled to be overly harsh when sending that late payment email notification.
These five professional payment reminder email layouts will help you feel in control of your delayed payment if you need to escalate to red-alert designation, hopefully, get you your balance due.
If delivering missed payments reminder emails still makes you uncomfortable, we'll show you these few other late payment alternatives.
Consider invoice financing if late payments are trying to intimidate your company's cash flow and you need a quick solution.
How to Ask for Overdue Payments: 5 Email Templates to Follow
Of course, the best practice is for your clients to send payment shortly after getting your invoice. Best practices, on the other hand, are never guaranteed.
So, if you're having to wait on a bill from a job you finished weeks ago and are concerned about a late payment, don't wait for it to happen. Send your first follow-up email the week before the payment deadline.
Since you're experiencing a late payment, you'll need to keep sending follow-up emails until your bill arrives.
Asking for delayed payment can be difficult, but the key is to vary your demeanor throughout these reminder emails.
You'll have to be respectful and firm at the same time—but depending on how late the payment is, your tone may need to lean more one way or the other.
We'll walk you through exactly what to start writing and how to send it:
1. Reminder of the First Payment One week before the deadline, send an email
Email subject: Invoice #98765 follow-up
Hello, Ryan Joe.
I hope you're doing well. This is just a friendly reminder that payment on invoice #98765, which we sent out on July 20th, is due next week.
I know you're busy, but I'd appreciate it if you could review the invoice when you have a chance. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thank you very much!
Why does this billing heads up work? Your first payment heads up should be brief, polite, and enlightening.
So no need to offend your client with irrelevant details, and you shouldn't have to request payment right away because the bill isn't due yet.
In this email, the client should understand that you track your invoices on a regular basis and will contact them if they do not send their bill on time.
2. Payment Reminder No. 2 When the payment is due, send an email with
subject: Today is the due date for Invoice #98765.
Hello, Ryan Joe.
This is just a reminder that payment on invoice #98765 (total $7,600) is due today. Payment can be made to the bank account listed on the invoice.
If you have any questions, please respond and I'll be happy to answer them.
Why this payment reminder is effective: This was among the most important emails in the sequential manner because you're writing to request your customer's first call to action to make their payment. This should be clear and concise, but the warm and respectful bill isn't technically past due yet!
3. Reminder for the Third Payment One week after the late payment was due
Subject of email: Invoice #98765 is overdue by one week.
Hello, Ryan Joe.
According to our records, we have yet to receive payment of $7,600 for Invoice #98765, which is one week overdue. I'd appreciate it if you could look into this for me.
Please disregard this notice if the payment has already been sent. And, if you've misplaced this invoice, please let me know, and I'll gladly send you a replacement.
Why this payment reminder is effective: Because this is the first email acknowledging the fact that the invoice is past due, you should start tightening up your tone.
Also provide billing information such as the invoice number, balance owed, and repayment timeline to provide an evident reminder of what the client has to pay and when they owed it.
4. Reminder of the Fourth Payment Email: Two Weeks After The Due Date Of The Late Payment
Subject of email: Invoice #10237 has been overdue for two weeks.
Hello, Ryan Joe.
I wrote to you numerous times to notify you of the $7,600 pending payment for invoice #98765. Payment was due two weeks ago, as just a reminder.
Kindly let us know whether you have any questions about this payment. In particular instance the original is missed or deleted, I've attached a copy of the invoice to this email.
Could you please respond to this message and just let me know that you received it? Thank you very much.
Why this payment works: Now it's time to get more specific. In this email, you should clearly request payment and request confirmation from the client that they got the message. That way, they'll have one less reason to disregard your email.
5. Reminder of the Fifth and Final Payment One Month After a Late Payment Was Due Email subject: Invoice #98765 from July 20th is past due; please send payment as soon as possible.
Hello, Ryan Joe.
This is a reminder that I still haven't received the $5,400 company owes on invoice #10237. Take note that, according to my terms, I may start charging you additional interest if your payment is received more than 30 days after it is due.
Please contact me again if you have any queries about this payment. Otherwise, please arrange for immediate payment of this invoice.
Thank you very much,
Why this payment reminder is effective: After a month has passed and several attempts to contact the customer have been ignored, you have the right to be more aggressive in reclaiming your compensation.
But don't let it become too personal. Making argumentative statements to your client reflects poorly on your professional conduct.
How to Prevent Late Payments in the First Place
Apply these invoicing tips right away, as they would save you from late payments later on.
Be truthful: If you're worried about the possibility of late payments, gently inform your client of your repayment terms before or shortly after signing on for a job.
You won't have to rely on the fact that your customer will (carefully) read your repayment terms when they receive their first invoice.
Be specific about your specified timeframe: On their invoices, company owners frequently write "Due upon receipt" as one‘s repayment plans.
But that's a little ambiguous, and it tends to leave far too much room for your clients to misinterpret. Instead, clearly state your repayment timeline in days, such as "due 30 days after receiving."
Start charging interest on delayed payment: Just as you are subject to interest charges on late business credit card payments, your customers can be held financially liable for failing to pay you on time.
In your invoice, clearly state the conditions of your interest costs. If you're unsure what to charge for late payments, start by researching best practices for including finance charges on your invoice.
It also helps to prevent late payments if you submit your invoice to your customer as soon as you finish a job. Customers will be more likely to pay you on time if your products or services are still fresh in their minds.
Another suggestion is to offer early payment discounts to your clients. When your payment is received early, give them a small discount, such as 1% off.
This may not appear to be much, but it could be just what your clients need to get them to pay.
It can be difficult to maintain your composure if your invoice payment is past due. After all, "doing business" entails more than just doing a good job.
It also entails getting timely compensation for your efforts. So, if you don't start receiving that compensation, you have every right to be thorough in tracking it down.
However, take note that late payments are hardly ever a sign of disrespect. Most of the time, delinquent clients have been busy, preoccupied, or dealing with an overfilled email inbox and have ended up losing or forgotten about your invoice.
So, even if you're sending an early reminder about an upcoming payment timeframe or checking in on the situation of a weeks-late invoice payment, keep in mind that both you and your client are humans.
And, of course, humans make mistakes! Keep up that attitude even if you need to be more aggressive in trying to reclaim your compensation.