If you run a small business, there’s a good chance you’ve had to deal with customers not paying you on time. The problem is everywhere. Of 1,002 US small businesses surveyed in 2021, 59% said they’d had direct experience with late payment. Software and online financial services probably won’t eradicate late payment, but using them will make it more likely that your invoices will be paid on time!
If you’re sick of late invoices and the stress of chasing clients for payment, this blog is for you.
1. Venmo: makes it easy for your clients to pay you online
You’ve probably heard of Venmo before, the app people use to send money to each other and to split everyday expenses like restaurant bills and bar tabs. Venmo Business Profiles allow you to take advantage of the app’s popularity. Once you’ve set up a profile for your business, your clients can start paying you using Venmo, an app they’ve already got set up and are skilled at using.
Setting up a Venmo account may seem like a small thing, but it all contributes to reducing the “friction” between your customers’ cash and your bank account. For more on friction and its importance in economics, this New York Times article provides a great overview.
2. Fundthrough: allows you to take out loans against invoices that are due
A creative way that businesses can get paid faster is by taking out loans against invoices that are due to them with services like Fundthrough. After presenting Fundthrough the invoice, they can lend you the money you’re owed to plug the financial gap from the invoices. This should, in turn, deal with cash flow and allow you to pay off other expenses.
Before you use Fundthrough or a similar invoice financing service, you need to bear in mind that it’s a form of credit. When taking out any form of credit, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of the interest, charges and consequences for late payment.
3. Chaser: for going after overdue invoices
Anyone who’s run a small business will have most likely had to chase a few overdue invoices in their time. But keeping track of which invoices you need to chase up is hard. And having to come up with new reminder emails each time is even harder! You can use software like Chaser to introduce some automation to the invoice chasing process.
With Chaser, you set up email reminders in advance which go out to your clients to remind them to pay their invoice. You then choose which intervals you’d like the reminders to go out at.
Chaser links with your accounting software, so it can automatically start sending the follow-up emails when your invoice becomes overdue. Chaser also allows you to send automated thank you emails to customers that have paid invoices already.
4. GoCardless: allows you to collect recurring payments
If you take regular, recurring payments from your clients, it may be worth setting up a direct debit that automatically takes money from their account each month with GoCardless. Rather than waiting for your client to manually push a payment to you each month, a direct debit can help you get paid faster.
5. Dun & Bradstreet: analyze a client’s risk of not paying before you do business with them
If you want to take a preventative measure against late payment, you can analyze a client's risk of not paying you by using a business credit report service. Providers such as Dun & Bradstreet, Credit Safe and Equifax let you run a check on clients before you do business with them. If the checks show financial health warnings or a history of non-payment, then you could ask the client for payment in advance of the work. And as an added benefit, if you really don’t like what you see in the credit report, you could also just walk away from the client all together.
6. Calendly’s payment integration: automatically take payment when someone books a meeting
Businesses that take payment upfront don’t have to worry about late payment. If you own a business that has set prices for particular meeting styles, like a life coaching consultancy or a salon, you can automatically charge prospective clients when they book meetings with Calendly’s payment integration.
If you haven’t heard of Calendly, it’s an online appointment tool. You set your available hours from your online calendar and share your Calendly link, then people can start booking appointments without any need for more upkeep from you. The payments integration takes it one step further, allowing you to take payments for the appointment up front.
While Calendly’s payment integration is available on their free plan, it does require you to be signed up to a payment provider like Paypal for Business or Stripe.
7. Blinq: share your payment details when you share your contact details
Here at Blinq, we make digital business cards which let you share your contact information. You can add a lot of information to these cards, including payment links.
As you can see from my card, I have a link to my PayPal account.
Having my PayPal link so prominently on my business card makes it really easy for clients to find my payment information. And if my payment information is easy to find, then there’s a good chance that customers will pay me quicker!