Getting paid as an independent business owner is one of the most vital parts of running a successful business.
But we all know it’s not enough just to get paid.
Getting paid in full, on time, and consistently is important for reaching consistent income in your business.
But unfortunately, that’s easier said than done for many service providers, coaches, and consultants.
According to the Freelancers Union, 71% of consultants struggle to collect payment for their work at least once in their career.
If you are rolling your eyes right now at that statistic it’s because I’m guessing you can totally relate.
Dealing with late payments, ghosting clients, or even fighting over whether your work is valuable or not can quickly turn into a full-time job.
So, what’s the secret to getting paid on time? Let’s dive in and find out, because let’s face it, we all have bills to pay and champagne to drink.
5 Steps To Make Getting Paid Simple And Seamless
1. Get Organized
The first thing you should do to get paid on time might surprise you.
No, it’s not a secret. But it is something that separates frazzled service providers from those rocking their cash flow.
When I started using HoneyBook, my payments were automatically organized in one place!
This made it so easy for me to see when I was supposed to get paid, how much and by whom — it even clearly marks if someone is overdue!
By having a clearer view of my finances, I was able to better understand how my business was performing and make better business decisions.
The payment status is automatically updated in the system for you, so that you don’t need to dig through your emails and texts to figure out if you’ve been paid yet.
And since you can access HoneyBook from anywhere (including on the go with the HoneyBook app), you can stay on top of your payments and feel good about your finances.
2. Use A Contract
We all enter business agreements with the best of intentions, but awkward situations can arise when deliverables and billing change.
Using a contract is critical in ensuring you and your client understand exactly what you’re delivering and what to expect.
Protect your business (and bank account) from the risk of not getting paid with a contract.
It’s so easy to have your contract set up in HoneyBook, and if you don’t have one yet, HoneyBook provides legally written contract templates for you when you join.
These contracts can be sent through HoneyBook for electronic signature and should be signed by your client before any work begins.
Not only does having a contract help protect you if you need to seek legal help or escalate to small claims court, it also sets expectations on the work you’re doing, the deliverables you’re providing, when you’re delivering them, and for how much.
Getting an agreement from your client at the outset increases your chances of delivering work to a happy client who will pay you.
3. Ask For a Retainer Up-Front
Collecting money upfront in the form of a non-refundable deposit before you start any work is the gold standard for how to get paid as a coach or service provider.
How much of a deposit? It depends.
A good rule of thumb is to require 33% of the project total for larger projects and 50% for smaller projects.
Now, if asking for money makes you feel squeamish, stop and remember the invaluable skill set you’re bringing to the table.
Telling your clients your process makes you look professional and it sets the expectation that your work will begin once the invoice is paid.
The beauty with using a tool like HoneyBook is that you can customize the breakdown of your payments based on how you would like to bill your clients.
Here are some features that you can use:
- Set installments based on dates.
- Set installments based on project milestones.
- Set monthly retainers with recurring payments.
- For engagements where you’re billing hourly, you can track your hours spent on a project and send an invoice. I recommend sending your hourly invoice every 2 weeks until the end of the project.
No matter how you charge, it is important to be confident with your clients and collect a deposit upfront.
By setting these expectations, your clients have buy-in on their project with you and will work within the parameters you’ve set for your work with them.
4. Accept Online Payments
The best way to get paid is fast—for both you and your client.
You, of course, want to get paid on time and your client wants the payment process to be as simple and painless as possible.
HoneyBook has a processor already integrated in its platform so all you have to do is add your bank details in order to receive payment!
We talked about the importance of contracts and accepting deposits, and HoneyBook makes it so easy for clients to both sign your contract and make their payment in one place!
Here’s how it works (all within HoneyBook !):
- Send an online proposal to your clients.
- Clients can sign your contract electronically.
- Invoices can be auto generated and submitted.
- Then clients can submit a payment via credit card or bank transfer.
- Cha-ching! You get paid.
HoneyBook online invoices provide a seamless client experience and get you paid—fast.
HoneyBook has all the same invoicing and payment capabilities and software like QuickBooks, but because HoneyBook is more than an accounting software, it has even more perks.
You can manage all client communications in one place, automate repetitive tasks and get paid —all while keeping it personal and on-brand. (No separate invoicing tool needed!).
A quick note on fees—All online payment processors take fees in order to cover the risk of processing a payment. The industry standard is right around 3%.
5. Send Reminders
One of the most awkward conversations I would have was when I’d need to remind my clients about a payment.
HoneyBook makes payments easier for my clients (and less awkward for me!)
Even the best clients may need a nudge to pay on time.
Because I’ve set up my client’s payment schedule in advance, HoneyBook will automatically send a payment reminder when a payment is coming up.
This saves me time as I’m not chasing after payments and I don’t have to worry about annoying clients with constant reminders (just blame your software if you get any funny comments!)
It also allows clients to pay from any device, wherever they are.
I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t that feel impersonal?
Well, you can customize the email template for payment reminders. HoneyBook pre-sets the logistics, but you can add your personal touch.
Want to take it a step further?
You can also set payments to automatically charge on their due dates! No reminders needed!
So there you have it.
Use these tips to make payments easy (for you and your clients) and get 35% off your first year of HoneyBook to make sure your business is set up to get paid quickly.