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For a particular project where work can be defined, write down your understanding of what’s to be done and by when, and include a provision of when you’ll be paid. Remember, nothing can be paid until your bill gets into the customer’s payment process.
As a minimum all invoices should include payment terms and due date, date, description, price and total payable and, if you’ve been given the details, don’t forget to add the customer order number.
Encourage your client to pay you electronically by BACS or even by credit card through a system such as PayPal, it’s only a small fee. Hopefully, things won’t get this far but when you’ve tried everything else with no joy then you can take your claim for payment to the small claims court, where a judge will then decide what happens.
It seemed timely to have some tips on invoicing and collection procedures so you can get paid for what you’ve done in the minimum amount of time.
When you were employed you knew that, whether you’d completed a project or not, you were going to get paid at the end of the month.

Too many Virtual Assistants rely on verbal agreements when taking on work, and it’s a big mistake to think that it will put off good clients by being upfront about expected terms of payment. Offer packages requiring a prepayment, perhaps even offering a discount on standard rates for money paid upfront. Once you hire a debt collector then it’s unlikely that you’ll ever work with the client in question again. This process is usually for amounts less than ?5000 and although it’s not expensive to bring a claim, if your client still doesn’t pay up then you may have to go back to court to enforce it. When you run your own business, completing work and getting paid for it are two completely different things.
Having terms sets the ground rules and means that both parties know exactly what is expected of them. 14 days, 28 days or even 90 days can go by after you submitted your invoice, and you still might not have seen any money. This alone may prevent unnecessary disputes and it’s good practice to make it part of giving any quotation of rates or project costs.

This way, you have reason to call them sooner rather than later to check on a payment and prompt them. Collection agencies will often take around 10% of the invoice amount, but it’s often only paid once collected and so you will definitely get something back. Once your invoice is this late then having someone else deal with it makes it a less personal issue for you and gives you back the time it’s taking you to chase debts. There’s sample letters to use as reminders and calculators for helping you work out any interest payments due.
From experience, once a client is threatened with debt collection the very act of doing so can result in the payment being made. If debt collection after 90 days is also part of your terms and conditions, and you follow through with it to a timetable, it takes any stress of making decisions out of the whole process.

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