Many service-based businesses find it challenging to receive payments on-time. If a customer doesn’t readily respond to the first bill you send them, you’ll need to submit another request for payment. In most cases, a simple reminder is all that’s necessary, but sometimes, you may have to be more assertive.
Here are a few aspects to consider as you begin to write your payment request letter:
1. Provide Specific Details
Your request letter should include either an invoice or the details outlining your services rendered along with the amount due. If you clearly outline your services, you’ll have a greater chance of getting paid since the client can see the benefit they received in return for paying you. For instance, an attorney needs to highlight the specific tasks they performed, the time it took to do those tasks, and the rate or agreed-to price.
2. Give the Customer an Easy Out
It’s very tempting to send a harshly-worded payment request when you haven’t received your money yet. However, sometimes people really do forget about a number of things, including a bill. Give your customer an easy out instead of verbally attacking them. For example, you can start your letter by saying something like, “I understand you have a very busy schedule, and it’s not uncommon to misplace a bill under a pile of other mail, or even get lost.” This will assure the customer that you’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and you’re a professional who values their business.
3. Stop Providing Services
Unfortunately, if a customer has failed to pay their bill over a considerable length of time, it may be a red flag that they don’t intend to pay at all. In such a case, it’s in your best interest to stop providing your services until you get paid. You need to convey this to your customer in a non-confrontational, professional manner. Be polite, but direct. You could say something along the lines, “I am eager to help you finish your home decorating project and have enjoyed working with you. However, until I receive a payment, I won’t be able to keep working on your project any longer.
4. Sometimes Tact Works Better than Force to get Paid
Perhaps your customer is experiencing dire financial troubles and literally can’t pay you. There are a number of other life circumstances that could be holding up your payment as well, such as a medical emergency, a sudden death in the family, or a job loss. The best approach is to just contact your customer so you know exactly what’s going on. If they are in a situation where they are unable to provide you the full payment, consider reducing the amount, at least to cover your own expenses.
5. Send your Customer a Payment Request Letter
When all else fails, send your customer a letter to let them know where they stand. It should include a clear deadline to receive payment. For example, “Please contact me if you have any concerns or questions. However, I’ll expect a payment by the 20th if I don’t hear from you.”
Your letter should be direct and straightforward in nature and should mention the original contract along with a firm deadline for payment. Also, point out the specific action you intend to take if you do not receive any payment at all. For instance, “I hope I can continue to keep working on this project with you, but if do not receive a payment by the 20th, I’ll have no other option but to notify the major credit bureaus along with the BBB that you have an outstanding balance.”
Here is a well-written sample request letter for payment. Be sure to clearly state your intention and terms, write it in a professional manner, and make copies. Your letter needs to include the amount owed, the services rendered, the number of days the bill is past due, and any future action you may take in order to remedy the situation if they don’t pay.
Sample Payment Request Letter for Services Rendered
444 Sunset Drive
Galena, TX 67345
August 13, 2015
3478 West Street
Galena, TX 67345
Dear Mr. John Clemens,
I know you’re a very busy man, and sometimes bills can easily get misplaced. However, my records show that you still have an outstanding balance on your account in the amount of $475.00 with a past due date of June 30, 2015. I have enclosed a copy of the invoice.
If you have already submitted this payment, please accept my sincere apologies. Otherwise, please send the full amount based on our written agreement or I will begin charging a 3 percent interest charge for the amount still outstanding after 60 days.
Thank you for your prompt response to this matter. Also, I value you as a customer and hope to continue doing business with you in the future.
(sign your name here)
By Andre Bradley