Quick Tip:
When a Client Is Slow to Pay

If you have a client who's slow to pay, you have every right to ask, "What's up?" But you want to ask courteously … while still getting his attention.

Here are an insight and a strategy that work for me.

The Insight: Clients aren't trying to rip you off. They're busy. It's possible your slow payer simply dropped the ball or printed your invoice and lost it under a pile of papers. So keep cool.

The Strategy: Email the client with some timely information related to the assignment you haven't been paid for. For example, if you wrote about a natural health product, you could tell him about a new study you just came across.

After giving him that little tidbit, say something like: "On another matter … have you had a chance to pass my invoice on to Accounting?" (Even if you know he writes the checks himself.)

That gives him a graceful "out," without ruffling his feathers.

How long do you wait before using this strategy? When you invoice a client, he'll usually acknowledge it and give you some idea as to when to expect payment. Wait at least seven days after that time. If he never responded to the invoice in the first place, give him that same seven days.

One more thing: It's a good idea to keep in touch with clients by sending them tidbits of information related to their business every two to four weeks. That tells them you really care about their business, and not just the money.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: April 16, 2007

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