How to Get Your Customers to Pay on Time
Getting clients to pay on time can ensure your business has the consistent cash flow that’s required to maintain positive relationships with vendors, employees, and creditors — but it’s also one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome when you run a field service business. Here are a few simple tips you can put into action immediately, to expedite the amount of time it takes to get paid.
1. Set Expectations (and stick to them)
At the start of each job, provide customers with a written document outlining your business’s payment policies, along with a friendly and professional verbal explanation. Let customers know when their invoice will be issued, the format in which it will arrive (in person, email or mail), when payment is due and which forms of payment your business accepts.
2. Eliminate Unintentional Delays
Preparing invoices can be a time-consuming task, particularly if the majority of your day isn’t spent behind a desk, but the sooner customers receive the invoice, the sooner it’s likely to be paid. Examine the current state of your internal invoicing processes to identify where unintentional time delays exist. For example, printing and mailing hard-copy invoices can add two weeks or more to the time you’re paid, simply due to transit delays.
3. Give Customers Payment Options
On each invoice, direct customers to a secure payment gateway on your website where they can pay invoices online using a credit, debit card, or e-transfer from a bank account. Though online payment processors charge nominal fees, accepting online payments lets customers use the payment method they prefer.
4. Automate Reminders and Collections
One recent study conducted by MIT indicated that a simple text message reminder sent to a small business client before payment was due increased the probability of timely payment by nearly 10 per cent. Secure a mobile phone number from each of your clients, and establish an automatic message system that alerts those who haven’t yet paid that their due date is near and/or past due.
5. Empower Your Team to Collect When Work is Complete
A study conducted by BIA Kelsey indicated that nearly 40% of small businesses relied on mobile payments to facilitate customer transactions and 16% planned to incorporate the technology into their operations within the next year. Mobile payments are popular among small business owners because of their cost efficiency, flexibility and ability to empower businesses of any size.
Because most mobile payment processors are compatible with any smartphone or tablet, multiple members of your customer-facing team can collect and process secure customer payments, using either a dongle (which plugs into the headphone jack of a mobile device) or by logging into the payment processor’s app for manual entry. In turn, customers can opt to receive their paid receipt either by email or text message.
About the Author:
Kristen Gramigna is the Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and also serves on its Board of Directors. The company is an all-in-one credit card processing company dedicated to providing security and fraud protection.