Friday 4 May 2018

Finance Fridays – Chasing invoices

Chasing invoices
We were making the most of our property assets for last week's Finance Fridays. Our subject was renting out your home for events. This week we are discussing the bane of every self employed or business owner – chasing unpaid invoices! As a freelance writer I send out many invoices for work I have done. On the whole the vast majority of my clients are very good and pay quickly or within their own specified time frame. However, you do get some invoices that never seem to get paid. What can you do? There are legal avenues you can go down. Also there are other tactics you may wish to deploy if you feel brave enough! Let's see what you can do to get the money owed to you.

Drop a quick reminder – Everybody is human and it could just be that your invoice got overlooked or caught up in another batch of emails. A friendly nudge such as, “Hi, can you tell me when my invoice is due to be paid? Just sorting my accounts for the month.” can be all that is needed. If you invoice through PayPal you can simply click a button to send a reminder. The last time I had to do this my invoice which had been outstanding for six weeks was paid in less than 20 minutes.

Ring the company – If emails are going unanswered find the telephone number for the company and give them a call. It's easy to ignore emails but not phone calls. If your contact won't come to the phone then their colleagues won't be too happy about making excuses for them.

Pulling the work – As most of my work is online I do have the option of pulling work. Some companies may not be bothered about it especially if they have gained from the initial exposure. Others though will be needing the work keeping up and often payment follows quite quickly.

Contact brand if doing work for third party agency – Much of the work I do is for agencies working on behalf of a bigger brand. If an agency is being unnecessarily awkward with you have a think about how the brand would react if they knew what they were paying for and being associated with such behaviour. Perhaps contact the brand and find the department who will be dealing directly with the agency.

Calling out on social media – This is straying into burning bridges territory now. It's not something I had ever done but I have seen tweets such as, “I really like your new advertising campaign xxx. How about paying the people who did the work for it?” I would say this could deter other brands from working with you. If your skills are unique or top-notch you may feel it's worth the risk as other brands will still need your services.

Interest due to late payment – By law you are entitled to claim interest on late payment of invoices. Nobody likes to pay out more than they need to so even the threat of adding interest on could persuade a client to pay up.

Small claims court – If you have a sizeable invoice that hasn't been paid then your final option may be lodging a claim though the county court – this is often referred to as the 'small claims court'. You have to pay to a court fee for your case and the size of the fee depends on how big your claim is for. It is also cheaper to apply online rather than completing a paper application. Fees start from £25 for amounts up to £300. If the court awards in your favour it still does not guarantee that your invoice will be paid. You can then ask the court to enforce it but again you will need to pay another fee.

Have you had to chase invoice payments? How did you get the money you were owed?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 8th May 2018 to join in.

Finance Fridays

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