Does anyone else here have issues with late payments from clients?

Would love to know what invocing platforms other freelancers/small business owners use! Any advice greatly welcome :-)


  • Hello Poppy,

    I assume you based in the UK where every invoice should be paid in 30 days and by law you are entitled to charge extra if the payment late, I think it's 5% for every 30 days or so.

    I had just very few cases but basically I drop a last warning email like 1 week before 30 days to highlight that I'm legally entitled to charge extra if they don't pay by x day. Always works!
  • In this case best to make sure you have a paper trail of emails confirming amount you are owed, use timesheets raising PO numbers and sign off when the invoice will be cleared.

    This is likely to burn bridges, defo works that is send a “Wind up”. Also have to understand is the invoices take from 30 days to even 90 days depending on the companies PAYE system.

    That is to write a letter/email “before claim for non-payment”, stating you are willing to take legal proceedings by using:

    Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, where no credit period has been agreed, interest accumulates after a default period of 30 days.

    Which you can also apply late fees known as interest under the rate of Bank of England base rate.

    I draw your attention to the Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols:

    If worse comes to worse which can work is to call out the company/recruiter by social media LinkedIn again this will burn bridges but will get your invoice paid.
  • All the time!!

    I now add a late fee notice on my invoices and most people pay on time now, if they don't - It's a nice little bit of free extra money !

    But also, if it's a big job, I usually take half up front, then the other half after delivery of content.
  • Hi @Poppy Jamieson
    Similar to the advice below, most clients hiring you directly as a sole trader/consultant don't have a problem with paying 50% of a fee up front. Even then, I make sure it's understood that work begins on receipt of payment, not before – this sets a really strong precedent of 'payment on receipt' for all following invoices.

    Just make the client aware beforehand that's the terms of how you work, rather than how they work. Then you come to other agreements if you need to compromise on those terms, but at least you start negotiation at the best possible position.

    I have another couple of tips:

    Rather than bill a single remaining 50% payment on completion of bigger projects or longer commitments, I will divide the fee into staged deliverables (or days or months, toward an agreed completion date) so you can receive regular income. Or simply divide the final 50% into 2 chunks of 25%, the final one being on completion.

    Crucial to above is agreeing a scope of deliverables and your commitment in time beforhand, keeping a time record you can share with the client throughout the project, enabling you to flag up whether it is being exceeded and whether it needs to be renegotiated because the scope has evolved.

    And finally, always agree a completion date at the outset – it's how to avoid not getting paid because a project never seems to end. For example, in my terms for a short project of 50/50 split, if a project is still ongoing 14 days beyond the agreed completion date, I am entitled to invoice half of that fee, the remaing 25% on completion. Adjust for bigger projects.

    It's amazing how acceptable all this is to clients – in fact, one has adopted my completion date practice with their own clients.

    Hope that helps.
  • In stead of the stick approach you could try the carrot and offer a 3% discount if they pay before the due date :). hammer home small business etc etc.
  • Hi @Poppy Jamieson

    Yes, I'm currently battling one client who is always late. But there's a few things you can do:

    1. In Invoice highlight clearly there will be a late payment fee after a certain amount of time.

    2. Ask for 50% upfront before starting the clients work.

    3. Send payment reminders before the time its due.

    4. After the payment date is expired  I send weekly a new invoice with 3% per day added up of the total value per day (so 7days of 3% per day) - This usally gets them paying but some still dont.

    5. Bin the client after they make the payment. You dont want to be working with this sort of business.

    I don't know of any invoice platforms which can do this for you electronically automatically for free, I do mine manually.

    Hope this helps

    @Shane Harry
  • Hi! I haven't been doing freelancing for too long, but from the very beginning, I established a "payment policy". I always take at least 50% deposit before starting the project (some clients are comfortable with a higher percentage), and then in the last week of the project, I'm expecting the remaining %. Only after receiving the remaining money do I send the ready files to the client. I'd make an exception if I'm working with someone I know or I have worked with in the past, but there's some risk in that too.. I hope this helps and good luck!

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