How to Handle Non-Paying Clients? We’ve all had clients who don’t pay on time, or even at all, at one point or another. Whether it’s the result of your client suddenly going out of business or their personal finances taking a hit, this can be an extremely frustrating experience and leave you wondering how to handle non-paying clients and how to prevent these situations from happening in the future.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep this from being an ongoing problem and to ensure that you get paid as soon as possible.
How to Handle Non-Paying Clients
Collect all your quotes
Collect all your quotes and what they are for. Keep them in a safe place, and only give them out when you are sure that the client is going to be paying. You should also ask for payment upfront or at least have a payment plan.
If you’ve already delivered the service, then keep track of how much time and money was spent on it so that you can negotiate a rate for a new project with the client. There will be times where there’s nothing more you can do if the client refuses to pay, but always try to work something out.
Determine who has paid and who hasn’t
Start with the people who have not responded to your email, phone call, or text message. If you don’t hear back from them after a week or two, send them another message telling them that you are no longer willing to work for free.
Make sure that this is very clear in your language so there is no confusion. You might also want to mention that you are more than happy to work on other projects for clients that can pay upfront. If they still don’t respond, send them one last message before blocking their number from future contact.
Set expectations early on
Set expectations early on with your client. Communicate with them in advance that you require an initial deposit and ask them if they have any questions or concerns about your rates and policies. Avoid letting the client use their credit card, as this could create disputes later.
If you are working with a large company, you may want to consider a retainer agreement that is nonrefundable but allows for better planning of your time. Additionally, make sure that the client understands how much time it will take for the project.
Send an invoice at every milestone
Be upfront about your payment policy and communicate it with clients. Keep a close eye on invoices, so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises. Invoice immediately when the work is done and request payment in full.
If they don’t pay after 30 days, stop working for them until they do. After 60 days, start preparing the legal paperwork necessary to take them to court for nonpayment of services rendered. Make sure you’re protected by having a signed contract that clearly states what the terms are for nonpayment of services rendered.
Follow up consistently
Send them a message every day. Ask them how they are feeling and when they plan on paying. If they refuse to answer, then send one last email with the subject line If you do not want to talk or respond, please let me know. and tell them that if they do not reply in 3 days, then you will send their information to collections. Don’t get mad or emotional, just be firm.
- Be persistent: keep following up.
- Know your boundaries: don’t follow up more than once per day unless you need to and never over text, only through email. It is also important to have documentation of communication as well as deadlines set for payment. You can use a service like Toggl to make sure you always have time stamps of messages sent and received.
- Lastly, it is crucial to note whether or not the client is responsive or communicative about the invoice and the payment due date.
Some clients might stop communicating because they feel threatened by your persistence so be mindful of this possibility before proceeding with sending anything to collections.
Don’t provide unlimited revisions
It’s a common practice for designers to provide free or discounted services in the event that their client is unhappy with the end result. In most cases, this is a great way to show your dedication and build relationships with potential clients.
However, if you’re charging by the hour, this can quickly eat into your profit margin. Make sure you have an agreement set up before work begins so that you know what’s expected from both parties.
If a client still doesn’t pay, contact him/her. If no response, stop working.
If a client still doesn’t pay, contact him/her. If no response, stop working. Create an invoice for the amount owed and send it via email with an attached copy of the invoice and all correspondence related to payment. When sending out the invoices, provide your preferred way of being paid (PayPal, cheque or money order).
Next, set up a service alert with PayPal to notify you when the client attempts to make any sort of purchase through their account in order to be notified if they do decide to make a purchase that would cover the amount owed.
Lastly, create another invoice for what is owed as well as what is due after each month passes without being paid followed by an account cancellation request letter that includes your agreement terms and refund policy should they choose not accept it or continue non-payment.
Offer early payment discounts
Discounts for early payment are a great way to encourage clients to pay their invoices on time. By offering a discount, you’re essentially saying that you value their business and want to continue working with them. Plus, it’s a great way to keep cash flow moving. Here’s how you can offer early payment discounts:
- Offer a 10% discount if they pay the invoice within 7 days of being sent
- Offer a 15% discount if they pay the invoice within 14 days of being sent
- Offer a 20% discount if they pay the invoice within 30 days of being sent
The downside is that this will lead to more unpaid balances in your bank account, but the upside is that this will help ensure timely payments from all your clients.
Allow payment in installments
If you have an agreement with your client that they can pay you in installments, the best thing to do is to set up a contract where they agree that any late payments will incur a late fee, and if they fail to pay by the agreed date, then the service or product will be rendered null and void.
If you want it for yourself but don’t want to pay for it (e.g., because you’re a taker), this might seem like a good idea, but remember: people who take things without paying for them are stealing from someone else’s livelihood.
Charge late fees
Late payments are just one way of setting boundaries with a client. I charge a late fee if my client has not paid me after the due date (which is the day they are supposed to be billed).
The amount of the fee varies depending on how much time has passed and whether or not I can still provide them with any services. If it’s been less than 30 days since they were billed, I charge $25 per month; if it’s been more than 30 days, I charge $50 per month.
How to Approach non-paying clients
After you’ve delivered a project, it’s important to follow up with non-paying clients. Failing to follow up can give off a bad impression of your professionalism and reliability, which is why many freelance professionals use invoicing software.
An invoice is basically a request for payment from your client, so let them know what they need to do in order for you to receive your payment. Make sure to communicate clearly by using different formats such as phone calls or emails until you hear back from them.
The following are possible ways to approach non-paying clients:
- Let the Client Know You Need Payment.
- Give Them a Deadline.
- Give Them Options.
- Follow Up.
- Accept They May Never Pay.
- Get Help !
If after you have followed all these steps, you still don’t get paid then there may be other reasons why this client hasn’t paid. For example, if the client doesn’t have enough money or if they’re intentionally not paying. In these cases it’s best to get help because this problem will continue without solving it properly!
Conclusion: How to Handle Non-Paying Clients – A Comprehensive Guide
The most important thing you can do when a client doesn’t pay is to communicate with them. It’s important to be understanding and firm at the same time. You don’t want to threaten legal action or send them an angry email; that will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to come up with a payment plan that works for both of you. If that doesn’t work, then you can take legal action. But remember, communication is key.