Cashflow is king III - getting paid

Now you’re armed with the knowledge of when you need to get paid, and the consequences if you don’t, how do you do something about it?

Then, when you deliver the job, give the client the invoice. Why is it that what should be the easiest, most pleasurable and most valuable part of the job – delivery of the final invoice – is the one that will be put off the longest? If there’s one way to guarantee you won’t get paid on time, failing to send an invoice has to be it.


Ask yourself: who is better able to borrow money, you or your client? Now ask yourself who’s going to have to borrow money if you don’t get paid.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll significantly increase your chances of getting paid on time. Don’t forget that large companies employ people to manage and manipulate their cashflow, which often involves a whole series of ploys and delaying tactics that punish the small business owner. Don’t let yourself suffer because a corporate financial director decides s/he wants to play the money markets with your fees.

“Never be embarrassed about asking for money you have earned.”

Be polite, but firm. Don’t let your urgency result in screaming matches and empty threats. The people you will be dealing with are human too, even the apparently contemptuous ones. Use gentle reminders of what was agreed in writing, and appeal to simple human values; “How would you feel if you were in my position, having delivered your work and agreed terms of payment, only to suffer unacceptable delays? What would you do if your company didn’t pay you at the end of the month?”

Above all, use the courts as a last resort for getting paid. Although there are some disreputable companies (especially those that are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy themselves) who will force you into the legal process, knowing it could ultimately cost more money to pursue them through the courts than you are owed. In the UK there are small claims courts where simple claims can be made cheaply and without recourse to expensive lawyers. If you know of equivalent systems in your country – please post the information here.

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