Proven ways to get customers to pay on time

Lots of businesses struggle with getting their customers to pay bills on time. For many people, money is a difficult subject to bring up. I’ve learned that if you have a clear, written policy about invoicing that you share with your customers, you’ll find collecting a bill much easier and you’ll know what to do with those bills you can’t collect on.

Here are my simple do’s and don’ts for getting your customers to pay on time:


  • Clearly outline your payment terms.
  • Make sure your customers understand the date a bill is due.
  • Remind your customers a few days or a week before the bill is due. Some customer’s don’t need to be reminded, so sort out those that do and develop a system that lets them know in a courteous manner.
  • Be clear about the consequences of not paying on time.
  • Figure out a way to work with the small handful of people who have trouble paying on time.
  • Make sure you keep good records so you know who is behind in their payments.

Do Not:

  • Be ambiguous about terms or due dates.
  • Threaten your customer – it doesn’t work.
  • Waste time chasing the tiny percentage that are never going to pay. Send them to a collection agency.
  • Continue to sell to people who are not paying their bills and who are unwilling to work with you to find a solution.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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