4 easy ways to chase invoices for solo business owners

One of the topics I’m asked about most frequently is how to take the pain out of chasing invoices. Because whilst chasing them is horrible, getting invoices paid is obviously critical.

You can protect yourself up front with nice, tight T&Cs with short payment windows and late payment fees.

And you need some sort of invoice tracker so you know where you stand.

But when you’ve got all that, and the invoice from your ‘so-lovely-to-work-with-but-where-have-they-disappeared-to’ client is overdue… what now?

Two words for you: templates and automations.

Read on for four different ways to use them, ranging from free, manual methods, to those that cost a little but are largely hands-off.

 

1. The manual method for chasing invoices

Create two templates (or more if you like):

  • One is a friendly reminder to send a few days before the invoice due date.
  • The other is a little more matter of fact, to be sent after the due date.

They can both be friendly, but avoid the word ‘just’ like the plague. You have every right to get paid on time, so creating straightforward templates can help get past the discomfort of chasing – which can be a big reason for putting it off.

Then, whenever you send an invoice, set yourself reminders for shortly before and after the due date, and then use your templates if required.

Optional automation: set up an automation that uses your templates to create draft emails on your reminder dates. Then simply add a little personal touch and press send. No wavering allowed!

 

2. Have Nigel, your fake virtual assistant, chase invoices for you

Create an email address for Nigel, and use it for extra strength when chasing invoices. You’re still following the manual method but Nigel can be a little more brusque if required.

You can change his name, but sadly evidence has shown that a male name gets taken more seriously. Because apparently we’re still in the 19th century.

3. Have a real virtual assistant chase your invoices

Hire a real VA to do the whole thing for you – invoicing, tracking and chasing. Just make sure they’re registered with HMRC’s anti-money laundering scheme, so that they can safely take care of your invoices.

You can work with them to create appropriate templates that suit your business.

 

4. Get software to do the heavy lifting

Some examples you can use are FreeAgent, Xero or GoCardless.

Once you’ve set up your own templates, these systems can do the whole thing for you – including tracking and automated invoice chasing.

The price often surprises people, but can be as little as £15 per month, or a small fee per transaction in the case of GoCardless.


Of course, all these solutions assume you’re getting paid after starting the work, and therefore need to chase an invoice. So the biggest way to flip all of this on its head, and never chase invoices for work you’ve already done again, is to take payment upfront where possible. 

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