The number one cause of business deaths in New Zealand are caused by clients who do not pay on time. Below are some proven ways to encourage clients to pay on time.
Project Deposits and instalments.
For larger projects such as website for companies. Instalments are a great way to ensure you do not run into any cash flow problems.
Here is a useful template you can use.
50% deposit paid when the contract is signed. Without the deposit do not start any work.
40% paid when designs and or plans have been approved by the client or simply when more than 50% of the work has been completed
10% paid when the project is completed and ready for the client.
It can be very difficult to ask clients for payment even before they have seen any work but remember this practice is not uncommon and you must protect your cash flow.
Net zero payment terms.
If you are a smaller business stop using “net 30 days” or even “net 7 days”, clients will always ask for more time, but it is better to simply explain to them that the payment is due upon receipt. Be upfront with your clients and make it clear to them about your payment terms. Set the expectation right at the start. If you do not do this clients can take months to pay, some clients will not pay at all because they sense your relaxed attitude towards invoices. These clients will only pay when there is a shift in your attitude.
This approach may seem hard line but that is business, if you are understanding your clients will take advantage. You are providing a service, you need to get paid. Think of it this way. Would your client wait 30 days to be paid for their own work? Would they wait 30 days to pay for their groceries? That is not how they behave nor should you.
If a client has a problem with your payment terms. Especially if it is for a small sum then this is a red flag, you should reconsider your business relationship. At times it is better to turn down a client rather then spending months and months chasing a small sum. Your time could be better used taking care of clients that do actually pay on time. Do not jeprodise your business on clients that always have excuses.
Dealing with a large corporation.
If your dealing with a large company with set payment cycles unfortunately you will not get them to break their engrained payment cycle just for you. You should instead focus on their accounts payable personnel. Get in touch with who is in charge with accounts payable and create a good relationship with that person. Go as far as sending a christmas gift to the person incharge of accounts payable, this can work wonders.
There are some out there who use paper cheques and some who only limit them self to online banking. In our connected world there are so many plat forms to trade and transfer funds. Looking into services like Pay-pal, stripe, square or e-transfer. Make it easy as possible for your clients to pay so they do not have any excuses.
Sell annual retainers
Annual retainers that are billed monthly work very well, this is a great way to lock in a client for future projects or work that they may need. This is great for clients as well since they will make micro payments rather than receive one big bill.
Hire a virtual book keeper
A virtual bookkeeper is affordable and can provide a 15%-20% increase in profit annually. A book keeper will make sure your invoices are sent out on time and a good book keeper will follow up with clients who have not paid. This is a great way to put distance between you and the client when it comes to the difficult task of debt collecting.
If you are looking for the most affordable virtual book keepers in NZ then contact us. Our annual package is only $50 pw.
Our package includes:
Accounts payable management
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Financial performance reviews
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