How long have you had to wait to get an invoice paid, one month, 3 months, 6 months. Unpaid invoices are often what brings a small business to its knees. Plenty of work to do, but clients not paying their invoices on time. For small businesses there is very little you can do to encourage clients to settle up other than stop working for them which we often find hard to do. Well we can across The Longest Invoice web site where you can name and shame people and businesses who won't pay on time.
The World’s Longest Invoice is a site is a project of Freelancers Union, a New York-based alliance of independent workers, designed to spotlight how common the problem of non payment is. Anyone can put in his or her name, the service performed, and the amount unpaid.
When we visited the site there was an outstanding invoice for $2,400 for website design, $1,100 for makeup service, $2,135 for 3D animations, amongst the listed invoices.
What this site emphasised to us is that people are doing work and delivering it without sensible payment terms in place. We recommend that you ask for at least 50% up front and then payment in full before you deliver the final goods. No money, no mix file, or animations or website, whatever it is. Also why is it that so often it is big businesses that are the worst at paying their bills on time?
Here in the UK we even have legislation which is designed to help small businesses with the Late Payment Act which enables you to charge interest of outstanding invoices, but Mike had a large UK company whose invoice payment policy made it impossible to pay within the time period set out in the Late Payment Act. How crazy is that?
So if you have a client who is dragging their feet, perhaps point them at the Longest Invoice web site and suggest that if they don't pay up you will name and shame them.
But better still make sure your terms of business mean you never get to this place. What do you do to make sure clients pay on time?