Surviving from month to month is difficult for many independent contractors. Unable to depend on regular salaries, these individuals count on clients to process payments in a timely manner upon receipt of their invoices. Unfortunately, not all clients are equally cooperative in this regard. As any independent contractor can confirm, invoices are ignored for a variety of reasons – many of which are perfectly reasonable. If unresponsive clients are a consistent problem for you, make sure to take the following steps the next time one of your invoices is ignored.
If a client doesn’t respond to your invoice within 24 hours, it’s in your best interest to promptly resubmit it. A lack of response can often be attributed to an overactive spam filter or the client simply failing to notice your message when perusing his or her inbox. More often than not, resending your invoice will produce the desired results. Additionally, take care to use a professional template when putting together your invoices. If you’re currently without a suitable template or in the market for a new one, you can download this professional estimate for free.
Call the Client Directly
If resubmitting your invoice doesn’t work, place a call to the client – or to your contact at the client’s business. In all likelihood, your messages were detected as spam, and a quick phone call should immediately get things back on track. When contacting the client, you should go into the phone call assuming there’s a reasonable explanation behind the lack of response. As such, adopting a combative tone right off the bat is practically guaranteed to make things worse for you. Professional courtesy dictates that you conduct yourself in a polite, composed manner when dealing with clients – particularly those you wish to work with again. You have every right to be frustrated, but projecting this frustration onto your client isn’t likely to end well for you.
Contact the Client Repeatedly
If the matter isn’t cleared up after your initial phone call, it behooves you to remain vigilant. In this situation, it would be a good idea to start calling the client and resubmitting your invoice every few days until you see some action taken on their part. If the client remains unresponsive, start contacting them every 24 hours. As time wears on, your correspondences should take on a progressively firmer tone. If you’re still doing work for them, inform them that you’ll put the brakes on all outstanding projects until your payment is processed. Should this prove ineffective, consider threatening to no longer work with them and/or take legal action against them.
Not being able to depend on a regular salary can make life very difficult. That being the case, it’s no wonder so many independent contractors are adamant about collecting their payments in a timely manner. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, some invoices still fall by the wayside. In the event that a client is unresponsive to one of your invoices, taking the steps discussed above can prove helpful in clearing up any misunderstandings.