How to Deal With a Late-Paying Client

How to Deal With a Late-Paying Client

Independent contractors have a lot of challenges to contend with. In addition to meeting tight deadlines and working uneven hours, these individuals are often in charge of invoicing their various clients. While the vast majority of corporate and low-level clients can be depended on to pay contractors on time, a small but vexing minority aren’t very good about processing payments in a timely manner. This often puts contractors in an awkward position. As much as they yearn to collect payments they’re owed, they’re afraid of drawing clients’ ire and potentially missing out on future work. If consistently late payments have become a problem for you, the following tips can prove helpful in collecting any outstanding fees.

Send a Professional Invoice

Sending a professional invoice is one of the most effective ways to show a client that you mean business. Certain companies don’t really regard independent contractors as legitimate professionals and take a laidback approach to sending out their payments. Fortunately, using a professional template for your invoices can drive home the point that you’re a business unto yourself – one that expects clients to honor their ends of deals. For a free online PO template that’s sure to impress clients, pay a visit to

Reminder Calls and Emails

It’s worth noting that most late payments are the result of clerical errors and/or forgetfulness rather than willful delinquency on the part of clients. As such, it’s important to maintain a polite tone when reaching out to late-paying clients. Whenever a payment is more than 24 hours late, send a politely-worded email or place a friendly phone call to your contact at the company. More often than not, you’ll find that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the tardiness. If an additional 24 hours pass without the payment being processed, reach out to your contact on a daily basis until the matter is settled.

Threatening to Walk

If you put your best foot forward when doing work for your clients, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect timely payments for your services. So if multiple phone calls, emails and other reminders prove ineffective, inform the offending client that you will no longer do work for their company until such time as you are compensated. No contractor relishes losing a client, but a client who won’t pay for your services isn’t worth your time or effort.

Dealing with late-paying clients can be a real headache for overworked contractors. On top of all their other responsibilities, having to engage in drawn-out back-and-forths with uncooperative clients is simply too much. The next time you find yourself faced with a client who won’t pay what’s owed, don’t hesitate to put the previously-discussed pointers to good use.

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