Whether making or receiving a payment you need to be ready…
So, let’s talk about the one aspect of payments every entrepreneur (this includes you & your side hustle) deals with: billing.
When you are thinking about starting a business or if you already have one, you need to set up your billing structure. You should be able to bill and receive payments. This is 2016 guys, there is no need to wait to get paid.
If you’re like me – offering various services like social media management – then you understand that the work you do is something that can’t be reclaimed. Once you’ve completed the work, it’s done. Whereas with most website work, you can still be in control and not release the work until payment is complete.
So the question we all face is, how do you set up a system that is fair for both you and your client? When you figure it out, let me know! Ha! No, but seriously this is a loaded question and the answer will vary as we all offer different services.
Preventing late or no payment
To avoid the mess of late payments or worse, no payments, I recommend billing on a month to month basis with either payment upfront or at minimum a portion paid in advance.
This payment structure is specifically intended for services like social media management or website maintenance.
For other services like building a website, require a deposit with a certain portion of that being non-refundable.
If it’s a business coaching or tech training session I require full payment upfront with a 24 hour cancellation policy. Your time is valuable and so is mine. This makes it work for both of us.
WHY DO THIS?
So that you and your client stay on track and know this is business. I’ve had (I’m sure you have too!) experiences working with clients who don’t deliver on their payments even though the work was done.
Yes, things happen and can push payments back, but in today’s world anything past a day or two without clearly communicating the issue is just not acceptable.
Personally, I’ve heard too many horror stories from others and I’ve realized that at the end of the day, payments are not just about the money; it’s the principle of the matter. Of course we want to get paid, but what you’re really telling someone when you don’t pay on time (if you did not clearly communicate the reason ahead of time) is that you don’t care. And if that’s the kind of attitude someone is going to have whether they mean to or not, who’s going to want to work with them? Don’t be one of those people.
THINK OF IT THIS WAY:
Timely payments help you decide whether or not to continue to work with a client. That’s why it’s important (whether you’re making or receiving a payment) to make sure you pay on time. Nobody has time for games and, frankly, nobody wants to work with someone who can’t deliver. If something comes up that prevents you from paying, then clearly communicate that with the other person.
How do you set up processes to be a reliable business professional?
Don’t forget to add a note to your invoices regarding your payment policy (this came from a good friend/mentor who is the best web designer around). She taught me to put this at the bottom of all my all my invoices: “All clients please note: If invoices are not paid within 15 days, work will not continue on your account until payment is received. Also, I do not continue to work with clients who pay late.”
Bottom line: As a business professional, you need to deliver professionalism and BE professional. So take some time and get organized. You need to set the right expectations and establish a seamless process so you can be sure to get paid on time.