Politely asking for invoice payment

I'm sure you've been there: you've finished a project for a client, and they're supposed to pay you the agreed amount. But they haven't paid yet, and now it's been weeks since you sent them your invoice. So what do you do?

You can keep calling or texting them every day asking where the payment is until they pay up. Or, you could be polite and friendly while also making it clear that this isn't acceptable behavior anymore—and how soon would it be possible for them to send over that wire transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, whatever?Invoices - Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Say you've been waiting a long time.

If you've been waiting a long time, start the conversation with an acknowledgement of that.

Say something like, "I haven't heard from you in a while on this matter." Then, tell them how long they took last time to pay another invoice (or how quickly they usually pay). This helps put things into perspective and puts them on notice about your expectations going forward.

Check with your client on when their payment date is.

Since some people pay on the first of the month and others don't pay until the 15th, 25th or last day of the month, it may be best to ask when they will be making the payment.

This way you can communicate with them appropriately and understand how long they need to get the money into your account.


Be polite and friendly, but firm and direct about asking for money owed to you.

Be polite and friendly, but firm and direct about asking for money owed to you. It's important not to be rude or aggressive when you're trying to collect on an invoice. This is especially the case if you want to earn future work from your client.

  • Be clear about what you want: Make sure they know exactly what they need to do in order for their invoice payment request to be processed correctly.

  • Don't be afraid (or embarrassed) of asking for what is rightfully yours: There's nothing wrong with requesting payment for services rendered—in fact, it's one of the most basic tenets of business. Your clients expect it from you just as much as they expect their own invoices from their vendors; so don't feel bad when asking them for payment. It is an opportunity to grow your relationship too.

  • Set a deadline: Setting deadlines will help enforce urgency around bill payments while also giving both parties ample time to fulfill their obligations without undue stress or pressure being put on either party involved in collecting on or paying an invoice.

kaboompics_Businesswoman has a conversation on the phoneRequest payment in a way that is easy for them to complete

It can be difficult for some people to complete the process involved with making a payment. An invoice without a way to transfer the money could sit on a desk or in an inbox for prolonged periods of time.

Options are available through services like ProZ*Pay that allow you to request the money directly

  • With ProZ*Pay, you can request the payment with the amount already entered for quick payment using credit cards, PayPal, etc.

  • If you are using a service like Quickbooks, enable options to receive credit cards so that it's easy to complete the payment - the fees might be worth it in time saved

  • Some online payment options allow the same kind of options and links to add into an email

Some responses to this request could imply financial challenges with your client. Or simply mean the money is not available, your contact does not have the ability to complete payments, or the end client has not funded the project.

The Blue Board

If you haven’t received a response to your polite requests, it may be time to take more drastic measures. You can try calling or emailing the client again and asking directly whether they intend to pay. If your account has been overdue for 60 days or more (or if you suspect it will be), then you should send out an overdue notice. This document will let them know how much longer they have before legal action is taken against them by their language professional(s).

From there, it may be time to open a non-payment report on the Blue Board at ProZ.com. The Blue Board has been an important risk management tool for language service providers since 2001 and currently includes over 180,000 entries across 14,500+ outsourcers.



Topics: freelancer, payments, Blue Board, ProZ*Pay

Mike Donlin

Written by Mike Donlin


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